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.