I am a happy bunny. I am a happy bunny because today I received an automated email from USCIS telling me that my new green card was in production and would be with me within 30 days. I was so happy at the news that I immediately made a celebratory cup of tea (because I was at work and although we have a couple of illegal bottles of wine in our fridge, cracking one open at 10.30am is probably against some crazy corporate policy.)
So, a small miracle has been wrought, and the credit goes to the admirable aide from Senator Joseph Lieberman’s office who adopted the role of our caseworker. I am firmly convinced that this woman walks on water, is befriended by timid woodland animals and is garlanded by sweetly singing bluebirds every morning.
She proceeded to make what I can only assume were a lot of telephone calls on my behalf; and because she had access to a man behind the public-facing firewall of incompetence with which USCIS is defended, in quick succession she established:
- that more or less everything I had been told by the USCIS helpline was wrong; in fact, so utterly wrong that she filed a complaint on my behalf (hurrah!)*
- that a receipt is issued for every form and procedure
- that I could apply for a travel parole document that would allow me international travel while waiting for the new green card
- that in all likelihood, the Hartford office should have stamped my passport the last time I visited them, thereby proving my authorisation to work
All of this was both helpful and reassuring and went a very long way towards making me think that perhaps, one day, I would in fact receive the fabled cream-coloured green card.
But there’s more.
This morning she established that the whereabouts of my I-90 at the Missouri office was unknown; however, she was able to say that I would not be charged the $400 fee for a replacement card. By lunchtime, the form was found, all my details were extracted from my previous application and the replacement green card was headed off to production without any need for me to pop down to New Rochelle to get my fingerprints taken all over again.
I am under no illusions that USCIS suddenly got its act together. I am extremely grateful to the aide for her assiduousness in this matter, because without this intervention, the situation would be exactly as it was last week and I would be sitting in the corner with pencils up my nose, saying ‘Wibble’.**
My planned vacation in England next spring is back on the cards; my purchase of an iPhone as compensation for not being able to go on the trip is on hold until I can think of another excuse to buy it. Hell, I’ll buy one for the aide if she wants it.
* Apparently, about 50% of the calls that the man behind the firewall gets are because the helpline got it all wrong.
** A reference to Blackadder, series 4. That one’s for you, Mr W.