Thursday, October 1, 2009

We Finally Have an Answer

Yesterday at 4pm, our fifteen-month wait finally ended. We received news from US Immigration regarding Ibis' case -- unfortunately, we did not get the news we'd hoped for.

Denied.

That's right.

The actual letter stating why we were denied has yet to reach us, so I don't know the specifics. Our lawyer got the verdict via a call center and they only told her the result. There is an opportunity to appeal, but from what I understand:

A) our chances are relatively slim UNLESS there was some sort of error with the process, and

B) the average wait for an appeal is two years.

Frankly, that doesn't sound very appealing -- sorry, I can't help myself despite all this -- so as of today we're starting the process to move to Canada. We need to apply for visas and try to find jobs (so we can get visas), and a whole mess of things I haven't even discovered yet.

I announced this on Facebook yesterday afternoon and from the comments I've already received, I know a lot of people care about us and are very upset with this news. Many have asked if there's anything they can do -- some have even mentioned going to the media -- but I don't think it'll do much good. There are a lot of particulars with our case that I haven't made public and I don't know how they've impacted this outcome. (For those of you I've spoken to privately, this isn't directed towards you.)

I certainly appreciate the support -- without it I'd be in a puddle on the floor -- I just hate to have my friends spend their valuable time on something that most likely won't help.

That said, there ARE two things (off the top of my head) that we do need help with:

1) With the whole world spread out before us, Vancouver is our first choice on where to live. Edmonton is second. If you know anything about either city, if you have connections there, if you know of jobs, if you happen to be tight with Mr. Harper… that's where you can help us.

2) If you're in the market for a furnished two-bedroom condo on the Pacific coast of Mexico, I can get you a great deal.

I'll let you know more as we find out. Yes, we're pissed and frustrated and upset and more than a touch angry, but we're also relieved. Having this hanging over our heads for more than two years has been miserable and made it very difficult to be happy. At least now we can get on with our lives.

38 comments:

Sue Barajas said...

So sorry to hear this news, but as you say, resolution at least lets you make some decisions and move forward. Louie and I are thinking of you -

Therese Walsh said...

Melanie, I'm so sorry for all your turmoil. If I had any Canadian contacts, I'd try to hook you up; sadly, I do not. Sending you good vibes.

Natasha Fondren said...

Well, on the upside, at least you'll get health care for sure. :-( I'm wishing you lots and lots of luck, Melanie.

Jenny Greenleaf said...

Again, I'm sorry to hear the two of you are going through this. I'm glad to hear, though, that there's an alternative. Even though Canada touches my home state, I've never been there - so I can't offere much help in that regard. I can give you lots of cyber hugs, though! See -- ::hugs:: ::hugs:: and ::more hugs:: :-)

Stacey Graham said...

Excellent job on taking that new energy and focusing on moving on! Vancouver is gorgeous! Don't forget the Olympics will be there soon so if you plan to move in the next few months, it may be cheaper after they're gone.

Upwards and onwards!!

Melanie Avila said...

Thanks Sue and Therese.

Natasha, that's one of the reasons it's our backup plan.

Jenny, I can't believe you've never been! Thanks for the hugs.

Stacey, initially we thought we'd have a decision much sooner and were going to try to get to Vancouver when they still needed workers, but you're probably right about it being overly expensive right now.

gypsyscarlett said...

Melanie,

I'm so sorry to hear that. My uncle has lived in Montreal for about thirty years. I realize that's not Vancouver, but if you have any questions regarding Canada in general, I'd be happy to ask my uncle for you.

If any questions come up, feel free to email me.

LurkerMonkey said...

Oh, Melanie, I'm sorry to hear that. What a bummer. I don't know if it'll help, but I have friends who moved to Canada and LOVE it. Vancouver is supposed to be one of the most beautiful cities in North America.

Melanie Avila said...

Gypsy, we looked into Montreal but they place a lot of importance on whether or not you speak french. No parlay voo frances. (that would be my phonetic spelling.) I'll keep you in mind...

Lurker, if they have any suggestions about the process, that would be helpful.

mary h said...

Melanie, get hold of Phoebe if she doesn't contact you first. Israel's brother, Aaron and his wife Sarah live in BC and I am sure they would have some words of wisdom for you. Sarah is a friend of both of us on FB so you could always "friend" her and ask.

Although I am totally bummed for both of you, having you in BC would be great!! Only about a 3 hour drive from Seattle!

JLC said...

Mel - I have a 'writing friend' who lives in Canada. I'll ask her about the best way to go through the process. Major virtual hugs for you, and if you do move to Vancouver, I can give you real hugs. :)

Melanie Avila said...

Mary, thanks for the info. I've written it down and I saw your other message.

JLC, thanks. I just wrote one writing contact I have, but I'm not sure how close to Vancouver she is. I can't wait for real hugs!

Allen said...

Mel, I am so sorry that things didn't work out how y'all wanted. But with one door closed, one opens. So should I save a spot for your new blog, How the Hell Did I End Up in This Cold Place?

Nadine said...

I'm still so shocked and sorrowed. :(

But the way you are handling it is inspiring.

I have a very good friend that lives in Vancouver. I will contact her and forward you her your info.

Maybe your blog will be "What am I doing in Canada?" or What was I doing in Mexico.

WendyCinNYC said...

I'm glad you are focusing on a new plan, Melanie. Maybe you should change the blog name to How Do I Get the Hell Out of Mexico?

Sorry, don't mean to be flip. You already know how outraged I am.

Erica Orloff said...

Vancouver is beautiful (but expensive).

Contact Richard Levangie (www.bigbluemarble.com). He knows a lot of us and he lives in Canada. He even has relatives in graphic design, I think. Anyway . . . he is very nice and I am sure might have some insights.

Good luck . . . . .

E

EriCan said...

I'm so sorry.

I wish I had some wisdom to inpart about Canada, but I have only visited there a couple times. It is beautiful :)

Hey- The Twilight movies are being filmed in Vancouver! You could meet Jacob or Edward on the street!

Glad you are thinking positive. Thinking of you two.

Pam said...

Melanie, I am really sorry to hear the news, but I'm glad that you and Ibis have a Plan B. It sounds like you can make it work. You won't be complaining about the heat anymore! ;)

Katie said...

Vancouver is a lot like San Francisco, and Edmonton is COLD, but the cost of living is much lower. I'll email you... Hugs and keep your chin up!

Melanie Avila said...

Allen, I like it. :) I think I might just keep it simple with What Am I Doing in Canada?

Nadine, ahh... what you said. Thanks for checking with your friend.

Wendy, flip is good. If you all have learned anything about me, I hope it's that I try my best not to wallow. I'd much prefer to make fun of the situation.

Erica, thank you for his info. I've written him on my list of people to contact.

Erica (EriCan), LOL! I hadn't considered that we could potentially be there while those are still filming. That would be cool. :)

Pam, I don't know how strongly I can express my joy that I won't be so hot anymore. It could still take months, but that's okay.

Thanks Katie. I'm drooling for cold right now, but I'm sure I'll change my tune after the first winter.

Lisa Marie Miles said...

Sorry again, Mel. I live in upstate NY and we go to Canada quite often for Yankees games and Ikea. I've only been to Toronto, but we've actually thought of moving there. We love that city!

Pat~ said...

Melanie, I've only be to that part of Canada once (we weren't too far from Edmonton when we visited Banff), but it was one of the most beautiful places I've ever visited. I'm hoping you and Ibis can find jobs and a new life there (and you won't need to worry about needing air conditioning, either ;)). Wishing you both the best in this new leg of your journey.

Robin said...

OMG. I am so PISSED! I need to kill someone. "Kevin! Come over here, son!"

This totally freaks me out. How on earth could this happen? Ugh! I seriously want to beat up the legislators involved in this travesty.

On the non psychotic side, I agree with everyone's comments about Vancouver. We stayed there for a summer when I was 13. I remember it being beautiful. I also remember dressing up as a vampire to scare my brother Artie in the house we rented.

So sorry it didn't come through, Mel!

Cynthia Bronco said...

Canada might be an option until your book is published and your case will get lot's of press.

Then you'll be able to buy your own island.

I hope it works out for the best!
XXXOOO

Cynthia Bronco said...

P.S. One of my best friends from college lives in Cozumel with her husband. They've been there since '94 or '95, and she's my friend on FB.

Melanie Avila said...

Lisa, I thought about Toronto since it's closer to my family than our other options, but I don't know much about the city.

Pat, I DREAM of the day I won't crave air conditioning. I've never been a big fan of it (I say as I'm considering sleeping with it tonight). I've heard Banff is beautiful. We wanted to go there last year but couldn't get a flight that didn't layover in the US.

Robin, please don't take your anger out on Kevin. Instead, gather your posse and head to your nearest government agency... I kid, I kid. (sort of) I lol'd at you memories. :)

Cynthia, I like the idea of my own island as long as it isn't any place HOT. And man, my first reaction to your ps was "Ugh, WHY?" I'm glad they're happy.

Stephen Parrish said...

Sorry, Mel. By all means move to Canada if you want, but don't give up on the visa. The spouse of a U.S. citizen ought to be able to reside in the U.S., even given the "particulars" you elude to. Hound your congresspeople; persistence pays.

Ray said...

Canada definitely is an option. Have you thought about Toronto or Quebec? It's closer to Chicago... But Vancouver is beautiful. A colleague of mine did just that -- his green card (and H1 visa) was denied and they moved to Canada instead, and without 3 years he became Canadian citizen. Ironically that was when he came back to the US to work, since the US is very lax about Canadians. That's pretty stupid... but that's how it worked for them. Hopefully you guys would be able to do the same and got closer to coming back.

Ray said...

Mel, Toronto is very nice. I call it New York Lite. It has the cosmopolitan feel of New York but not as big or hectic. I really like Toronto. Definitely something to look into. Plus a few AWers live in Toronto (and I live about 6 hours from the city). It's a great city, and so close to Chicago.

Melanie Avila said...

Stephen, the thing is, the ban he's facing means he'll automatically be denied until 2017 and it's only the extreme hardship waiver that we can hope for. In order for us to actual be under extreme hardship, we either have to remain where we are or live apart, neither of which I'm willing to do. Moving to Canada would negate a lot of the reasons we've listed in that waiver. So to keep fighting just seems like a waste of time and money.

Melanie Avila said...

Ray, I've heard about people getting their citizenship pretty quickly in Canada, and we have considered that option. As for Toronto, I've considered it more than Ibis and from the research I've done it seems like a cool place, then I hear all these people badmouthing it. *shrugs* If it turns out Vancouver is too expensive or difficult to get into, we'll certainly consider it. And it'd be cool to be near more AW peeps. :)

Rooster said...

Melanie,
Did you file the 601 waiver at all yet? I had assumed that is what you were waiting for all along. If not, I'm not at all surprised he was denied. Everyone who has crossed illegally gets denied - and then you file the waiver. There is a wealth of information on immigrate2us.net. I'm so sorry to hear that you are having to resort to plan b. Toronto gets my thumbs up! Def nice to be closer to home. What about Windsor? You could work in Detroit and commute across the bridge.
Good luck to you and Ibis!

Melanie Avila said...

Rooster, yes, we filed the 601 in April '08 and that's what was just denied. Because of his illegal status before we will be denied from a regular application until 2017.

I'm not really big on Windsor, but we are open to Toronto.

Thanks for the well wishes.

stamperdad said...

You should seriously consider Calgary. If you need any info I have lived here since 1982 and would be glad to assist. Edmonton too cold, Vancouver nice but too wet and too crowded in.

Steve

Melanie Avila said...

Steve, we were just discussing Calgary this morning. I'd love to live that close to Banff. I'll hunt you down via your blog and send you an email.

shadowferret said...

Sorry. *hugs*

Janet Ursel said...

I'm late catching up on things, but if you have any very specific questions about Canada, feel free to email me. I'm not much of an expert on moving here, but I could probably help some.

You sure about Edmonton? World's largest city that far north. I haven't been in years. I always liked it, but be forewarned, it is COLD. Not even Chicago will prepare you.

I do suggest you pick your destination city as a function of your job search. I don't know anyone presently working in Immigration, but I'll ask my bureaucrat friends for any general tips on tilting the process in your favour.

john said...

hey mel- i just read a few old blogs- and saw this plan about canada- now that you're back in MI- what is plan for that?