Saturday, August 1, 2009

I've got my passport now!

As I shared about a month ago, Uncle Sam wasn't content with the five pieces of ID I provided when applying for my passport. Realize, I provided the same things that my mom and brother had when they'd applied for (and received) passports before me. What I didn't mention on my post was that we -- "we" being my family and me -- suspect that I had been red flagged for some reason by the woman who I spoke with when I presented my ID and paperwork. I don't know for sure why I would have been red flagged, but there are a few possibilities:

1) Maybe it was my speech disorder. People pretty much always think that I'm from another country, because it sounds more like an accent than a speech disorder. I cannot tell you how many times people have they thought that I was from England, Australia, New Zealand, or some other place. So, maybe it caused the woman to think that I was an illegal alien?

2) My complexion. I think it's safe to say that I get my complexion from being 1/4 Native American, but I can be mistaken for other ethnic backgrounds. Once a woman from Syria mistook me for a fellow Arab, I kid you not. So, my looks are another reason I might have been flagged as an illegal alien.

3) My pentacle. Need I say any more?

4) Any combination of all the above.

Perhaps the most annoying thing is that I don't know the why of it. All I can do is guess. And might I add, the extra forms I received to be filled out were all in English and Spanish, and asked one or two questions that seemed like they just assumed that I am from outside of the states, in spite of my birth certificate saying that I was very definitely born inside the states.

Oh, and the extra bits of ID they wanted? They wanted copies of the ID, rather than the originals. We found that rather sad, since anyone with a computer and a scanner could easily forge such ID.

My mom sent a letter to one of our elected officials about this. She explained the situation, our concerns, and pointed out that asking for copies of ID isn't a very good way to do things. She wanted to know if we'd been singled out for trouble, or if it isn't uncommon for people to have to jump through hoops.

We haven't heard back from this official, but I can tell you this: I got my passport in the mail yesterday. I even got an e-mail ahead of time telling me when to expect it (my mom and brother didn't get such an e-mail about their passports by the way), I got it sooner than the e-mail said I would, I got a little card to keep on me with emergency numbers for if I get in trouble when I'm out of the USA (my mom and brother also didn't get that), and I got my birth certificate returned in the same envelope as the passport (my mom and brother got theirs separate from their passports).

Whew. I can stop worrying now. :)


Sarita said...

VERY strange -- when the thingy confirmed that this post had been published, I also got this add for USA citizenship passports. Weird...Or do they advertise based on the content of blog posts...?

Debra She Who Seeks said...

LOL, maybe you've been targetted by the same "birther" movement that insists Barack Obama wasn't really born in the U.S. despite his Hawaiian birth certificate! So if you're the target of a conspiracy, at least you're in good company!

Sarita said...

lol That's comforting. :P