For a long time after quintessential Karen at the United States Embassy in Moscow denied her request for a visa, I thought about getting my Russian fiancé (somehow) to Mexico. Then we would cross the mighty Rio Grande into Texas.
I did not care.
Only because I did not know.
I had no way of knowing just how ridiculous of an idea that was.
But then after she arrived in the U.S., we could get married and everything would be perfect.
No, I do not know how I would have gotten her to Mexico.
Did I really think that the Mexicans would have allowed an unaccompanied Russian national sashay through their international airport and travel north through their country and simply walk over their northern border without anyone saying a word?
I obviously gave the whole thing very little thought.
What I did know was that I had fallen in love with my Russian translator and had asked her to marry me later that same year.
The only major problem and this has been a major theme in my life, was ignorance.
It was not blissful ignorance, just painful ignorance.
I did not know about K-1 fiancée visas or any other visa except for a business visa.
How would I? At 28 years old, I had few life experiences that had prepared me for attempting to smuggle a beautiful Russian into the country.
So, I did the only thing I knew to do.
I remembered that when I, along with a group of other Americans, had traveled to Russia we did so with business visas.
Then the lights went off in my mind – business visa!
To get my fiancé here, we would simply apply for a business visa. I could feel the wheels of brilliance turning.
So, this 18-year-old stunningly beautiful Russian sashays into the American Embassy in Moscow around 4:00 a.m. (which in itself was a six-hour ordeal) and applies for a tourist/business visa.
The one big problem: A business visa means you are going to return to Russia when you are done with your business.
But I can assure you, that was not the plan.
And this was obvious to the mean American embassy workers.
I mistakenly reasoned that it did not matter how she got here, just that she got here. And the marriage ceremony would have fixed anything wrong with any possible illegalities of an invalid border crossing.
So only after long waits at the American embassy in Moscow with the aforementioned rude Americans (did I mention they were a special kind of rude?) turning down her request for a visa, did I learn about the “K” visas.
All I had to do was to apply and — voila — it was approved.
Now, it did take a few months, but the paperwork went through with no problems.
Who knew it could have been so easy?
A year and a half after I had met her, and after a great deal of anguish at trying to get her here the wrong way, we managed to get her here legally. And then got married.
I really do not know the right answer to the critical problem of millions of illegal (or undocumented) immigrants in the United States. And I do not want to sound flippant or dismissive of the pain that draconian immigration laws have continued to cause either.
I just know that we got the correct paperwork, eventually, and were patient. Of course, if my Russian fiancée had been here illegally and I had met her at that point, I would probably have a much different attitude about immigration solutions.