Thursday, September 30, 2010

100% Legal

Yesterday, I missed a call from what I thought was a friend from college (I recently synced my phone to Facebook, and for some reason this number is connected to her account or something weird like that). Today, "she" calls back and I pick up... except it wasn't my friend, it was the U.S. Immigration and Customs office calling to verify my legal status.

Apparently, someone had filed a complaint about me, and they were calling to do a phone interview. The conversation went something like this:


Man: Hi, may I speak to ...?
Me: This is she. 
Man: I'm calling from the U.S. Immigration and Customs office, and we have recieved some information suggests your status has changed. [there's a pause where I think, "OMG... what does unemployment have to do with immigration?!"] Are you here on a visa, or...?
Me: No, I'm a citizen. 
Man: Were you born here, or you're a naturalized citizen?
Me: I was born here... 
Man: And do you have a U.S. passport?
Me: Yes
Man: For how long?
Me: Well... since I was about seven, I guess...
Man: Okay, well I just need to confirm and verify this information. As of now, I feel satisfied with this interview, however, I may be calling you back to request that you come into the office here to show us your passport...

After the call ends, I'm kind of sitting in a weird daze thinking... WTH?!? What on earth would lead the immigration office to investigate me?!?!? I'm still in this daze when the phone rings again, and again my friend's bright smile pops up...

Again, it was the Man from Immigration instead of my friend (I checked my contact entry for her, and the number for her shows up as 972-000-0000; super weird). He has more questions... there is some confusion because on my Facebook account I have "Ogbomosho, Oyo State, Nigeria" as my hometown (which it theoretically is; both of my parents are from there). First my job, and now immigration issues...

 Hey Facebook, want to try and ruin my life in any other ways? 

I explain that I am first-generation American, but I was born here. And my entire family are citizens, or at least hold valid green cards. He goes on to assure me he's legit, give me a callback number in case I want to verify (which I do, and I get the Homeland Security Office in Irving, the Immigration and Customs investigation office), and tells me that he's just doing his job. He tries to assure me that he thinks this phone interview is enough to clear my name, however, I should be prepared to produce my U.S. passport if asked in the near future. 

I'm still trying to figure out why I'm being investigated and his response is that he's not allowed to tell me who, why, or how someone filed a complaint against me. But that  it could be from Facebook or something other social networking you have And that with the general attitude about immigrants these days, someone must have just been feeling a bit xenophobic about me.

Great... so now I elicit xenophobia in people. 

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