Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Securing our borders

You can't walk into the USCIS office, you have to make an appointment. I set mine up for 10:30 and arrive 20 minutes early. I'm not familiar with the area nor was I sure where to find parking. I've brought my book (The Golden Compass, quite good actually) and my journal that I got myself for X-mas. Some 90 minutes go by before I get to approach the window to hand in my I-600a to the Helpful Customs Agent (HCA).

I hand in my application and say "The instructions say copies are ok. Can I give you a copy of my homestudy?"
"Your agency is supposed to send that in."
"But I have it right here, can't I just give it to you?"
"Usually they send it in."
"Well I can ask them to mail it to you if that's what you want."
"Let me check." / HCA leaves by a door in the back behind all the bank-teller like windows.....
"We can take it. Do you have an original?"
/ha ha I think! "Sure I brought an original too. Also here's my birth certificate."
"We can take a copy of that." / why is that copy ok? I have no idea.

We stare at each other.

"Anything else?" She has that why are you still here look.
"Don't I need to be fingerprinted?"
"Yeah, we need to set that up."

We stare.

"Can I do that here?"
"Yeah, we can set up that here if you want."
"Okay that would be great. It would save me another trip down here." I smile and pretend I'm walking along the boardwalk on Rehoboth Beach.

We stare at each other some more. I wonder how thick the glass is and if I hit it would it crack? It's a good thing the glass is there.

"Do I set it up here?"
"Yeah we'll do that for you."
"OK, that's great."
"You can pay for both the application and the fingerprinting together."


"You can have a seat."
"OK!" I chuckle a little trying for a ha ha, I'm such a goof.

I'm thinking I have no number, no receipt, I'm not sure what I'm waiting for. I scan the faces behind the windows. No one is looking for me. There's no activity....

Finally my name is called by HCA. "Here's your receipt take that with you to get your fingerprints."


"Is that here?"
"It's across the street."
"Does the building have a name?"
"It's in the Bank of America building."
"Do I walk in and talk to a guard?"
"Just walk in and it's on your left."
"Do I need an appointment?"
"Hold on, let me check." She steps back to confer with HCA2. "They take walk-ins on Monday."
"Great. Thanks so much for your help."

Making my exit, I see thankfully the building is indeed across the street and oh thank god there it is right when you walk in.... only... It's closed. Not a soul is inside. There is no contact number on the door either. I see a security guard in an office directly across.

"Um is that the fingerprinting office?"
"Yeah that's it. It's closed."
"Will it reopen after lunch maybe?"
"No it's closed every Monday."

/ head exploding


Steve said...

Good Lord, what a bunch of morons.

TigerYogiji said...

"We stare at each other some more. I wonder how thick the glass is and if I hit it would it crack? It's a good thing the glass is there."

I'd have cracked the glass and would be in Guantanamo (sp?) by now... ;)

Dan said...

I do believe that every single government-style office is trained and served by the very same people.

Oh, and drive throughs too :D

Daddy Cool said...

oh my god, it's so frustrating. Fortunately I've gone through the process once or I would be freakin.

Jennifer said...

oh my - that is insane... I would've totally lost my cool at some point...