Friday, January 23, 2009

There's a light at the end of the tunnel and for once its not a train

So my previous post was slightly cryptic. That's the world I live in. The circles I ride in. The country I am a citizen of which forces this upon me.

I belong to an underground world you rarely hear about. I am half of a bi-national couple!

Since my other half is Canadian, well educated, we have money and the North American Free Trade Agreement we have an "easy" time making things work. Everything is legal. We are the luckiest of most bi-national couples.

And by lucky I mean that at any time when crossing in or out of the country for purposes of visa renewal or personal travel we ALWAYS separate from each other well before the immigration counter and I breeze through while he is asked extra questions. Extra questions which can turn into a visit to a separate room for additional questions. Questions which always hinge on "will he be allowed into the country?" And because the border agents have very few limits on their powers, they can turn you away for anything. Anything like being gay (You'll need to submit to an HIV test) or being in a relationship (You're putting down roots too strong. This is supposed to be a temporary visa). This is why we part ways. This is why wedding rings are moved from left to right hands. This is how the government forces me to lie. This is why I couldn't say anything while he was still on the other side of the border.

Lucky, lucky us.

So as our 44th president was being sworn in, I was home alone. My loving-half was stuck in Canada because after 16 years of presenting the exact same paperwork for his visa renewal, THIS YEAR it wasn't enough for one agent. That's when I felt the sting of oppression.

After 19 years together my relationship is "less" than others.

This tired argument that conservative nutjobs trot out that "you have the right to marry already, just pick a girl" is so annoying due to the fact that if my partner did "just pick a girl" and get married he would be arrested for fraud. The federal government judges marriages as valid based on a love connection. And since we are gay, we can not get married, we are denied our rights of spousal immigration. The government recognizes that love is what makes a marriage, not just a convenient set of parts that fit together like Lego. And then turns around and says I can't have one.


I know of many other silent couples who don't agitate, don't stand up, don't write their representatives because they fear the government. They fear that their partner will be deported.

But paperwork pushers be praised, after an hour and a half of being held at the border for a second time, today they couldn't find any mistakes or glitches in his thick packet of papers and they were forced to follow the law and let him through.

Next week we will meet with an immigration lawyer and start his green card paperwork. It will cost a lot of money. Money I'd like to buy a house with. But at least we have the means and the avenue to pursue a green card.

Lucky, (and this time I am not saying it sarcastically) LUCKY us.


Leigh said...

Very insightful and moving post. Tx for sharing.

Rachel said...

Yeah, good point. If you write to say the border agents are assholes, does that mean they'll pick on you next time you go through the border? We're not supposed to have that kind of system, but you know we do.

dit said...

I am so sorry to hear of these things you must be subjected to. Such a pain and so painful this must be. I can only imagine. For what it is worth, I feel for you my friend.