Embarrassed. Enraged. Exasperated.
A friend has a friend in Africa (whom she has all but legally adopted to be her son). She's been over twice and he is trying to get his family here for a visit to learn about our culture in regards to farming, cattle-raising and whatever else.
For months, this has been in the works. Meetings set up. Plane tickets almost bought. Letters of support on his behalf for the American embassy to allow him and his family Visas to come visit. After spending $400USD just to meet with someone about potentially getting Visitation Visas, he had his meeting.
He sat in a room by himself, with all of his documentation on his lap.
She comes in and asks him his name. He answers.
She asks what his monthly salary is. He answers.
She doesn't ask for papers or letters of support.
She knows absolutely nothing about him or his interest to come.
She looks at him and says he is not allowed in our country.
He doesn't make enough money and she doesn't think that he can afford to get back to his home country and likely won't even try. And I get angry. I get the whole alien problem but he played by the rules and was denied in the blink of an eye. Because he doesn't make enough money.
He makes $350USD a month and that affords him a home, cattle and the ability to provide for his wife and daughter. It is arrogant of us to think that everyone that visits wants to schlep french fries at McDonald's and not return home because of the rich, lavish lifestyle he will obviously enjoy while bringing home $950USD each month. It's laughable. Is it so hard to believe that he wants to return home? Does it wound our ego to think that he - what? - doesn't want to live here forever, in the land of freedom, opportunity, and all things bejeweled?
Our system failed him.
And for that, I am disappointed.