Home And Dry, Ctd

Apr 12 2011 @ 2:18pm

The response from readers has been overwhelming in volume and generosity. One writes:

How beautifully expressed! I now need to "dry" my eyes.

Another:

I don't even know you but I burst into tears when I read this post (okay, I'm four months pregnant and a little hormonal, but still).  Congratulations, and enjoy some long overdue peace of mind.

Another:

Damn you, Sullivan.  Everybody gets good and mad at you over the Ryan budget and then you go and write something like this.

Another:

Funny how it takes someone who’s not originally from the US to make those of us born and raised here remember this truth:

America remains the great dream, the great promise. For all its dysfunction, it remains an ideal, a place where the restlessness of the human mind and soul comes to rest in a place it constantly reinvents and forever re-imagines.

Another:

How wonderful that you can see England again soon.  And in the spring, no less! Although it would seem a bit odd to celebrate your permanent residency with a trip out of the country.

PS.  Come to Manchester for the bear run!  I'd love to buy you a pint.

Another:

This Arkansas redneck is having a shot of bourbon in your honor. Welcome to the fold, brother. Now you own this mess, just like the rest of us.

Another:

Tonight at half-price cocktail night at a neighborhood bistro in Minneapolis, the assembled raised a glass to you. Welcome to the United States. And thanks for being American.

Another:

Consider yourself well hugged by this bearded bear from Alaska.

Another:

Thanks for sharing your wonderful news! I am a farmer and so rooted in my soil that I cannot fathom the insecurity you have been living with.

Another:

You wrote, "How do you live somewhere for a majority of your existence and still not know if you could remain for another year, another month, as each visa was sent for adjudication and each trip abroad became full of foreboding."

We can relate:  I came from Sri Lanka to study on a scholarship, met my future husband (a German exchange student), fell in love, and then – penniless and without permission to work – struggled to stay together in a neutral place. F1, unpaid internship, HI, F1 again, married, had kids, left for India on an expat assignment … then got the green card while out of the country!  The fear is finally gone but the scars remain as I approach living half my life away from the country of my birth.

Another:

Thank you for your wonderful post about what it means that the HIV ban has lifted.  It’s so wonderful to be able to tell our immigrant clients, “Your HIV status is officially irrelevant – no one is even going to ask you about it.”  Some of the most heart-breaking cases we saw over the years were clients who learned they were HIV + during the immigration physical.  

I remember one woman from Cameroon telling me how she drove home from the examiner’s office thinking of ways to kill herself. And the man from Mexico who had been given what turned out to be a false positive report but couldn’t imagine what he was going to say to his wife.  HIV remains a life-changing diagnosis, but at least it no longer leaves people in immigration limbo. 

Another:

I'm making a mental note that it was that buffoon of a president's doing that you've been freed from limbo. Good job, Dubya. Credit well deserved.

Not quite. While Bush signed the end of the HIV ban, and while it would not have been possible without him or Republican senators like Gordon Smith and Dick Lugar, it was the Obama administration that implemented it, after it fell through the cracks at the end of the Bush era. Another:

I, too, am an immigrant, but never had to deal with the fear and trepidation of the Damocles' sword you had over your head. Your success warms my heart and takes me back to being a 10 year old and watching my parents take the oath of citizenship of our great country and feeling the enormous pride of becoming a citizen. I hope to be able to see you take that oath someday in the future – likely on YouTube. 

Another:

Given all that you add to our public discourse, I hope you are applying for citizenship.   I have a special affection for those who – as your friend Fareed Zakaria said recently -are citizens by choice, and not by accident of birth.  The contributions of those who have chosen to be here are immeasurable.

Another:

I noticed something appropriately intriguing about the tree image you selected for that post. That tree's an immigrant, too.  It’s a Japanese zelkova (Zelkova serrata).  It's a tree in the elm family. When mature, it very roughly approximates the branching architecture of the native American elm (Ulmus americanus), which was a truly magnificent landscape tree that was very heavily used in American towns and cities for its beautiful shape at maturity and its cool, yet open, inviting shade. 

Another:

My path to residency was easier than your for many reasons – my straight marriage was recognized by the federal government, the HIV bad doesn't affect me, etc. – but I think I can identify with some part of your sense of relief. I'm happy for you, and for your husband. Now go celebrate!

Another:

You must celebrate by consuming the biggest baddest hamburger in your area. I developed a taste for hamburgers in the US.  It is so mundane to most, but how more American can it get for a Hindu boy from Calcutta who is not supposed to consume beef?

Another:

As the immigration officer said the first time I returned with my green card: “Welcome home."