It’s a new week, and a new design, and apparently, a new life.
Friday after work I had some errands to run. Typical stuff: return a movie, pick up a few groceries, stop at the nursery for some more plants. I arrived home before dark, walking from the back of my house where I park my car up front, to survey the progress of the new grass seedlings and grab the mail. As I went inside, shuffling past another and yet another offer to refinance my mortgage, I found a letter from the American Consulate General in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.
Let me state that I was not, under any circumstances, expecting this letter. I’m on several immigration forums daily, at times hourly. I am acquainted with a good number of people going through this process, and not only have there been no approvals from any June, July or August-filed waivers, there have been almost no approvals for nearly a month. This situation has caused a wave of disillusionment and relative unrest on the forums, with many husbands and wives feeling that in the wake of the pilot program, they were being forgotten.
Inside the envelope, I found a perplexing letter. I sat on the couch in the living room, and read: “This office is ready to begin final processing of the visa for the applicant name below…” The appointment date is July 10, 2007.
My first thought was that they screwed up. They misplaced our I-601, our hardship letter, and any record that Fermin already had his first interview in late August of 2006. They must have scheduled us another first interview, I thought. Great!
I took a moment to think about who to call, and quickly decided on my friends Erinn and Laura, both of whom I met on immigration forums. It’s not that Fermin, mom, dad or Sara are not more important in my normal life, but this mysterious letter demanded an explanation, and none of them were going to help me interpret it like Erinn and Laura.
Erinn suggested it sounded like an approval.
“But Erinn, how could I get an approval right now, that doesn’t make any sense!”
Erinn’s husband, by the way, has been in Mexico three weeks longer than Fermin. Their two children are living with him in his tiny hometown in Veracruz, while she works overtime to keep their bills current. She led me to immigrate2us from another forum, and we later realized we lived about a ten minute drive from one another in Milwaukee.
She affirmed what I thought, that sometimes an appointment letter arrives before one is notified that their waiver has actually been approved. If this was true, I assumed that a number of people had appointment letters sitting in their mailboxes at that moment, and that at least one or two of them were posting on immigrate2us right now about their surprising, exciting second appointments. While on the phone with Laura, I logged on to the forum and sadly found no news.
I called Fermin, and told him about the weird letter, and that I would call him right back after I called the 900 number on the letterheard for the Consulate. So I spent the best $1.25 per minute ever talking to a very helpful man named Ramiro at the Consulate.
Me: So, I received this appointment letter, but I don’t understand why I would receive a letter right now… what does this mean about our waiver?
Ramiro: Well, Ms. Bruss (maiden name), your waiver was approved on May 4th.
Me: What? What?! WHAT!! (I actually said “What?!” at least 10 times) How is that possible?!!
Ramiro: Yes, your waiver has been approved.
Me: Our waiver was approved on May 4th?
Ramiro: Yes, May 4th.
(Then I made him say that about 13 more times, and then I told him he was my favorite person in the whole world, except for my husband).
Then I called Fermin back and told him the insanely good but shocking news. He said he won’t believe it until he is back in the U.S., and I said I will definitely not either.
Then we hung up and, just to get a second opinion, called the Consulate number again.
Guess who answered? Ramiro.
Me: Ramiro! I thought someone else might answer, this is Laura Bruss again, I’m sorry, but I just cannot quite believe that we have been approved. I mean, I’m on this website for waivers and there are so many people who have been waiting longer than me, how could I get approved… (more senseless babbling) I mean, Ramiro, isn’t it weird that I got approved now?
Me: You probably cannot comment on that, can you?
Ramiro: No, Ms. Bruss.
Me: So… you don’t have any idea why I would get approved so soon?
Ramiro: I’m not really sure why you were approved. Maybe, it’s because there are a lot of people working on waivers right now.
Me: Really?! So, do you think there will be a lot of approvals in the next few days?
Ramiro: (emphatically) Yes.
Me: (more relentless disbelieving babble, including a declaration of my love for Ramiro.)
By the way, Fermin already vetoed my plan to name our firstborn Ramiro, but at least he will be ever remembered in cyberspace on an obscure personal blog.
So yeah, that all really freaking happened.
Two nights later, I’m still just as much in shock as ever, and sadly, none of my cyber-pals have received approval letters. The investigative journalist in me has a difficult time not searching the dark corners of the gift horse’s mouth. I don’t feel particularly worthy of such an unexpectedly early approval, and can’t understand why anyone would have even been dealing with my waiver on May 4th.
The Consulate in Ciudad Juarez processes something like 800 waivers of ineligibility every month. Fermin’s interview was in late August, but I didn’t mail our hardship letter with all the documentation for nearly three more weeks. And although the forums I am a part of represent just a small sample of the people actually treading through this process, it seems unusual that we would be approved considering that the few months before have apparently not been touched.
In any case, it’s time to stop thinking and start sleeping.
Congratulations to us!