Wednesday, May 07, 2003

INS special registration

Yesterday I finally went to INS for special registration and here is what happened:
Mohammad acompanied me. He knew the way.We were got to the given address at 11:0am. They directed us to another INS office which we got to at about 11:15am. The guard took my passport into the building but return after few minutes only to say that the interviewer was out for lunch and that I should come back at 12:30 (lunch at 11:15 !?). At 12:15 I was back. The guy was also back so I passed the security and sat down in the waiting room filling out a form that asked general questions about my contact info, my career, the school info, 3 references, my parents names and address, etc. I had done all this and more on April 7 in the US immigration office in Vancouver airport before flying to Dallas, but that is a different story. After fcompleting the form I waited there for about an hour to be called for the interview. There were few other foreign nationals there when I arrived and some others joined us while I was waiting. Most of them were called before me. None of them were from a moslem country. Looked like my business needed special attention and a certain officer was rsponsible for my registration as a citizen of a 'suspected' country. I was hungry and mohammad was waiting for me in the car. At about 1:15 pm the security officer, pobably concerned about my irritated appearance walked into a doore and when she came back after a minute she told me 'He didn't forget about you' to which I replied: 'Really? Thanks Lord'. So, maybe all this time the guy has been working on my case studying my passport and information in the INS database. What was there that made my case so time consuming?
About five minutes later a man opened the same door and called my name. It was the interviewer himself. He was most likely a second Arab (or Indian) American. Every other officers when called a person welcomed him/her by a 'hello, how are you?' He didn't. So, I also didn't say hello. He had put on a very serious and unhappy face. I did my best to show the exact same kind of face. During the 15 minutes interview I tried to use as few words as possible. He took my finger print, looked at my credit card, my I-20 and my transcript of records. Also he typed things on his computer. At one point he turned to me and asked when exactly I had started the school? my answer was more than two years ago. He wondered how could I start two years ago when my visa was issued only less than two months ago!? So I had to explain to him that it was the second US visa in my passport granted to me for re-entry. I showed him the first visa that was issued on January 2001. So, he had not even looked at my passport before he called me!
Also, despite his initial request, I forgot to show him my social security card but he didn't ask me again. I got away without even telling him my SSN.
One of the first things that I noticed in his room was a half full glass of soda and what looked like an untauched aluminume wrapped Whataburger sandwich on his desk! How many meals a day does he have?


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