Drama, Explanations, Genealogy, Immigration, Rant

About that Canada plan…

Over a year ago, our state legislature passed a law effectively barring undocumented students from attending our community colleges, after implementing similar rules in 2006 at our state universities.  This forced a lot of undocumented students, including my straight A husband who is also legally barred from accepting scholarships despite his hard work, to drop out of school. After a lot of brainstorming and plotting for the past year+ we were unable to find a viable option for him to return to school thus far.

First we tried applying to the University of North Dakota.  The tuition was reasonable and the admissions people were very nice and helpful but we hit a wall when they asked for DH’s I-94 since DH could not be classified as an in-state or out-of-state student.  We also applied to the University of Louisiana at Lafayette with the same experience.  This American university plan was not going to work.

Then we tried applying to the University of New Brunswick in Canada.  DH was accepted for the Fall 2011 semester and under the advice of an attorney specializing in Canadian immigration, we asked to be processed at the Canadian embassy in California.  Months passed, we asked the university to defer his entry (Spring 2012) which they did, then we received our application back stating that they could not process the application.  DH scrambled to reapply to UNB for Fall 2012 and send the student visa application to the Canadian consulate in Romania, where Bulgarians are served.

This week we learned that our application was refused based on DH’s current immigration status.  We were told they are not confident we will leave Canada after DH’s course of study to which we argued that our plan was to take advantage of Bulgaria’s membership in the European Union to find work in an English-speaking country after our visas expired.  They basically told us not to reapply unless DH’s status changed.  I think we’ve exhausted our escape route options, so we’ll see what happens next.

I’ve been researching my family history in the meantime because it felt good to be consumed by something other than worry.  I’m the type of person who obsesses over things, so the distraction from our situation is great.  My family has roots all over the American Southwest and I was surprised to learn of immigrants in our family history just a few generations back, and more surprised to learn that our roots extend to Europe.  This new information has reminded me that people will always seek the opportunity to better their lives.  The U.S. would do well to remember our roots.

Explanations, Immigration

Case 2 Update

Our case has moved to the National Visa Center for further processing… if we choose to pursue it.  But isn’t that the statement you always see at the end of immigration case correspondences?  This would start the ball rolling on consular processing but we are still waiting for the 9th Circuit’s decision (Case 1).  So for now at least, we are sitting tight.

Thank whatever powers may be we have a good lawyer.


Case 1 Update

Case 1 (1.5?) Update:  DH’s attorney applied for NACARA a while back for the family.  I wasn’t sure why exactly as it didn’t make much sense to me but I figured she knew what she was doing.  NACARA is the Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief Act, passed in 1997 to help people from Meso-America and former Soviet Bloc countries seeking asylum.  I knew she had applied too late.  It wasn’t exactly her fault because it was something the previous lawyer could have done but didn’t, for whatever reason.  Anyway, a couple of weeks ago the court decided against DH’s family on NACARA.  

We weren’t very surprised but they have the option of bundling their 9th Circuit case with an appeal on NACARA which the lawyer said would most likely have another unfavorable ruling, essentially tainting the possibility for a favorable 9th Circuit outcome.  Don’t ask me how because I don’t know.  This would basically give them about 2 years to save up some money, wait for the (non) possibility of immigration reform and sell my Father-in-law’s business before being deported should the decision be unfavorable.  The family is foregoing this choice and just waiting for the 9th Circuit decision since they’ve been waiting for a final decision for such a long time.

Now, some good news.  Robert Creamer  wrote about the impact of Latino voters:

 Republicans won control of the House Tuesday, but their hopes of controlling the Senate as well were stymied by a firewall of Latino voters who were outraged by Republican demonization of Latino immigrants, their Arizona “papers please” law, their proposal to repeal the 14th Amendment, and their overall opposition to comprehensive immigration reform.

The consequences of the Republican anti-immigrant rhetoric will likely spread far beyond last Tuesday’s election. The fact that Republicans have alienated the fastest-growing ethnic group in America will have far-reaching consequences for the party’s ability to win a Presidential election and compete nationally over the long term.

A quick look at the numbers tells the tale:

  • Senator Harry Reid was trailing Tea Party icon Sharron Angle going into Tuesday’s election. In fact, Reid beat Angle by over 6 percent.. The big difference was the Latino vote. Reid beat Angle among Latinos a whopping 90% to 8%, and Latino turnout was up from 12% of the electorate in the 2006 Mid-Terms to 15% in 2010.
  • In Colorado’s Senate race, the consensus polls showed Democrat Michael Bennet losing by about 1% in a close race. Instead he won by 1%. His margin among Latinos was 81% to 19% and Latino turnout was up from 9% of the electorate in 2006 to 13% in 2010. 
  •  In the California Senate race, Barbara Boxer beat Carly Fiorina among Latinos 86% to 14%, and Latino turnout was up from 19% of the electorate in 2006 to 22% in 2010. Fiorina lost despite having spent a record-setting140 million of her own money on the campaign.

Latinos also made the difference in critical Governors’ races that will affect the playing field shaped by redistricting.

  • In California, Jerry Brown won Latinos 86% to 13% over Republican Meg Whitman, who had endorsed the Arizona law during the primary and whose hypocrisy on immigration became an issue when it was revealed she had hired an undocumented immigrant to be her maid, and then treated her badly.
  • John Hickenlooper won the Colorado Governor’s mansion in a contest with arch anti-immigrant Tom Tancredo and rightwinger Dan Maes. Among Latinos he got 77% of the vote, compared with 14% and 9% for Tancredo [wtf?] and Maes. 
  • And in Illinois, Democrat Pat Quinn was re-elected by a margin of fewer than 20,000 votes. Latinos voted for Quinn 83% to 13% for his opponent. Even at 6% of the voters, the support of the Latino community was decisive. 
  • According to election-eve polling of Latino voters conducted in eight key states (AZ, CA, CO, FL, IL, NM, NV, TX), Latinos overall voted for Democrats over Republicans by approximately 75% to 25% — a 3 to 1 margin. That is a stark contrast to six years ago when Latinos voted for Democrat John Kerry over George Bush by only 59% to 40% — a 3 to 2 margin. There has been a massive swing toward Democrats and away from Republicans in this fastest-growing group of voters in the country.

 Immigration was the major issue driving these vote totals. In some cases Republican candidates depicted Hispanics as gang members and criminals in ads that were meant to whip up fear among Anglo voters about immigration. That kind of rhetoric is not understood as a difference about a policy or issue. It directly offended the Latino community’s sense of identity, pride and self-worth. That drove voter decisions as well as turnout.

The Las Vegas Sun quoted Gilberto Ramirez, a first-time, recently-naturalized voter from Reno, Nevada, as he explained how Sharron Angle’s anti-Latino ads influenced the fact that he turned out and the fact that he voted for Harry Reid: “She was depicting me as a gang member. I served seven years in the Marine Corps.”

Fiorina and Whitman got on the wrong side of the immigration issue in order to win Republican primaries. Angle, Tancredo, Maes and Colorado Republican Senate candidate Ken Buck overtly trumpeted their anti-immigration positions to whip up fear and anti-immigrant votes. Turned out that was a bad call. And it will likely turn out to be a worse and worse call that will effectively prevent Republicans from winning control of the White House. In fact, demographers tell us that another 1.25 million Latinos will reach voting age between now and 2012.

A major organizational effort by Latino and immigration rights groups helped galvanize voter turn out. The level of organization is only likely to grow over the next several years.

The fact is that as the Latino population continues to grow, it will rapidly become impossible to put together an electoral majority of 270 electoral votes with that kind of Hispanic opposition.

It is increasingly difficult for overtly anti-immigrant candidates to win electoral votes in states like California, Colorado, Nevada, Illinois, New York, New Jersey and Florida. Together these states have 117 electoral votes. It would also be very difficult for them to win New Mexico, and might even put Texas into play. Remember that when John McCain and George Bush ran for President they presented themselves as pro-immigration reform candidates. Bush got a sizable percentage of Hispanic voters. McCain got less, but was not wiped out. Between them, Texas and New Mexico have another 34 electoral votes.

If an anti-immigration Republican disqualifies himself completely in states with 117 electoral votes, and then makes life very difficult in states with another 34 (a total of 151 votes), that massively narrows the playing-field where he or she must assemble the 270 votes needed to win election.

Educational, Explanations, Immigration

Half Way Through the Semester

Hola Readers,

I have been a bad blogger as of late.  School and work are keeping me super busy so I’m taking a break from blogging (at least on Tell the Journey unless something interesting comes up).  I have an epic field trip tomorrow for soil ecology and a midterm in genetics on Tuesday so even though I really want to share food pics and recipes with you I don’t know if I’ll have time.  I still owe you pretzels and I’m very behind on that! 

This week is the hump week, the half-way point of the semester.  Those of you who are exiles know how difficult being an expat can be, particularly if you don’t have some skill or degree your country or another might want.  DH is so freaking smart it kills me he has to go to school at a snail’s pace thanks to prop 300, though we are lucky he has a work permit and can go to school at all seeing as how not every immigrant can do so.  Right now we do not make enough money for him to go to school full-time since he would have to pay out-of-state tuition.  And though he is a 4.0 GPA student in a hard science, something this country needs more of,  he does not qualify for any type of scholarships which makes it difficult for us to finance his education.  So if/when we get deported it will be up to me find a way for us to make ends meet since I will be the one with a higher “paper value” (I stole that concept from Corin, she described it as being the person who looks better on paper) only if I have a degree

DH only has basic Bulgarian language skills.  He can read cyrillic in a newspaper for example, but with some difficulty.  As you already know, he left Bulgaria when he was about 8 years old and then learned English in South Africa; he has spoken,  written, and read this as his main language ever since.  If we went to Bulgaria to stay it would be very difficult for him to learn the language well enough to attend university and I would have a hard time finding a job.  This is why we were thinking of trying to live in another English-speaking country if we have to leave the US.  But as we have seen, sometimes things are not this simple.

So, with case #1 possibly coming to an end soon, the race is on and the goal is in sight…

No, not Chance. He is not the goal. So close to the end!


Old Case Update, New Case Worries

A decision will likely be made on DH’s previous immigration case sometime in 2011 according to the old lawyer.  A few weeks ago she said the decision was likely going to come down by August, and the most recent letter from the 9th Circuit said the decision would have been made in April.  These delays, while very welcome, make me a bit nervous because I think she’s trying to buy time.  The need to buy time makes me think she knows his previous case (Case 1) isn’t going well.  She also told us that she thinks it would be very difficult to obtain the waivers we will need for re-entry should DH (and I, really) be deported.  I haven’t told New Lawyer Lady (Case 2) this, which might be important because New Lawyer Lady is the person handling our consular processing case should it come to that.    

I have said in an earlier post that I’m not quite done with my undergrad degree, which would limit our chances of emigrating to a new country.  The economic situation in Bulgaria isn’t great and we wouldn’t have many job opportunities there.  All I have to complete are Genetics & Soil Ecology and I will have a BS in Conservation Biology and Ecological Sustainability.  This would be ideal as it qualifies as a “long-term skills shortage” in countries we might be interested in (mostly New Zealand) should we have a 10 year re-entry ban.  So it is true that a delay until 2011 is welcome as my expected date of graduation is in December 2010 but we really would like to live here!    

Also, here is a gratuitous garden picture.  That’s how I roll.    

I must not have been paying attention to seed spacing. No matter, I can thin to the strongest plants later.
Gardening, Green, Immigration, In the Kitchen

Immigration and Gardening

I just received a notice of action on my “Application for Action on an Approved Application”. I tried registering for email updates on this case and the USCIS website repeatedly told me that my case does not exist. Well, if they sent me a receipt saying “We have your money, this is your case number” I expect that the website would have my information on hand. It doesn’t. To be fair, once I bypassed the automated stuff and did speak to someone (2 people actually), they were very nice and helpful. The  more helpful guy actually wished me luck at the end of the conversation. The problem isn’t worked out just yet, but I am hopeful it will be soon. In the meantime I am subscribing to Corin’s advice and gathering rabbit feet and shamrocks.  Hopefully this isn’t an omen of things to come.

On a positive note, the Herb Garden at ASU is looking great despite the heat.  We planted quite a few ornamentals today and good times were had by all.

Basil DH used last week to make a fabulous pesto.