Hello everyone! It’s springtime again, a glorious season of mud and frolicking animals and grilling out and farmer tans and depressed ski bums and all the things that make spring so magical and glorious. I’m actually writing this article while wearing a bunny costume, which is the Spring-iest thing I own. (Why do I own one? None of your business, but you should totally look into it for yourself.) In fact, I can’t think of a single thing that could dampen the euphoria that comes from knowing winter is several long months away.
Except for immigration! My wife (who is from Spain and therefore not to be fully trusted, especially around ice cream) is beginning the process of applying for her green card. I never really paid much attention to the whole immigration thing before meeting my weird foreign wife, so basically all of this has been new to me. And man! Has the government figured out how to make things complicated or what?
This is not a political diatribe about our country’s current immigration debate – although I will say that if anyone wonders why there are so many illegal immigrants, it’s because the legal route is absurdly complicated and expensive. (I know one Canadian woman who has spent upwards of $60,000 on her family’s immigration process and has still not resolved the issue.) Instead, I simply want to share with you some of the things we are being required to do so that you can see what a top-notch bureaucracy actually looks like. With any luck, you can institute similar byzantine systems at your own place of business!
So here it is – actual things we are having to do to allow my employed Ph.D organic chemist of a wife to stay in this country:
My Wife Needs To Be Vaccinated
This would make perfect sense if my wife were newly arrived to America; after all, we had to get yellow fever vaccines before we could visit her sister in Bolivia (which exists there but not here), and we don’t want random sickos coming over here and making everyone cough. But she’s been here for 10 years, which means that by now whatever horrible plague monsters she has festering inside of her have already spread to the entire American population. I’ve personally seen her sneeze on at least three strangers, and the movies have taught me that that’s all it takes. So consider instituting some kind of blanket policy that takes no regard for anyone’s particular circumstances (years at your company, job requirements, etc.) and you should be able to annoy even the most rule-abiding of employees.
Every Spanish Document Must Be Translated Into English
Which I suppose makes sense. But here’s the kicker: absolutely anyone is allowed to do the translating. This may actually have been designed as a way to ease the irritation – after all, finding a certified translater can’t be easy, especially if you’re from Bhutan or Syria or something – but it does beg the question, “Literally anyone can translate these?” So that means I could pay some 12-year old to write down whatever I tell them to write – “Trust me, little Kyle, I know what these say.” But that means someone governmenty is going to have to verify that we have done the translations properly, which means they’ll need to be able to read and write Spanish, which means they shouldn’t need to be translated in the first place! The brilliance of this policy is not to be overstated; and the more superfluous rules you can create, the bigger the headaches you’ll be able to cause. Besides, who doesn’t like saying ‘superfluous’?
We Do NOT Have to Provide Our Marriage License
This is the most inexplicably amazing part of the whole thing. We’ve had to compile a collection of papers that are approaching 4 inches thick, including all of our expired passports (and who the hell keeps those lying around when you can sell them to spies?) and 6 notarized affidavits from 6 family members who can independently testify that our marriage is not a sham. But for some reason, our marriage license isn’t considered important. I don’t have any problem with needing to prove that I didn’t buy her off the Internet or whatever – but I definitely think that 4 or 8 pieces of information would cover it. Our marriage license should be able to take the place of at least an inch’s worth of the papers we’re slowly coming to despise, wouldn’t you agree? Efficient organizations streamline as many processes as possible in order to accomplish as much as they can – which is exactly why you should avoid simplifying your return policy or vendor agreements or whatever it is that is currently the slow step in your business!
So please go enjoy your spring! We plan to once we’re done with the initial filing. Although it’s going to be difficult for my poor wife. She’s been asked to amputate her left arm and leave it as collateral while her immigration status is being reviewed. But that’s OK. She likes swimming in circles.