Mom versus the United States

Do I have your attention? Do you have a few minutes to spare? Have you ever gotten a letter from the Department of Homeland Security? No? Neither have I. My 84 year old mother did. She must have done something terrible, you say? You would be wrong. On the contrary, she tried to do what was right. 

A brief history, if you will be so kind as to bear with me. My mother came to this country from  Germany in 1960. Over 52 years ago in June, she arrived in New York. I know this because I have her passport in my hands. She had saved it all these years even though it expired in 1969. There;s a good chance that she has been in the country longer than the age of the person reading this. Anyway, I look at her photograph and see the dreams of a young mother hoping to give her young son a better life. That young son is me. I was on the boat with her. So was my dad. He passed away years ago so the Department of Homeland Security is not after him. Not yet. I would like to add that we all came to this country legally. It was important then. Not so much now. I think that Homeland Security should be more concerned with the illegal people in this country but that’s me.

So, what happened? My mother’s Green Card expired. Not the one for medical cannabis, she doesn’t have one of those. The one that authorizes her to live and work in the United States on a permanent basis had expired. My brother, my wife and myself gathered all the necessary information to make things right. I made an appointment at their Holtsville office and took her in October of this year. After searching us, taking off our belts and shoes and reviewing our papers, we were allowed in. We were told everything’s in order and given a number to wait in line.  When our number was called, we met with a woman who reviewed the papers, took a $430.00 check from me (you read that right – it’s $430.00 to renew), took my mom’s photo and fingerprints and told we would get the new card in the mail. She told me many times on the way home that she was so relieved to get that out of the way. I think it goes back to her days in Germany when you needed your “papers” to be on your person at all times. 

So, the next time she got a letter in the mail from Homeland Security, she thought it was her new card. Wrong! They want a copy of her birth certificate. Her mother and father’s certificates were also required. Mind you, we have absolutely nothing from my grandparents and they never came to this country.

Here lies the problem. In 1944, the city she lived in was heavily bombed by British bombers causing the city to burn for days. In 1945, the Russians captured and destroyed the city to rubble.

There are no birth certificates. In fact, there is no Konigsberg, Germany. It is now called Kaliningrad and is a city in Russia.

Author Michael Wieck, a native of Königsberg, wrote in A Childhood Under Hitler and Stalin that “the people of Königsberg shall never expunge these nights of terror from their memory.” This is so true as I have heard (and still hear) these stories from my mom.

The Department of Homeland Security has given her 87 days (where they get this number from is anyone’s guess) to get something that doesn’t exist. Like I said, she came to this country legally in 1960. She has a passport (albeit expired), driver’s license (also expired), and even a social security card. She has lived in the same town for 44 years and the same home for 41.

Remember, this is for renewing something the government already issued. What a country! Of course, there is no person signing the letter, no phone number to call, no person to speak with, no one to hold accountable.

I guess, we may need to hire an attorney or deal with politicians to see who can help us. At least we have 87 days to get this doneImage


4 thoughts on “Mom versus the United States

  1. UNBELIEVABLE. Leave her alone and deal with the illigals that are living in every other house and taking every third job available…the ones that come across a border not through Eliss Island. Absolutely unreal. Let me know…this is sooooo crazy. Big hugs to all…wow still just in shock…you need to get this out there. There is something about having American born children. Roger was born here and your legal. Keep posting Please.

  2. I would like to agree that this is unbelievable, but sadly it is very believable. Our government has long been afraid to pursue anyone, anywhere if the possibility of conflict exists. So it pursues it’s own citizens, again and again. Like a bully, it preys on those easiest to get at, those it is easiest to enforce and impose it’s own contradictory policies and “laws” against. Common sense and a brief history refresher would make this a non issue, bureaucratic red tape will keep it alive and a problem for you and your family. And what will be the outcome after the 87 days? I love this country and wouldn’t want to live anywhere else. I’m sure the dream and desire for a better life that brought your parents here in the first place is still alive in your mother and she would agree. But this is asinine and exposes a real issue in immigration laws and policies.
    Where is the uproar? Where are the groups to fight for your mother’s rights? There are organizations and groups who will fight for illegal immigrants, lawyers who will waive fees and publicly decry human rights issues for those here without any documentation at all. Yet your family will more than likely have to pay out and fight this on your own, even though your mother has done everything in her power to adhere to the system and laws of this country.
    The picture itself epitomizes America. If your mother isn’t a citizen of this country then none of us are. She shouldn’t be going through this. Make this as public as possible, contact news outlets, whatever it takes to get the word out. Good luck to you both.

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