Daily Archives: March 30, 2011

On Dog Bites and Bombs

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Recommended reading for the week: This Dog Bites

Several years ago, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) dropped a bomb on my family. My mother was declared legal because her mother is a U.S. citizen, my father was declared legal because his older daughter is a U.S. citizen and I was declared an unauthorized alien, because … I was over 21. Ever since then, we are a family separated by arbitrary borders and categories in the law. I’ve always and I will always consider that an act of terrorism. But I’ve always felt too angry to feel any fear.

I cannot respond in kind. I don’t have the will or power to separate their families. I don’t think that is the right answer or the correct response. We don’t need violence or threats to coerce the government into doing the right thing. We just need to make sure that the system becomes more and more dysfunctional till it totally breaks down.

The immigration system is running on a Windows 1986 model. Instead of buying a completely new system, USCIS keeps adding upgrades. But you know what happens to an old computer that runs on upgrades. It becomes incredibly slow. Some of the programs on it no longer work. Files go missing and become corrupted. And one day, it just stops working.

As an advocate for yourself and your family, your job is two-fold. One, you have to always stay two steps ahead of the system to ensure that they leave you alone. And two, you have to make the system much much slower and break down at an accelerated pace.

Jam fax-lines. Fill up voicemail boxes. Send them thousands of emails per day. Increase their workload exponentially by filing petitions. If they deny your claim and right to stay with your loved ones, sue them in court. Fight every removal proceeding with asylum and cancellation claims and clog the courts till the judges throw out your case. File for a stay of removal. Get Congressional members involved. Send them and their staffers emails, faxes, phone calls. Rally outside their offices till they agree to introduce private bill after private bill and finally get tired to the point that they have to sign onto some sort of pro-immigrant legislation. Still getting deported? Get the media out to the airport and make a press statement. Make the system work for you. Don’t just watch them rip your family apart without a fight.

Make sure you leave a bite, one that leaves a permanent mark.

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U.S. Immigration Plots Separation of Married Same-Sex Couples Again

Married same-sex bi-national couples across the United States had only 24 hours to celebrate an announcement by USCIS (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services) that the agency would no longer deny green-card applications filed by the couples.

Today, the Obama administration is already backtracking, with USCIS officials telling the media that same-sex couples could go back to being denied a life together in less than a week, contrary to what officials told advocates late last week. Thousands of married couples living together in the United States would again face the prospect of choosing between the person they love and the country they call home.

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Clarying USCIS On Gay Green Cards

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Last week, USCIS told us that they would hold green card petitions filed by same-sex married couples in abeyance. This week, they are telling the press something else. The last thing the agency wants is to spread the perception that they are not following the law of the land regarding DOMA. So now they are going back on their word and resuming deportations.

Amidst, all the confusion regarding the official position of USCIS on issuing green cards to foreign partners of same-sex couples, I stick by what I said originally: inundate them with thousands of marriage-based petitions from same-sex couples. I’d love to see them adjudicate all the petitions and pursue removal proceedings. As a community, it’s time to turn up the heat on the agency and Congressional members.

I’ll say two additional things:

  • USCIS never said it would issue green cards. No one has ever said that the new guidance would give them green cards. This will not benefit those that live abroad and those couples who are not legally married. The end.
  • But if you are tired of being undocumented and came to this country legally, this is your golden chance to get work authorization and all relevant documents besides a green card. It really makes a difference. You can drive legally, work legally, take out loans — what more do you need? If you came here illegally, you are just out of luck.

No organization will completely endorse this position. Because lets face it, we are all lawyers and lawyers never give absolute answers due to professional ethics and a desire to err on the side of caution. But social change is not made using caution. Or lawyers.

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#WC11

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Today is the World Cup Cricket semi-final between India and Pakistan. About a billion people around the world will be less productive during the next 24 hours.

India has never won at Mohali against Pakistan. In return, Pakistan has never won against India in the World Cup. The winner will play Sri Lanka in the Finals.

The national fervor of cricket in South Asian countries is perhaps, the biggest critique of the word “post-colonial.” There’s nothing remotely post-colonial about adopting the colonizer’s passion past-time as the national sport of a new nation.

But maybe what is truly post-colonial is beating the colonizer at their own game.

Here’s to an all-South Asian World Cup Cricket Final.

Let the Battle of Mohali begin.

P.S. I bleed blue.

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