It was with sheer glee that I went from the Immigration Judge appointment to the ISAP office to drop off the letter signed by the IJ that stated I was no longer in removal proceedings and could move forward with my change of status petition. Meaning there was no reason for the ISAP people to keep me in the program. I was to be monitored so I wouldn’t ‘escape’ because of the order of deportation, without the deportation order they had nothing.
I had to go to their office two days before my IJ appointment. They said the right things and smiled at me as if they were happy but really how happy could they be? Maybe as human beings they could sympathize with me and feel happy for me, as employees of a company that makes money off of me being in the program their reaction seemed contrived.
The lady, we shall call her Sally, told me that after the meeting with the IJ if I had time I should stop by the ISAP office and inform them of the results. If I was too late after the meeting I would have to go the next day. I told her that if the Judge dismissed my removal proceedings I would want to get my passport back immediately (they had it since the I-130 marriage interview back in January) she replied that she didn’t think it would be that fast, that this was a Master Hearing and decisions weren’t made at Master Hearings. I knew she was full of shit because I trusted my Immigration Lawyer much more than I trusted her who seemed to think she had an immigration law degree from dealing with us, as if by osmosis.
Their jaws literally dropped when I told them that the case had been dismissed. I asked for my passport and she said she would have to speak with the ICE agent to have me “formally” removed from the program. The look in her face indicated she understood she was full of shit and she knew I knew it. I told them DH worked nearby and he would stop in the morning to pick up all my paperwork. I didn’t have to comply to their bullshit anymore, I was a free woman.
The next day DH stopped by their office, they gave me a call to ask me if I was okay with him being handed my paperwork. The ICE agent still refused to see DH and the receptionist was upset that he insisted. They wanted to stall, I know my departure was costing them money and I was enjoying their pathetic attempts. After making him wait for thirty minutes and causing him to miss his lunch break they finally relinquished their hold on my passport. DH pretty much flip them the bird on his way out.
I felt this odd sense of unfinished business. It had all happened so abruptly I hadn’t had time to go there, take my passport and feel the satisfaction of telling them their line of work was a disgrace and they worked for a company that siphoned resources that could be better used and they were nothing but glorified persecutors of minorities and they shouldn’t be able to sleep at night. Amazingly more than anything I wanted to smirk in the face of one of the agents who worked there, she had taken a look at Zoey when she did a home visit and refused to come inside the house, even though it was raining. Judge my dog, you are dead to me.
That was the end of my ISAP chapter. The monitoring was over; they had weaned me out of it as slowly as possible. They had milked their money out of the system by forcing me to be in the program for as long as possible. I felt this weird sense of sadness, not that it was over, but that I wouldn’t see the pleasant faces of those other people that sat with me every Friday morning awaiting their turn. They talked to each other, knew each other’s cases and I had never made an effort to do the same. I sat there looking away from them and from everybody, I read a book or talked to my husband and never said anything aside from Good morning and Goodbye. The receptionist had once asked me “you like to read, right? You always bring a book” and my terse reply had been a curt “Yes”. Nothing else, nothing more, I don’t think I even lifted my eyes from the page. I had taken my anger out on them, not by being aggressive or rude but by being dismissive. We were all on the same boat after all, but while they patiently went through the motions, I hated every second, being in the program chafed my soul. I didn’t want to be like them, patiently accepting of their fate. We were all the same, going through the same process, victims of the same bureaucracy and yet I didn’t want to compare myself to them. As if my anger and impatience made me better than them. Who knows what they really felt? Maybe they felt the same as I did but I thought I was the only one.
While I think my attitude didn’t win me any friends and they might remember me as the snotty bitch from Fridays, I rather they remember me that way. I didn’t want any part of this to be a pleasant thing; I didn’t want to have any fond memories, any positive emotions associated to the worse thing that has ever been done to me. Why should I have been pleasant and cordial when I was so insanely angry? When every time I went there I felt every corner of my soul rebel against my compliance? I rather act like a bitch, show my displeasure, it didn’t fix anything, it didn’t speed up the process, it didn’t make it any better, but I will be damned if I was going to make them believe for a moment that what they did was commendable, or normal, or acceptable. I wasn’t going to pretend that the program wasn’t complete bullshit. The introductory video might have shown happy people running, jogging, beaching and having fun, but I needed to make sure they knew I wasn’t fooled.
I left that place never to go back, glad that the chapter was over and sad I didn’t get to cackle my glee in their faces.