What it’s like being an American married to an immigrant.

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We are in the process of purchasing our first home.  There is a lot of paperwork and signing, as some of you know.  Today we were approved, however, there were a couple things to straighten out. One of them being that my social security number was flagged as fraudulent.  Yes, my social security number that I was assigned at birth is bringing up a red flag and showing as being assigned last year.  This is rather entertaining since I’m the ‘legal’ citizen in this house.  However, my last name is Singh and so I get things like this happening to me now and then.  I shrug and move on.

Bali and I have been married for six years now and have two yummy boys.  Bali is a good citizen, clean record, works hard, pays taxes, takes care of all his US citizen charges (that would be me and the boys).  He has been here for years.  He is married to me, a U.S. gal.  He is still illegal.  You don’t need to know all the details but basically, the government would like him to go back to India and then fly back the legal way.  Not crossing borders and swimming rivers, hiding in trucks and all that.

So, what’s the big deal?  He goes back, visits family and then flies back to us, perhaps even first class. Well, that is not how it would work.  He would go back and then I would spend years petitioning immigration to send him back to his American family.  And this could take years.  We will have to do it at some point but we want to wait for the boys to be bigger.  There is no way I could work and pay daycare.  We have no family help with the kids so I could work.  But the biggest factor is that children are only children once and if you miss out on the delicious baby years you don’t get them back.  Bali is our protector, our provider, our big and important family man.  We adore him and aren’t ready to be separated years.

So, Bali checks into immigration every 6 months and they let him stay a little longer since he is not selling dope and taking up space in the jails.  Being that he is a family man, he is the last target on their list.

It used to weigh heavy on us.  We saved money in case he was sent away quickly.  We prepared emotionally.  There was a time when he had to sign in every 3 months and there was always that stress of whether he would be coming home that night or not.  There were years he didn’t have a license and we had to live close to his jobs so he could ride his bike.  There are other things you have to do when your husband is not supposed to live and work here.  Basically, we stay legal and proper but there are things we do differently than a typically family.

Marrying an immigrant was not on the list of my ‘dream husband’.  It’s been a bit hellish, I’ll be honest.  I used to be stressed a lot.  But over the years I have just thrown up my hands and said, “whatever!”  You can only be a slave to the stress and the decisions of ICE for so long.  It gets old after 4 or 5 years of high blood pressure.

I can remember hiding in the garage trying to have a serious discussion with the immigration officer over the phone as to whether the new laws meant Bali was going back. I was trying to get away from my toddlers to get some peace and solid answers.  They found me and one of them got stuck in the cat door trying to get to me.  There is no time to deal with this ridiculousness.  I have children, I need to stay focused.  Children don’t care about immigration issues, there are toys to dismantle and sand for digging.  I learned to adopt their attitude.

I started writing a couple years back.  It’s a hobby and outlet.  It has also become a way to make some income if Bali is shipped out.  I needed to create something I could do and stay home to raise children and homeschool.  I also ran my own little daycare when we lived on the coast.  I’ve always had a plan A, plan B, and so on.

When Bali and I first married we had to be investigated for fraud.  We didn’t just do the basic green card and immigration marriage interview…nooo, we had to have the big, scary, intense investigation for a possible fraudulent marriage.  That was because he was already set to be deported.  Ah, but then our first baby came along and immigration figured we might really be solid.  I get it, people marry for green cards all the time.  They usually don’t go as far as having children.  Never the less, I lived in terror for a year.  I had a nice and tidy life and now I was having to save all our photos, utility bills, get letters from all the family and friends to prove that we were a loving and legit couple just trying to grow a family. We had to memorize our favorite colognes and childhoods.  It was a pain in the rear for sure.  For a whole year, I prepared for the big interview with the Fed’s and tried to remember all the crazy Indian ancestors and their crazy Indian names…along with our favorite toothpaste and how to make curry.  Then we went to the city for the big and scary day and it was over within minutes while I clutched my infant and tried to remember all the little things Bali and I had quizzed each other on for months and seasons.

Now, after 6 years of marriage, there are times I threaten Bali that I’m going to call India myself and have them pick him up.  Mostly it’s when he doesn’t listen or buys iceberg lettuce when he knows I hate it.  But this is a good man and after 2 decades of dating idiots, I begged God to find me a good man so I could have a good marriage and home life.  I promised God that if He picked the man I would marry whoever he picked.  Then Bali came along and so I did what I promised.  And I have a marriage and home life I had not experienced in my childhood.  I have a solid marriage and peace and love.  God has been kind.

We now have Trump.  Lordy, lord.  Well, I don’t know how that will all go down.  Bali says when he goes to immigration they now separate the groups; Hispanics on one side and Asian/Indian on the other.  Heartbreaking really.  If they get rid of the immigrants who will do all that hard field work?  Certainly not Americans with their desire to have the good jobs and high pay.  Who will do the cafe dishes?  Run the gas stations?  Drive the trucks?  Work the fast food?  Clean the hotel rooms?  Pick the apples and corn?  No, not the average person.  The immigrants aren’t taking anyone’s jobs, they are working all the jobs the Americans don’t want to work….wouldn’t be able to work one day and survive at.  I see HELP WANTED signs everywhere.  I pass trucks with Drivers Needed all day long.  Where are all these people that so desperately need jobs and complain about them being all taken?

Immigrants aren’t getting all the benefits and taking from us either.  My husband doesn’t qualify for health insurance, not even now under Covered California.  I can’t pay to get him covered.  He doesn’t qualify for any government aid or food stamps.  Immigrants work hard, hard, hard for everything they get.

As for drugs dealers.  Well, I’ve lived in small towns and big cities and I assure you that there are many, many drug dealers, meth houses, and criminals, gang bangers, and rapist that are NOT immigrants.  Immigrants are usually pretty well behaved because they don’t want to be noticed.  I’m all for hauling away the criminals and drug dealers.  I hate very little these days, except the dealers and gangs.  But let us not think that it’s just the Mexican Cartel causing problemas.

People come here because they are terrified for their families, they are trying to save their children, they are going hungry in their country due to corruption, they want a better life for themselves, but usually more for their children.  We would do the same if we were in their shoes.

So, I deal with immigration.  I have far more compassion now that I am living the immigrant lifestyle.  I used to hate it but now I thank God for putting me in this position to be in other people’s shoes so that I can understand and be a more conscientious person.

Maybe the boys and I will just move to India and take our turn being immigrants.

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