Friday, October 14, 2011

I am an Illegal Immigrant

On Friday, all the teachers in the department had a 15-minute, impromptu meeting. Excusing us, the director said, "Everyone but the foreign professors are free to go." We sat, a handful of us in the department, uncomfortable as people finished their conversations and the room slowly cleared. My stomach growled. Would this take long?
Then I saw her face. This was serious.
"How many of you have a cedula*?"
Crickets. Nobody.
She continued, "At my meeting on Tuesday I was told that I cannot renew anyone's contract for next term who does not have a cedula."
There was a collective inhale as the information sunk in and settled, heavy on our chests. A long pause, time standing still.
The questions ensued and, yes, even the professor who had been fighting for residency for several years, has been teaching at the university for quadruple that time and is married to a Dominican would not be able to sign a contract for the coming semester. Even him.
Even the professor who is in the process of becoming a citizen (not just a resident!) would not be able to return next semester if she didn't have that special number in time. In process doesn't count.
Since yesterday's meeting I've been to the immigration office twice and to see an immigration lawyer once. The verdict? That process takes, on average, six months. All that running around was just to confirm what we all already knew: mission impossible.

*A cedula is basically the equivalent of a social security number.

1 comment:

  1. Yikes. Is that a new rule or a long standing one they just started enforcing?