Day 269: EAD Part 2

July 9, 2015

So early Monday morning (like 2 am) I get an email from USCIS “On June 29, 2015, we terminated your Form I765, APPLICATION FOR EMPLOYMENT AUTHORIZATION, Receipt Number XXXXXXX, because the applicant or petitioner received a status or benefit through other means.” I was so exhausted, but I had to get up and try and understand what this meant immediately. I spent an hour scouring through Visa Journey threads and tried to look at my case status online, which literally said the exact same thing as the email. Nothing. The only conversation about terminated EADs came from people who mistakenly applied when they already had their green card, or those that had their application terminated because their green card was newly approved and, thus was no longer necessary. We hadn’t gotten any green card approval. So now I was just anxious and upset. I waited for Efrem to get home to tell him this confusing news and it left him wide awake as well.

Today, we finally got through to an immigration specialist after how many rounds of case officers, attempted call backs, and being put on hold. And they gave us the news I had dreaded from the first time we were told we had to re-apply…our case was terminated because we didn’t pay the filing fee. An additional $380 that was waived the first time because we applied with our green card, that we’d have to pay for them to re-examine the same exact paperwork to issue the same exact card that we had no fault in its being lost in the first place.

It’s just so infuriating because when we were told to re-file in May I asked the immigration officer point blank if we needed to include the refiling fee, and he said with the cover letter explanation the fee should be waived, no problem. I asked him specifically, what if they don’t waive the fee—are we starting all over again or are they sending an RFE (request for evidence)? He said they shouldn’t deny it because it wasn’t our fault. Well, here we are two months later and the woman is telling us in no uncertain terms that we had to start all over again AND pay the fee. Even more grating was her chipper tone of voice—not even an attempt to be delicate when telling us not only do we have to fill out this paperwork for a THIRD time but now we have to pay even more money to this ridiculously inefficient government system to re-approve something that we should’ve had in hand back in March. She has the nerve to tell me to have a good day at the end of that phone call. I said to her, ‘He’s been in this country for 9 months now and hasn’t been able to legally work a single day of those 9 months, this process is expensive and all of our livelihood depends on my single income. Do you not see how this can be another financial stress to tell us to pay almost another $400 and wait another 3 months (bringing the grand total to 1 full year) so that we can have more than one income in this house?’

“Oh, so you’re saying you have a financial hardship. Okay well fill out form…and attach it…”

*Goes to look up form. Nearly tosses laptop across room*

Basically, the form comes just short of telling you to stand outside their office and do a circus act while reciting the constitution backwards in terms of asking you to prove your hardship. You have to put every shred of information regarding any income ever (expenses, loans, bills, dates of employment, dates of termination) and then provide several types of documentation and letters for ALL of it, at which point, they can still say…fee waiver DENIED. Then, you would still have to start all over again 3 months from now and still end up paying the money. OR you could skip the BS and just deal with the burden of yet another expense and get your EAD.

The worst part is, the loss of EADs in the mail is not uncommon. There are dozens of threads on Visa Journey over YEARS where people have the exact same situation happen and they’re forced to refile and repay. I swear, USCIS must have a scheme going on with USPS for them to lose X% of every EAD mailed so they can collect and extra $400 dollars and then they split the revenue. Two inefficient government services screwing over folks who literally have nothing left to give to be with someone they love. Is it any wonder why so many people say “to hell” with undergoing the legal immigration process? Who can afford to have a two person household with one income for almost a year  when that one person isn’t high on the pay-scale to begin with? That’s why folks aren’t sitting around waiting for their “working papers,” which without means no legal employment and the inability to get a driver’s license or even a state ID in many states (Louisiana…)

And getting pissed off with immigration is not like getting pissed off at a company where you can call and complain up the levels of management, or appeal with a letter to grievance, or even just write a bunch of negative reviews all over the internet and report it to the BBB, which rarely does anything but makes you feel better. With the government, you’re just stuck. You’re totally at the mercy of their mistakes, their indifference about their mistakes, their inefficiency, and their silence.

We both know this will all be over soon, and that while a year and a half may feel painfully long, it’s really incredibly short in the scheme of life. One day we’ll be able to look back on this and just laugh. But right now, while we’re in it, it just feels never ending.

All I know is we’re having a party. Two parties. One for when he finally gets his EAD in hand, and then a night of complete debauchery once he has his green card.