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.