Unlike my trip to the interview, my drive to the naturalization ceremony was a relaxed one. I wasn’t nervous, simply enjoying a day off work with my wife, and the chance for a short road trip. We arrived in San Antonio an hour early, and sat in the park for a while. The ceremony was to be at the Institute of Texan Cultures at noon. By the time we headed there, over half an hour early, there was a long line of cars attempting to enter the car park.
The process of becoming a US citizen started, for me, with the renewal of my “green card” after 10 years as a permanent resident. The renewal is more of a replacement. Once again I had to pay a few hundred dollars, wait for a few months, then turn up to be photographed, fingerprinted, and my paperwork processed. One of the problems with my first application for permanent residence is that when I’m under stress, my hands break out in eczema.
Today was the day of my citizenship interview. The appointment was at the Department of Homeland Security US Citizenship and Immigration Services office in San Antonio, so I had taken the day off. I set out at 9am, and almost immediately encountered a dead armadillo on the road. I wondered if it was an omen. Turned out, maybe yes. The journey to San Antonio is about 120km each way. It’s a long, boring drive down I-35, enlivened only by the antics of Texas drivers doing stupid shit like tailgating 18 wheelers and cutting in front of buses in their pickups.
In case you missed it: Congress just passed a new law that will stop your capital — or at least a good portion of it — at the border, should you decide not to be a U.S. citizen anymore. Is it, perhaps, in preparation for the possibility that Americans might rebel at the debt and taxes incurred by their government by leaving for lower-tax locales? You probably didn’t notice this little provision inserted into the Heroes Act of 2008, passed by Congress on June 17.
Some 50 weeks after I sent the latest stage of papers for my permanent ‘green card’ application in for processing, and some three years after the process was started, I’ve received a letter saying that my case has been relocated to Boston and they’ll contact me when they’re ready for interview. If it’s like two years ago, that means we just have to get through the interview and it’ll all be over.