So, I have this friend, Marge, who has been married to her husband Homer for a good 10+ years. (Obviously the names have been changed here.) Marge is American, Homer is Australian, and they've spent all but about 9 months of their married life (while Homer was working in Canada) in Australia. Marge is now an Australian citizen. Homer and Marge have two children, Lisa and Maggie, who are also dual US-Australian citizens. (They're adopted; they were born in the US but have since obtained Australian citizenship.) In October last year, Homer and Marge decided to move back to the US. But Homer decided he didn't want to go for a Green Card; he thought he'd come over on a tourist visa, find a job, and get sponsorship. I tried telling them that was a really bad idea. (His plan was to become a primary school teacher in Utah. You don't need a teaching degree to be a primary school teacher in Utah, but there are also an overabundance of primary school teachers in Utah, and the chance of finding a job where someone would be willing to sponsor an applicant without a teaching degree, when there are several applicants for every available position, is really slim. Not to mention, he's on six-figures here, and would be more than halving his pay to become a primary school teacher in Utah.) After the election I tried telling them it was a really, really, really bad idea, especially as Marge has ongoing chronic health conditions and they'd be making the move from a country with socialised medicine to a country with a healthcare system in turmoil. They persisted. Then immigration shit hit the fan, stories came out of Aussies being detained at the border, we reconsidered an upcoming vacation to the US, and still they persisted. He quit his job and posted on Facebook that they were moving to the US; they packed up their house to have it shipped over and took a bit of time off to travel through the Outback with one final trip to Bali. They were supposed to arrive in the US today. I woke up to an e-mail from Marge. Marge, Lisa and Maggie are all in LA, but Homer's electronic visa application was denied. He's still in Sydney and hoping a trip to the US Consulate will straighten it out and allow him to fly across to join his family. Who knows if they'll reconsider.
On the one hand, what they were trying to do was clearly dodgy, and I have a feeling his visa was denied specifically because he'd posted on Facebook a couple of times that they were moving to the US. But on the other hand, until very recently, if you had an Australian passport it was pretty much a rubber stamp job that they'd let you into the country. Even if they thought there was a chance you'd be immigrating, if you had been married to an American citizen for a long period of time, they'd still let you in because, until recently, if you'd been married to an American citizen for 5+ years, actually getting a Green Card was considered a mere formality - there was no way you'd be denied one. Yesterday, with the appointment of a special prosecutor, I allowed myself to get excited and think, Wow, we might be going to Hawaii after all! But now, I'm just not sure. We don't want to move to the US; but I also don't want to be in a position where my husband's denied a tourist visa, because that would mean that any other US visa he wants in the future would be much more difficult to get.