INS - Why It Stands For "It's Never Simple!"

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic
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Submitted: September 17, 2006

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Submitted: September 17, 2006



I don’t know when the ’Man of the Manor’ and I made the decision to try and stay in the United States, but I have a feeling it was when we were both sitting down at the local Ben and Jerry’s Ice cream parlor.

"I can’t believe that we have been here two months already."

"I know, and we haven’t even seen the flipside of the menu at Taco Bell yet."

"My God,you’re right! What about the cinnamon donuts at Krispy Kreme?"

"No..NO!!! We haven’t had them either. Quick! What flavor are you up to there?"

"Number sixteen “Sugar, Cholesterol and Pure Unprocessed Vegetable Oil” but I think I can get as far as Flavor Number Thirty-Six if I stop breathing in between mouthfuls."

"Hmm…I don’t think that will do it. We haven’t even touched on the microwave burritos yet."


"Of course..we could look at staying on here."

"Brilliant! Then we could be closer to your family and friends and that will mean I won’t have to try and cram the Pecan Rolls in between the S’mores and the Oreos."


Of course, we thought it was going to be an easy task. My husband is an American citizen and I am an Australian married to an American citizen. Easy sailing?

Not on your life!

It appears that the American Government is extremely cautious (and I say ’cautious’ with a large apple in one side of my cheek) about who they let into their fair country these days, as we found out during our visit to the INS (Immigration and Naturalization Services.)
The woman at the counter looked us up and down before mumbling something under her breath about filling in a couple of forms.
A couple of ’forms’ turned into a ream of paperwork that closely resembled “War and Peace”- before the editors got their hands on it. Of course, once we got home and covered every spare inch of floor with the various papers, it all became a lot clearer to us.

We were in for one hell of a nightmarish ride.

Now I fully understand, with all of the illegal immigrants pumping their way over the borders, that the Government here wants to make absolutely sure about who they allow into the United States of America.
So rather than just saying “No, sorry – we are full up, why don’t you try that little country in the middle of the Indian Subcontinent, I hear they have a few openings. Once they have isolated that annoying little breakout of Ebola, you’ll slot in just fine!," they have come up with an alternative plan to keep immigration to a minimum. They will simply put you into the INS process and you can bet that you will be looking at return airfares within a week.

With a million questions, we turned to the yellow pages in order to find some assistance and like most large corporations, we were given the 1800-ONHOLDFOREVER number.
The automated service offered us some answers.
We were instructed to fill out all relevant forms and to make sure that ALL forms were filled out correctly or else a large and nasty-looking purple boogieman would show up at midnight and give us a sound beating. If we had any further questions we were told to ring the alternative helpline 1800-STILLONHOLDFOREVERBUTWITHGEORGEMICHAELMUZAK.

Undeterred we soldiered on.

There were the medicals and the photo shoots. Apparently the ID photo required is a special type of photo in which we had to sit in a specific position with our heads cocked at ninety-degree angles so as to clearly show our ears. I couldn’t understand why they wouldn’t accept a photo taken from my last New Years Eve party. You could certainly see my ears, as I had fallen over and was asleep, head to one side on the toilet seat.

Another that bothered me was why they would ask for ’clear aural’ shots anyway.
What would be next?
Would we be required to give ’ear prints’ where they put a large pad of ink on the table and ask us to place our heads down and roll from side to side? How is the ’ear’ more important than say, my big toe? I know my big toe is pretty ugly, but is it any less important in the big scheme of things?

Finally, we got to the questionnaire.
Most of the questions were standard:
“List all places of residence since 1804.”
“List all Languages you can speak, read, or write. If you cannot actually speak, read or write “any” languages turn to Form IXXXX987-BBNG and beat your chest.”
“List any members of your family travelling with you here. If you are travelling with family and friends please list them on Form IXXXX45XQQQQ—JJ87. If you are travelling with any guinea pig, toucans or protected species of South American Llama-eating spiders please list them on form HHVCCXXX321109OP-98.”

And so it went on.
My personal favorite was the question “List any political, professional or social organizations affiliated with Communist, Totalitarian, Terrorist or Nazi Organizations which you are now or have been a member of since your 16th birthday.”
Okay, so given the general suspicion that any potential immigrant is going to be regarded with, I know most people would just say “Hey! That’s me! What do I do next?”
Would the fact that I am a card-carrying member of the “SpongeBob Squarepants” fan club hurt my chances here?

At any rate, it was decided that we would take our queries to someone who was more knowledgeable about such matters (and who might just know something about Llama-eating spiders as well)- our friendly neighborhood immigration lawyer.
It was the best thing we could have done, and now with our application in the works we can sit down and get on with the important things like work and trying to figure out how to tune our cable TV properly so we don’t have twenty-four hours of shopping programs on all one hundred and thirty channels.

I have joked about this process, but the real reason for us deciding to apply to stay is nothing to joke about, as my husband’s parents are not getting any younger , and neither of them are as healthy as they used to be.
Hence, we want to be close to them. After all, parents are parents, and it is no good being a hundred thousand miles away when they need you most.

So, I have another twenty-six months to wait before I am official, but that’s okay, as I have another eighty “Ben and Jerry” flavors to get through in the meantime.

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