I will try to keep this as short as possible. I’m an immigrant to the USA. I came here in 1999, and became a citizen in 2008. English is my first and only language.
I remain in NC. I tried to find out how to become a citizen online and then attempted to contact the ONLY immigration office in NC, which is located approx. 3 hours from my home in NC. After trying for a few weeks, several times a day, I could not get through. I drove there, and noticed a line outside the door. A guard located at the door. He told me I’d have to come back very early in the morning. The doors open at 8am. I went back the next day, arriving at 6am and got into the already huge line. They closed and locked the doors at 10am and told the rest of us to try again. I went back a few days later arriving at 3am. I barely got in the door this time and they closed/locked it. 100 people allowed in the building at any given time. I waited several more hours, and was finally called up by my number. I asked questions for the proper forms and they told me to go home and look it up on the internet. So much for getting information, as I had already done this and there was nothing offered on their site. My several hours of waiting inside the building, I noticed guards with hands on their rifles, yelling at people to sit down and yelling at mothers to “shut up their kids”. I attempted to use the one little restroom and left again as there was a drain in the center of this room and it was surrounded by urine and feces.
So off I drive home again. I decided to try the immigration office in SC (closer to my home anyway). It was empty of people and the workers there were pleased to help me, gave me all the forms needed and a checklist of items to collect and copy. I still had to use the NC office though as that is where I live.
After completing everything, I made another trip to Charlotte arriving at 2am and standing in freezing temperatures again for hours, I got in and handed the package of completed form over. They told me that one of them needs to be signed by a border person and I would have to drive to a border to have it signed. A few days later I drive from NC to Detroit, cross the border, turn around and enter the USA and discuss with the border patrol. They now refuse to let me back in the country and wouldn’t even accept my TN visa of which was my legal status in this country to begin with. Now I have to fight this from “outside” the country. My job is in this country also at this time. So I drive to another border, enter with my TN Visa and go home to NC. I go back to Charlotte again and explain regarding the wasted trip they sent me on and they apologize saying someone gave me very bad information.
After 2 years of this I finally became a citizen in 2008, and things have now changed in Charlotte. I wrote letters to the editors of new papers, congressmen, senators and anyone that was willing to listen. I told them my whole story, and actually I thought I was one of the lucky ones as I could speak english. I simply couldn’t imagine doing this in another language.
So is the system broke? You bet!