I should reiterate that I already had started reading legal documents. Like I said, I decided to go after the big kahunas, so might as well go all out, right?
But this time I said “alright, I’m gonna jump into this issue and see where I hit a wall and how I can bypass it. I’m going to see if I can apply directly for permanent residency somehow…”
As soon as I looked through the application, I was hopeful. I saw that the last little bullet point on the list of “Who May Apply” left out some wiggle room for “special cases.”
((“Shit, I’m just as special as anyone. My mommy taught me that!”))
As I mentioned when I talked about my journey after graduation, I spoke with my lawyer and an immigration officer at various times throughout this whole process just to make sure I wasn’t being an idiot. Once again, I relied on the assumed fact that when a system gets really big, people can’t give you a straight answer because they don’t understand the system. They err on the side of caution [as they should], and say “nah, you/we can’t do that” bu they don’t really know why. ‘It’s just one of those things.‘
The way I am going to continue this story is not as I discovered it, but as I presented it to the immigration officer at the USCIS office after all the research was done. During that presentation I brought my friend that works under the state governor to listen in and make me look “politically-intimidating and legitimate.”
“As you can see, officer, the instructions specifically show that there is some room for ‘special circumstances’ that might allow for someone to apply for permanent residency…. someone who is not under any of the other categories that are listed on the previous page…”
I went ahead and briefly covered items 1-9, which I did not fall under. I then went through the following list which describes people who are “Not Eligible to Adjust Status” (i.e. Apply for PermRes), and proved that I was legally in none of those categories. I asked him how many applications he gets using bullet point 10 and he said he’d never gotten one before, so I figure that’s worth something. Going back to the lower part of this image [[to the left]] where it says “…adjustment of status under a category in which special rules apply (such as 245(i) adjustment, asylum adjustment,… etc” you can see what I turned to next…
My focus after this point was 245(i) because I had looked into all that jumble.
There is a supplement for the permRes application that involves 245(i) and it looks like this guy on the right side>>
Simply the first sentence is the coolest thing ever because that is exactly what I’m looking for: personal/individual treatment of my extenuating circumstance by a human being instead of an automated process, while I am still here.
The latter parts read like this in regards to whether I qualify: check, check, mega-check.
Believe me when I claim that I knew what I was talking about. My friends get annoyed with my obsessive, philosophical, over-analyzing nature but it really does come in handy and I know how to use it. I love language, I love words, and I really really like to know what I am talking about if I argue (I’m competitive so I don’t want to lose the argument (if there is such thing). If there’s a legitimate chance of “losing”, I won’t argue in the first place… sorry if that sounded really arrogant/pompous/cocky, but I try to keep that in mind when I argue because I’ve been embarrassed before for losing an argument).
I didn’t just show up just to talk about what I’d read. I showed up to talk about what all of that stuff meant.
<< Here are the definitions that are used in the legal document.
I’m telling you. I’m a word nerd. I have a list of words that I love purely because of the way they look, sound, or what they mean. You give me word definitions, I’ll give you ideas.
So when I read the document I tried my hardest to keep those things in mind. I even realized that the “Attorney General that would be in a position to fix this would not be the state attorney general, but the federal one. (Back to this later).
Before I continue, I want to reiterate how much I enjoy discussing things. Considering I studied philosophy, I automatically have a background in debating stuff back and forth. If you don’t learn to truly listen to and understand the opposing view, you’re not doing philosophy, at least in my view. Doing philosophy, over-thinking every decision in my life, and caring enough about others to make me listen to what they say and how they say it has developed this natural tendency in me towards discussion. This might seem random, but I will go ahead and confess that telekinesis has always been the superpower that I daydream about having. At 24, I seriously still cling to the irrational and psychotic hope that I will suddenly develop telekinesis and start moving things with my mind. That, however, is nothing compared to my obsession of reading people’s mind’s. I read some Psychiatry, Game Theory and sociology stuff, but I almost exclusively read Psychology, Behavioral Economics, and Body Language books and articles. There is very little fiction that has gone into my bookcase in the last 8 years or so, and I love to read, so hopefully that tells you something. The reason I mentioned all this is because, as much as I dislike ‘losing’ arguments, the absolute main reason why I debate/argue/discuss is because I am trying to read your mind. I am fascinated by other people’s thoughts, so much so that I have never been able to pick just one social science to focus on and read/study/learn because I want to understand people entirely and not just one aspect of them. If someone gives me a ticket into someone’s mind, they have me hooked. I love bonding with people in that sort of manner because it makes it easier to ‘read’ them, understand them, and love them (some day I will write about the connection between understanding and love that I truly believe in).
Hopefully you enjoyed that little piece of my mind and perhaps you can relate. If you thought it was an annoying rant, then I apologize, but the reason I said it is because I always want to understand people and I don’t like to lose an argument … so when I run into the Adjudicator’s Manual that they are going to use to review my application, you know I’m going to read it. It ultimately means I am several steps ahead of them and laying down at the finish line. So I read the whole thing and looked for any holes in my argument.
Now, on to the real meat of the argument.
My entire argument was based on that right there. Section 245 of the Immigration and Nationality Act and some of the definitions, limitations, and case law that apply to it. The whole premise of my application was that I was applying under Section 245(a) of the act, not 245(i), not anything else on there because 245(a) is the main part of the act and does not need additional support. I read that thing word for word, cover to cover, and categorized, highlighted, underlined, and defined as needed. I looked through some of the documents that were connected and that made references to it.
As you can see, adjusting status under 245(a) is also listed as one of the visa categories that don’t have a numerical limitation[[left side picture]], so I didn’t have to worry about the number of visas “running out” (you can also see the three numerically-limited visas I mentioned that are family-sponsored, work-based, or diversity visa right above that).While I spoke to the immigration officer, I was trying to predict which angle he would take. Definitions? Eligibility? Admissibility? Availability?
I was ready for just about all the rebuttals he gave. We got to a point where he said “I don’t know, I’d have to ask my supervisor.” Honestly, I was aiming for this because I don’t fuck around when I obsessively over-prepare for something. I asked him if I could talk to his supervisor because I knew exactly what I was talking about. He said I couldn’t. So he went and talked to the supervisor for a bit and then came back with a verdict.
Not gonna happen.
At this point I gotta be honest with you: I knew this was coming, not because I was pessimistic, but because I already knew there was a tiny little hole in my argument and I just wanted to know who could find it.
I don’t play poker. I’m actually really bad at card games because I never play them. But I can probably bluff with the best of them when I try. My obsession with trying to understand people has led me to a lot of research about lying and information on when/why/how people lie, so in a game of strategy, I know how to bluff when I have to. But I despise nothing more than when people lie to me so I rarely do it myself.
So I pretended like my argument was flawless and led the conversation so well that the officer had to go seek someone else to find the hole. Honestly, my own lawyer didn’t know where the hole was, he just figured it wasn’t going to work because it hadn’t worked before (if it’s even been tried).
The hole was this: a capital letter.
Section 245 does not rule anything out, and theoretically it really might be up the the Attorney General’s discretion to adjust someone’s status if he sees that as appropriate and legal, especially because it says right there “in his discretion and under such regulations as he may prescribe” so it looks like maybe he can make changes that need to be made in order to make it happen.
But a few of the documents involved talk about 245A instead of 245(a), which means that there isn’t a visa immediately available and that means you can’t fulfill all the criteria to apply under 245(a). 245A was a specific time-frame [much like 245(i)] which allowed people to apply under 245(a) and have a visa immediately available to them. Without that simple legal document that makes a visa immediately available for people under a specific circumstance then it’s hard for people to have a visa immediately available unless they have some other means to jump in line (245A was agricultural workers around 1993 or 2001, I believe, but forgive me if I’m too tired of all this stuff to look it up again).
Perhaps that seems like a rookie mistake (if you’re a lawyer reading this), but I still have not found someone who knows the whole thing in-depth and can explain it well. It really, really does seem like all we need is one minor change or one minor bill/act/legalDoc that re-opens the application process under 245(a). 245A, 245(i), etc made a visa immediately available for people in a certain situation, which is usually the hardest thing for people in a situation like I am (i.e. 19 year waitlist).
Anyway, maybe I’m just talking crazy, but I believe it was a valiant effort. It took me incredibly deep into legal documents (to the point where I was arguing word definitions, which is legally permissible I believe) and it probably took more time away from my life than I would have liked (I did all this while I was working 40hr weeks at my job and still had a social life). But you know what? It was actually sort of fun, in retrospect, and I realized how productive I can be despite being stressed.
In the end, however, I lost my job and there was no point in looking more deeply into this issue or into whether that tiny hole in my argument could be fixed so easily or not (because a lot of my appeal relied on the premise that I had that job and I had there was no other visa that would help me keep it).