Thursday, August 17, 2006

Miracles Can Still Happen

In the doom and gloom that has covered our region this past month, there was a ray of light this morning when my friend, the Iraqi mother (I wrote about her in my July 1 blog) walked out of the American Embassy with the promise of visas for her and her 4 children.

To back track a bit, she did finally get the date of her first interview moved up a few days and after presenting her paperwork and gathering more requested papers, ensuing several trips back and forth to the embassy, she was refused the visas. That day was a terrible one for the family as they had had such high hopes of being reunited with their father, studying for his masters engineering degree in New York, and all they had to show was a form letter saying that:

“We regret to inform you that we are unable to issue you a non-immigrant visa because you have been found ineligible under Section 214(b) of the Immigration and Nationality Act. Section 214(b) requires applicants for non-immigrant visas to establish entitlement to non-immigrant status under 101(a)(15) of the Immigration and Nationality Act. All applicants must show that they haves ufficiently strong family, social, or economic ties to a place of residence in a country other than the United States to ensure that their projected stay in the United States will be temporary………………..

The responsibility for demonstrating substantial ties to a foreign country rests with each applicant. All applicants must overcome the presumption that they are intending immigrants; the burden of proof is in all cases upon the applicant to overcome this presumption. There is no one set of documents or type of application, which will guarantee the approval of a non-immigrant visa. The final determination on visa eligibility is made by the consular officer.

The application fee of 71Jd or 100 Dollars per person is not refundable.
Consular Officer Non-Immigrant Visa Section
Amman, Jordan"

What I didn’t realize or anticipate, was the determination of “M”, who had started this whole process and was waiting to see his family, to insist that they reapply and go through the entire process once again. Against my advice and with serious doubts from others who were involved, the required $500 dollars for reapplication was found and paid ($100 per family member: a total of $1000 has been spent) and my friend was given an interview date at the American Embassy on August 8. Once again, she was turned away with requests for more bank statements, tax returns and affidavits, requiring phone calls, innumerable emails and Fedex packages racing from the US to Jordan to what result??

Well, with bated breath, today we found out! Thanks to the hard work of Cathy Breen, her guardian angel here in Amman and a remarkable priest in America, to name only two of the many kind people who were involved in this process, our family will be able to go to American to see their father. A special thanks here is also due to the American consular staff who granted the visas once that they saw the correct guarantees were in place.

I must say that I have learned some lessons through all of this, things that I have known, but things that I have tended to forget these past months and they are “never give up” and “miracles can still happen!” In this case, I am glad that I was proven wrong!!!


Blogger rami said...

you know what...

I had an invitation from the World Bank in washington, and my application was rejected... first time i applied was in jordan, the reason of rejection, was that the conference I was planning to go to, which involves meetings on key issues in the middle east with important washington people, was too soon. the second time, i applied in stockholm, the reason of rejection was, i was not applying in jordan.

total loss incurred: 200$

what could have been a meeting to support developmental issues in the middle east, ended with distress and disgust at US foreign policy.

Friday, August 18, 2006  
Blogger joladies said...

I'm sorry Rami. Your loss was $200 but the loss to the US because of missed chances such as yours is much much greater! You would hope that someone somewhere who is deciding US foreign policy would wake up and realize what damage is being done.

Friday, August 18, 2006  

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