Not having a green card means:
- Arriving at JFK in the middle of the night and immediately feeling like a criminal.
- Spending a chunk of your vacations queuing in the US Embassy to get your paperwork renewed.
- Crying in the US Embassy at least once a year. Because you’re jet-lagged and they’re fucking with you.
- Listening to an immigration lawyer who, while excellent, talks at quarter-speed so that you become intensely aware of being on the clock. Restraining yourself from yelling ‘Spit it out, goddamnit!’
- Eventually marrying your long-term fiancé at eight weeks notice in order to get a crummy student spouse visa.
- Furtively starting a company under the sketchy ‘Actively managing investments’ spouse visa provision.
- Having no choice but to work in technology (on the bright side: it saved me from literary publishing, where I might have progressed to refilling the editor’s stapler by now).
- Listening to white upper-middle class Americans who can’t understand that you don’t have a green card because—whisper it—you’re one of us.
- Dealing with well-meaning friends who suggest sabbaticals, career changes, major relationship shifts without understanding your indentured slavery.
- Suppressing your deeply-held belief that you are special and deserve special treatment.
- Having your social security card stamped with stern warnings about your alien status.
- Not being able to run for president.
- Having to explain that no, you can’t just have a baby and become a citizen.
- Being a stranger in both your homes.