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So, after heading to Immigration the other week to get my court date and being told it was in October, I received a letter yesterday (normal mail… bleh)… saying that I have a hearing on May 10th at 4pm.
ARGH! I’m now very scared. I have as much information as I can get on my marriage to Iain, and I’m now trying to compile everything I have on my marriage to John so I can be armed, so to speak, for my court date.
Wish me luck!
So, this morning John and I went to the INS offices in Orlando to try and get a fixed date for my ‘deportation hearing’. Lovely. I guess I should fill in here. I came to the US in 1999 with my now ex-husband. We only intended originally to come for a visit, to see if I liked it and then decided whether to settle here, but decided very early on to stay for a while… so we started proceedings to get my green card in February 2000. In November 2000 I was given my Conditional Green Card; conditional on the basis of my remaining married to Iain, my ex, for 2 more years. In February 2001 I moved in with John.
It wasn’t fraudulent. We were married legitimately. We’d been together since May 25th 1994 (yes, I can remember the date! I’m odd like that.. lol), we’d lived together for a good five years. We didn’t get married just to get me a Green Card into the US, which is all I had to prove to the INS. Also, whilst we separated in February 2000, we didn’t actually get divorced until September/October 2003. Anyway… in the past seven years I’ve been bumped around from one place to another waiting, and waiting, and waiting for an interview with INS so I can resolve this matter once and for all. Each year I get my passport restamped and I wait. And wait. And wait.
In December 2005 I received a letter from the INS asking me for a copy of my proof (evidence that the marriage was not fraudulent). I was suffering very badly at that time from Post Partum Depression and John and I were going through a very rocky patch as a result. It was a really rough time and I totally forgot about the letter. Looking back I cannot think how I could have forgotten something so important, but I did… I forgot.
According to INS records in February they sent me a letter advising me that due to their not receiving the necessary documentation, my case had been abandoned. I had 30 days to request that the case be reopened. I never received that letter.
In August I rang up immigration to ask for the current status on my visa and they sent me out a copy of the letter. I was horrified and totally stuck. Now what? So, John and I prepare to re-file the documents as husband and wife. I do, after all, have a legitimate claim to stay in the United States. I always did. Anyway, just before Christmas we received notice that the INS have entered me into deportation proceedings. Bleh! Oh well. To be honest this isn’t the end of the world. Hopefully, an INS judge will hear my story, view my evidence and rule that my application for a green card was valid and that’s that. I get a new Green Card and am officially a permanent resident. Then I can file for Citizenship. Worse case scenario hopefully being that we have to re-file with me as John’s wife. Totally horrifying worst case scenario being that I get deported next Christmas… heh.
Oh. The reason for my INS visit was to get a fixed date for my hearing and I got that. It’s October 2007! I can’t remember if it’s the 16th or 18th, but I’ll update when I check. Nothing if not speedy, the INS! *insert sarcasm here*
Wish me luck!!!