Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Homeland Hassle

December 31, 2005 ~ Bellows Air Force Base Campground, Honolulu, Hawaii ~ approximately 2 pm

Brian, waving his arms frantically over his head, running back toward me at our campsite from the shower house yelling "Someone stole my wallet!"

This may sound like a normal, annoying happening for anyone's vacation, all of the cancelling credit cards and replacing ID, but for Brian and me it was much more. The thief made out with a couple of tanks of gas prior to our credit cards being cancelled, as well as some cash and several gift cards, we received that Christmas. But at some point he or she probably ditched the wallet and with it one of our most valuable possessions.

You see, just one month previous we had celebrated (with MUCH fanfare) Brian receiving his green card. This little piece of plastic was the culmination of the monumental hassle that characterized our first few years of marriage called the immigration process and the promise of 10 years of living happily together in the same country. After completing our police report and making the necessary phone calls, we went dumpster diving in the vicinity surrounding the location of the illegal credit card use, all the while having visions of repeating mountains of confusing paperwork, repaying the financial fees to the US government and our immigration attorney, and possibly having to live in seperate countries and visit each other on weekends like we did for our first 6 months of marriage. Losing that piece of identification was devastating.

Fortunately, the process for replacing his green card turned out to be fairly smooth. After a few short weeks, a smaller payment and shorter application, Brian had his replacement card. Phew!

That is until our next border crossing.

We live 30 minutes South of the Canadian border. Brian was attending University just across the border and his family lives in Canada too. So we cross fairly regularly. What we found out at our next border crossing was that his card will now beep every time it is swiped by a border guard, alerting them that his green card was stolen. That's right the new, legitimate card will beep every time, not just the old stolen one.

You would think that our government could figure out a way to issue him a new card with a new number. Then if the old card was used they could catch the perpetrator but let the victim live in peace. But no, they give him a new card that alerts the border patrol that Brian might be the thief, or in kahoots with the thief. So Brian, and anyone riding with him, including his sleeping baby, have to go into the station to legitimate our story and watch Sergeant Slow-typer work his way through the Q+A his computer takes him through.

So you may not want to cross the American border with Brian until 2016 when he will be issued a new card, though who knows if the problem will be fixed even then.


Anonymous said...

...really? Everytime? Has it been doing that since Hawaii?


Brian said...

*Some* of the more experienced border guards understand that it is a waste of time for everyone involved and know some way to get around the procedure, and when I was crossing 3 times a week some of the guards got to know me and just wouldn't swipe my card but for the most part now it's every time.

The Hornes'es said...

Wow...that's annoying. What's also annoying is that we have to pay $600 to get a new green card because it expires in July (after 3years from when you get it) but you can also apply for citizenship once you've been married for 3 years...but it just so happens, July comes before our 3 year...so we have to pay for the renewal and then pay for the citizenship application soon after that...they must be RICH!! You'd think with all that money they could easily assign a new card number.

The Hornes'es said...

It's cause of your beard! You're a threat now. :-)

Aimee said...


Kori said...

We've met Sergent Slow-typer!! He's friends with the guy who asks how many people are in the vehicle (obviously only 2. Is he expecting us to reveal 2 more locked in the trunk?), the guy who referred to my orange as a "forbidden" orange, and the one who slapped handcuffs on Kevin. They all hang out together.

Anonymous said...

Oh man. That totally bites. GO USA (bureaucracy)!! [sarcasm]