After my two hour marathon with “1-800-misinformation” (highlighted in “Round Two” above), I was pretty sure nothing would be done, so I fired off a few more emails to our congressional liaison and the immigration lawyer who was helping with advice.
Once I was able to get back in touch with the congressional liaison, she tracked down a staffer at the Missouri Service Center that was in charge of processing P’s Advanced Parole application, and was able to get confirmation on a document re-print. After a series of late night telephone conversations she assured me she had spoken to the guy who was in charge of the paperwork printing in Missouri and that the paperwork had been mailed that day (Wednesday). P and I sighed a collective (premature) breath of relief.
Things settled down a little bit on the immigration front for a least a day or two… we were able to celebrate the bhoj party (post forthcoming), and relax knowing that P’s paperwork was on its way.
On Saturday our friend D sent us an email saying that P’s paperwork had arrived, but that there seemed to be another problem—that we should give him a call.
I could only imagine.
D: “This time they didn’t send a card but a paper. It says ‘I-512L, Authorization for Parole of an Alien Into the United States’ on the top…” he started.
“That sounds right!” I interjected.
D: “…Well, it has all of P’s information—name, alien number, date of birth, country of birth, address—but the weird thing is, at the bottom they have posted a photo, and I assume the photo should be of the person who the document is for, but it’s not P.”
Me: “What do you mean it’s not P?”
D: “It’s a picture of you.”
“Of ME? What do you mean of me? Can you scan us a copy?”
So our friend scanned us a copy and believe it or not, I’m pictured on the freaking document, making it invalid for re-entry for P, especially since the document states twice: “…allows a Customs and Border Protection Inspector at a port-of-entry to parole the named bearer, whose photograph appears hearon…”
What on earth were these people thinking?
I checked my notes on P’s whole green card application… P had to submit SIX photos of himself for various pieces of the application, I only submitted one—ONE—and it wasn’t even attached to any of the I-131 Advanced Parole application papers, yet that was the one that they decided to pick. I was furious. How careless… utterly utterly careless!
“How can they do this?” P’s dad asked while discussing the situation during a visit with other relatives, “I can’t believe an official of the US government could make such a stupid mistake.”
“Why not?” asked one of P’s feistier aunts, “Did you think Americans were infallible?”
“I might expect such a mistake from a Nepali official, but I thought Americans were supposed to be disciplined, more accountable.” P’s dad has always been a giant fan of the United States, and I could see his conflicted feelings twisted on his face, like a little kid who recently learned that his parents had been lying all these years about Santa Claus.
Again I had to connect with the congressional liaison in a series of late night telephone calls and emails.
“I feel like USCIS is trying to mess with us.” I told her.
“Trust me, USCIS is too busy to mess with you specifically.” She assured me and went on the inform us that the only solution to the problem was for P to send a hard copy passport photo overnight delivery to the Missouri Service Center to reprint his documents—even though it was their fault, AND they already had SIX photos of him in his application.
There is no such thing as “overnight delivery” in Nepal, and since we had taken all our passport photos with us to Nepal in case we needed them for anything (like my Nepali visa application), we had to use the power of technology to help us.
P and has dad went to a passport photographer’s shop at 7am and woke the poor guy up from his bed to snap a digital photo cropped to the correct proportions and saved it to a USB drive.
Then we emailed the photo to our friend D, who drove to a local drug store in the middle of the night to print the photo to deliver to the congressman’s office. Unfortunately the 24-hour drug store doesn’t have a 24-hour photo counter, and since our friend had to go to work too early in the morning to complete the photo printing and delivery he passed on the duty to another friend.
That friend had to take a taxi in the morning to the drug store, print the photo, take another taxi to the congressman’s office and deliver the photos, the congressional liaison filled out some paperwork and gave our friend the address that he had to overnight the paperwork and photo to in Missouri, then he had to take another taxi to the closest FedEx office and send off the photo.
USCIS had insisted that this was the ONLY way to solve the problem.
We waited three days for confirmation from the congressional liaison that P’s paperwork was reprinted and sent. I finally heard on Thursday (Dashami day) that his new documents were mailed.
This meant I would be coming home from Nepal alone. P’s tickets were rescheduled from October 8th to October 19th in the hope that a week and a half would give us enough time to get the correct documents and send them to Kathmandu.