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Our immigration story just got even more difficult. On Friday, (October 4th), Trump signed a Presidential proclamation stating that all immigrants applying for immigration visas to the US will need to prove they can be “covered by health insurance within 30 days of entering or have enough financial resources to pay for any medical costs,” and further, “an immigrant will not be able to obtain a visa if using the Affordable Care Act’s subsidies when buying insurance,” because the ACA is funded by the government. The Trump administration reasoned that  “too many non-citizens were taking advantage of the country’s “generous public health programs”, and that immigrants contribute to the problem of “uncompensated health care costs”.

Even if our paperwork ever went through (again, we’ve put it on hold right now because of the administration), this means another hurdle I’d have to jump in order to get us both into the US. If Rami was granted a visa, it’s valid for two years, and I can’t find the exact info but I believe once we have it, there’s a possible number of weeks before he’d have to enter the US? Meanwhile, I would need to move back to the US – either home to NH for a while or to California, depending on job prospects, get a car, get a job, get an apartment of some sort and now, get a health insurance plan that would cover me and Rami – because if I couldn’t find a job that’d cover him as well, he won’t be allowed in.

“Well he can get a job!” some may say. Yes! But only after filing for an I-765, and the average processing time for that right now is anything from 3 weeks to 6 months, average, and that’s when I remind you that our last round of paperwork, that was supposed to take six months tops, took over a year and a half, and my lawyer wanted to sue the government.

Just a side note to inform everyone, the current processing times for the I-130 in the California office (where ours was processed) are:

15 Months to 19.5 Months Permanent resident filing for a spouse or child under 21
47 Months to 61 Months U.S. citizen filing for an unmarried son or daughter over 21
50 Months to 64.5 Months Permanent resident filing for an unmarried son or daughter over 21
87.5 Months to 114 Months U.S. citizen filing for a married son or daughter over 21
99 Months to 128.5 Months U.S. citizen filing for a brother or sister

Now tell me, if I do the math, a permanent-resident parent filing for a child under twenty-one years old would still have an average wait time away from their child, just for this one document, of over a year, average. If someone wanted to bring their sister, like the “chain immigration” that’s so easy to do, the average is eight to ten years. One paper. One piece of this whole screwed-up puzzle.

Anyway, while the I-765 is processing all those weeks to months, Rami wouldn’t be able to work, so he wouldn’t be able to get health insurance. And let me tell you that I am laughing at the thought of the amount of money we’d need to have to support ourselves without health insurance while living in the US.

“This new attempt at an immigration ban is as shameless as it is stunning,” said Doug Rand, a former Obama White House official and cofounder of Boundless Immigration. “It will be chaotic to implement and guaranteed to separate U.S. citizens from their legal immigrant spouses and other close relatives. Was this drafted over lunch today in a desperate effort to change the news cycle?”

So, if I’m understanding correctly, I would need to move to the US by myself, and get a really good job with benefits (QUICKLY) for me and for Rami, with an insurance company that likes preexisting conditions, or he’ll be denied. And, this all would have to happen much earlier than expected because everything has to be set up before Rami is granted the visa – meaning I would have to possibly move after our inadmissibility was cleared and we started the final application for the visa – with a really rocky timeline which would keep us apart for who knows how long. It would be mayhem.

Maybe there are loopholes. Maybe I interpreted it wrong (oh someone please prove me wrong), but every damn day the situation looks just a bit worse, and actively worse, affecting me and my husband’s every day. On Monday I’ll finally send in the last bit of the paperwork I had to collect to apply for Italian Citizenship. I know I complain, I affectionately but sarcastically present the chaos of the Italian system frequently, but it truly is such a good feeling that even if the process is difficult, no one is going to kick me out of here, and the hoops we have to jump through we have to find first, but then they’re ground-level and you can walk through them easily.

I don’t know what will happen in the next few months, nevermind next year with this ridiculous election, but I’ll tell you that right now, anyone that voted for Trump, this Proclamation may seem like it’s taking “misused” money back from people that don’t deserve it, but anyone that knows Rami, knows that he will work his ass off if we get to the US, and I obviously would have to as well now wouldn’t I (and probably could – I’d just need coworkers that’d be fine with Luna doing zoomies around the office every afternoon). And anyone reading this that thinks that healthcare should be part of a capitalist’s game, this is the reality of it – we are the individuals that are affected by a terribly broken system all focused on making money – not on helping people. The two of us would be contributing to US society and hopefully making decent money (someday) to put back into the country that I grew up loving so much (and Rami loved for a good part of his 20’s). And yet we are the ones being turned away. Again, and again.


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