A reason why America is awesome

From a Pew Research Poll: You may think that Trump’s campaign indicates otherwise, but a recent Fox News poll suggests that the 2016 elections have led Americans to think about immigration and decide that it’s a good thing: What do you think should happen to the illegal immigrants who are currently working in the United States — do you favor deporting as many as possible or do you favor setting up a system for them to become legal residents?

In which I finally become an American

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.

Personal Brexit

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.

Homeland Security and less pleasant things

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.

On returning

We took a vacation to Costa Rica. Our return trip was one of contrasts. I’m writing about the return trip first, to get the unpleasantness over with. That and I have over 6GB of photos to work through, so the rest might take a while… Costa Rica’s San Juan international airport is the most mellow and relaxing airport I’ve visited. After paying the exit taxes and collecting our boarding passes, we passed through security screening quickly and easily.

Heartstopping phone call

I’d just been reading Privacy International’s report on their stupid security contest when the telephone rang. The caller ID said UNKNOWN NUMBER. I answered it, and a female voice announced that she was from the Department of Homeland Security. Time seemed to slow down for a few moments. Then she continued that she worked for the Immigration and Naturalization Service. Oh yeah, INS was moved into Homeland Security. I remember now.