A reader writes:
My Spanish (erm, Catalan) fiancé and I met at Columbia five years ago and since since suffered a double whammy of senseless U.S immigration policy.
Even though he graduated into a strong job market from a top program, he was unable to obtain an H1-B visa to stay and work in the U.S. The following year I left the U.S. to work in London, availing of the dual Irish citizenship I was lucky to obtain because of my Ireland-born grandmother. I've been out of the U.S. ever since and find it difficult to return to a place where my relationship is so pigheadedly rejected.
Furthermore, should we seek to marry in the U.S. (where he enters as a tourist and marries me there) it is possible to run afoul of his visa-waiver entry, because he can't declare intent to enter to marry a US citizen on a tourist visa. But there is, of course, no visa that covers this.
The only option we have to legally live in the U.S. together is for me to apply as an Irish citizen for a J-1 student visa and bring him as a partner without work privileges. But that would provoke an immigration status schizophrenia greater than I want to imagine. So here we are, two educated people with international experience who the U.S. has lost because of these discriminatory policies.
I honestly don't think even many equality-minded people are aware of this problem. Anyone I mention this to thinks that marrying in one of the legal jurisdiction will just magically produce a green card. So kudos to you for raising awareness, and many thanks to Joshua and Henry for going public with their fight. I think that this issue is one of the ugliest public faces of DOMA and deserves wider attention.
Hardly anybody pays attention to this issue. Hardly anybody even knows of it. A Human Rights Campaign worker who hit me up for donations on a Manhattan street last May had never heard about it.
Having exited my American homeland because of this, and preparing for permanent expatriation from here on out, I find Americans dumfounded that it could be true, as if it mars their very concept of their country. I can sense them thinking, That can't be right; your partner must have done something wrong.
Thank you for being the first commentator I have seen use the word "contempt" in characterizing Washington's posture toward me and others, because whenever I bother to look, I spot that contempt whooshing at me. To defuse it, I have made the unforeseeable realization that the United States is simply overrated, which might sound rash but holds up under scrutiny when one carefully mulls this issue. It's the tiny issue that reveals much.
On the bright side, it has sent me on a great multi-national adventure. But it took me years to embrace that thought, and it's mind-boggling that somehow, a former Little League second baseman who wrote an unassigned booklet in fifth grade titled "This Great Country" and grew up dreaming of New York, will march a few years hence into some U.S. Embassy and renounce.
Dana McCourt nitpicks an earlier reader.