My heart is an overcrowded island superpower country. If you are lucky enough to qualify for a visa, you will be able to establish your presence there for a very long time, sometimes too long, and my hands will burn from trying to hold onto your rope. Sometimes, entry clearance is granted almost immediately, no questions asked – my flatmate Edd did not have to try very hard to win me over almost three years ago. And when I became friends with one of my best friends in college, Dana, it was platonic best friend love at first sight. Their visas were signed, sealed and delivered before I even had a chance to process them.
Sometimes people who have qualified for their visa overstay and then are removed in the most painful way possible. Sometimes people don’t even make it through Border Control – they are instead detained for what seems like eons, before being denied entry clearance and sent away. Then they receive an automatic ban and their case is never revisited.
But sometimes, people start off with an automatic refusal and have to continuously apply to gain entry. Well, not people. One person. One person applied and applied and applied. He was granted his visitor’s visa, which he rescinded without any difficulty. But that was it – the border became closed to him and try as he might, his application for permanent status was continually denied. Rather than attempt to invade, he pulled back, stopped applying and let the government try desperately to bring back an individual who evacuated by choice. Tentatively, he began to reapply and finally, after about 9 months after his initial application, he was finally successful. Letting him in was hard, trying to let him go was even harder, and now with extenuating circumstances standing in the way, we’re faced with the hardest obstacles of all – an ocean, a time difference and a government.
I recently watched the 2011 Like Crazy, a film that I probably wouldn’t have even found relevant until this year. British Anna studies in LA where she meets American Jacob. They fall in love, she overstays her student visa and when she tries to return to the country, she is denied entry and sent back to London. The film centres on how this affects them as a couple and what they do to make it work as well as how awful the entire Immigration system truly is.
There are laws now in place to prevent sham marriages from happening, to prevent people from getting married in order to allow someone to move to another country and gain citizenship. With the increase of terrorism, it is important to screen people who try to enter and exit a country. But what about people who really do love one another? What about people who simply just want to attend school, who have the funds to relocate and intend to contribute without abusing the systems set in place by each government? What about them? Why are they being penalised? What about people who sit alone in their respective flats, separated by an ocean, a time difference and a government, missing one another like crazy?
But what about the girl who thoroughly screens those who apply for entry clearance to her heart? What about her ability to finally let that boy in after so long and if she doesn’t see him soon she may very well lose him? And him? He’s just as guarded as she is. She doesn’t want to hurt him anymore than he wants to hurt her.
Let them exist in the same country, with their visas in hand, loving each other like crazy.