mardi 5 février 2008

La Migra and lawyers

I never thought I'd have to worry about “la migra” over here in France, but now I do. Theoretically, processing my carte de séjour (residency card) is easy. I don't know how, but things have suddenly become rather complicated, and I may soon become a sans papier or “without papers.”

The extremely frustrating part of all this is that the lawyers handling the process initially represented that my situation was very easy. I think that, after five years of practicing law, I finally understand why others dislike lawyers so much. They rarely return phone calls, manage to complicate even the simplest matters, and it's the client that pays the consequences.

As a result of the stress caused by this situation, now, whenever I see signs at schools or other buildings expressing solidarity with the sans papiers, I feel a small sense of support, as though it is confirmation that I am meant to be here. I am fortunate in that my situation is not at all like that of a poor immigrant trying to make a home in a new country under adverse conditions, and I am fortunate in that, although things might be a bureaucratic mess, I (probably) won't get kicked out of the country on a one-way ticket. And aware of how fortunate I am, I can empathize with and have sympathy for the demonstrators that march in our neighborhood streets every few weeks, chanting “Qui sommes nous? les sans papiers! qu’est ce qu’on veut? des papiers!

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