24 December, 2013
In the autumn of 2002, I spent several months doing fieldwork among Southern Appalachian folk musicians, during the course of which I fell in head over heels in love with America and her traditional culture. Earlier this month, after more than a decade of yearning and hoping, the desire that formed at that time was finally satisfied when my Green Card arrived in the post. Oh joyous day: I’m now officially a U.S. Permanent Resident.
Just in and of itself, this is wonderful news for me, but what makes it all the sweeter is the basis on which my petition was approved – namely, the United States Immigration and Citizenship Services deemed that, because of the nature and range of my work as a folklorist/radio producer promoting cultural conservation, it was “in the national interest” to keep me in the States. It seems to me that if the USCIS acknowledges the value of such work, that is really something that I – and all my fellow folklorist/radio producers (we happy few!) – can be proud of.
Personally, no other route to Permanent Resident status (such as employment-sponsored, marriage-based etc) could have pleased me more. I am utterly tickled and intend to be insufferably smug for a good few weeks to come.
My next goal is easier – to travel abroad so that I can finally re-enter the US in the “Citizens and Permanent Residents” queue.