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About K1inCincy

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  • Birthday 12/07/1981
  • Member # 47078

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    K-1 Visa
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    California Service Center
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    Immigrant Song

    This 1970 Led Zeppelin song really hits home with me. Even though it was about Leif Ericson, a Viking, Robert Plant’s wraithlike cries exemplify the pain and suffering that I experience with immigration. I am a 26-year-old U.S. citizen who is currently residing in Calgary on visit. My fiancée Portia is a foreign worker here from the Philippines. We met a little over a year ago, and fell in love at first sight. The best way to describe it is when you are putting a 1000 piece puzzle together, and you are working on the sky section. You sit there and stare at two hundred pieces that are all the same shade of blue. Finally you find a piece that fits with the piece in your hand. It’s a great feeling, almost magical. That’s what happened to our souls. At the time I was living in Ohio and Portia was here in Calgary. We knew that we had to see each other on a regular basis, but an airline ticket from Ohio to Calgary roundtrip is a small fortune. That’s when I had a stroke of genius. Knowing that airline employees get free flights I left my job at the time and started working for Northwest airlines. Now that move had considerable pros and cons. The pros being that I could fly to Calgary, or anywhere for that matter and pay nothing for my flights. On the other hand the cons consisted of a considerable drop in income, going from a white collar profession to a blue collar, getting my shifts covered to even go to Calgary, flying standby, so when flights are full or oversold (which they usually are) then I don’t go or was left stranded in the airport. Still the job gave me the ability for Portia and I to see each other each month. In about May of last year we decided that Portia would come and stay with me for three weeks. During the three weeks we would drive down to South Carolina to visit her aunt and celebrate her grandparents anniversary. So Portia found a service here in Calgary that would help her file for her tourist visa. She paid three hundred eighty dollars for them to file her application and another hundred dollars for her appointment with the U.S. embassy. During the weeks before her appointment our excitement grew. I couldn’t wait for her to meet my mom and Portia couldn’t wait to introduce me to her family. On the day of her appointment I waited anxiously for her to call and tell me the good news. But the call wouldn’t be good news. The U.S. embassy denied her for a travel visa. They did not feel that her grandparents’ anniversary was that important of an event to grant her access to the U.S., nor did they think that she would return to Canada. So she was considered “high risk” due to her age, single status, and her ties here in Calgary. The news hit me like a sack of bricks dropped from a ten-story building. That was our first taste of how the border between the U.S. and Canada would affect our love. With the denial of her travel visa I decided to go to Calgary instead. That trip to Calgary last May change both of our lives. The next month Portia felt different so when I came up to visit we went to the doctor. On June 18th we found out that Portia was pregnant. At first it scared both of us. Were we ready? Did we make a mistake? What’s next? We knew that we loved each other. We knew that we wanted to be together. We decided that we would make this work. Our plan was bringing Portia back to the U.S. and we would start our family together in Ohio. Even though we thought that this was a good plan the U.S. government felt different. There is this long drawn out process that has fees attached to every form you have to fill out called U.S. Immigration. I started calling every immigration lawyer I could find. One would say two years, the other would say nine months, and another would say twelve months. On top of all the confusion about processing times the lawyer fees were in the four-digit bracket. It was then apparent to Portia and I that we were going to be in for the struggle of our lives trying to make this work. Don’t get me wrong; there was no problem with our love for each other, just the borders that separated it. It started to feel like a modern day Romeo and Juliet story. I could not accept the fact that it would take a year to bring my new family back to Ohio, and I would not accept it. I continued searching every day for hours on end trying to find a loophole in the system. There had to be a way to get around a year of waiting. But after a while the match of hope and optimism started to flicker and then eventually went out only leaving a faint trail of smoke behind. For once in my life I felt defeated. There was no way around the process, the wait, and the fees. I continued to visit Calgary each month, and in September of 2007 I started coming twice a month. The constant traveling made a huge impact on my bank account, and I wasn’t getting enough hours at work to make ends meet. That is the time when money problems would enter the equation and has been a constant factor to this day. We found out that the best way to get Portia to the U.S. would be through a K-1 visa, or the fiancée visa. It has the shortest processing time of nine to twelve months. The other option was a spousal visa, but that would take two years at least. I found a lawyer that would process and file our K-1 visa for sixteen hundred dollars. That was the best price I could find, and that particular law firm specializes in K-1 visas with a money back guarantee. Portia was nearing her sixth month of pregnancy and was having problems taking the bus and train back and forth. Only hearing about the development and growth of my daughter, and not actually being there to experience the pregnancy with Portia and my daughter was depressing me more and more. I knew I had to be there with my family. I had no work or no means of money, but I had to be there. In November of 2007 I drained my bank account. I paid the sixteen hundred dollars to the lawyer, fourteen hundred for a small bachelor suite in southeast Calgary, and had eight hundred dollars for the drive to Calgary. I left Ohio on November 10th and made it to Calgary on the 12th. I have been here with Portia and Miyah (my unborn daughter) since then. Things have been tough. With so many jobs in Calgary, I can’t work any of them. And it has been an impossible task for me to find an employer who will go through the process of getting me a work permit. I could marry Portia, but that would mean that all the money I paid the K-1 lawyer would be for nothing, and it would take the two years to process the spousal visa. Portia cannot collect any form of unemployment of maternity leave either. I started putting a home theater together at the beginning of 2006, but now I’m having my friend back in Ohio sell it piece by piece so that Portia and I have money to live on. Lately however, money has been running short, and times are getting tough. It’s pretty sad when you can’t afford a gallon of milk for your pregnant fiancée. If it weren’t for Portia’s support I’d have already been on the strongest anti-depressant on the market. People tell us all the time that this is the happiest time of our lives, but it truly doesn’t feel that way. We worry for Miyah, for her well-being. We worry about having enough gas to drive to the hospital when Portia goes into labor. People say things aren’t that bad, that we should be happy that we have each other and a baby on the way. It’s been hard to make people understand our pain. Don’t get me wrong, I’m proud of both Portia and I. We’ve made it so far, but there is still a rough hard road ahead, and both of our feet are sore. We pray for strength, and we hope for miracles. We live day to day, and give thanks every night for making it through each day. That is our immigrant song.
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