“A week later, My husband was offered a position at a Fortune 100 Company…”

I have come across your website and would love to also share my and my husbands story with you. 2016 I was in Sweden just about to start my BA in digital media studies. There I found my husband, we both studied and graduated together. During the years in which we studied we always expressed our dream to live in San Francisco, and upon graduation we travelled to the big tech city on a one way ticket.  With us we carried nothing more than a small luggage and our hopes and dreams. We applied here and there to try and get an internship. We built ourselves a good base of network and managed to get tons of interviews that unfortunately didn’t go anywhere. 3 months had passed and we had to leave the States back home to Sweden, with the same hopes and dreams, but nothing concrete. A week later my husband was offered a position at a fortunate 100 company and I was offered a role at award winning design agency that works with Google. BIG ACCOMPLISHMENTS we thought. 

A year passed and we applied for the lottery, and 6 months later my husband turns out to be a selectee. As our J-1 was about to expire we packed the home we built the past year, and put it on a storage family. Being so excited about the lottery, we said goodbye to our home and friends, believing we would be seeing them quite soon.  2020 arrives, and we are called in for an DV interview set for April 4th, and so we set aside all documents and prepare ourselves for the 7 hour drive to Stockholm. However 2020 wasn’t going to be a year of planning and following thought those plans, it was a peculiar year, a year something we never expected would happen. A pandemic!  A week prior to our interview, we were told to wear masks, stay home and worst of the embassies were closing down. No interview for us. Up until then we still had hopes and didn’t understand the magnitude of what this virus would case. We are told there’s a presidential proclamation stopping the embassy from processing us and we didn’t quite know what that meant but believe it would soon be solved, as there was a day for that ban to come to an end.  It was summer, the Covid cases were dropping, everything seemed to be getting better and best yet, the ban was about to expire. To my surprise when the day came, formed president Donald Trump extended it to the end of the year and in that moment, I saw all my dreams and hopes slip through my fingers. All I had built on the past years be taken away from me. As I knew that the extension would mean that I wouldn’t be processed before the end of the fiscal year. I cried as I told my husband I explained to my husband how that ban took away our chance of residency in the country we loved the most.  Luckily for us, we followed Brit Simon Says and that day I happened to have his blog open on my computer and so a refreshed it and found out that there lawsuit fighting to get relief from this ban. We then became Mohammed plaintiffs under Curtis Morrison, and got an interview in September right before the end of the month. After 7 hours drive to the embassy and precisely after being interviewed we were told they couldn’t issue us a visa as we were inside Schengen and so 5 hours later we were on our way to Romania, with nothing but the clothes were wearing and our passports. After 2 days in Romania Judge Mehta ruled that there shouldn’t be a quarantine ban on processing visas, as visas aren’t the same as entry. And so we flew back to Sweden to receive our so longed for visas. Fast forward to November, we start to prepare ourselves for the move of our lives. We give our resignation letters and we start looking for jobs in San Francisco, and with so much work and effort, we signed our contracts right at the beginning of December. Well paid and highly skilled jobs within tech.

My husband as a senior product designer for another global Fortune 500 company and me as a product designer at global renowned digital agency  that works with IBM. Days later we sign our new lease of an apartment that is 10 min walk from both of our offices.  We contemplated in true happiness and pride, having hassled so much for the past years to come to this moment.  As we prepared for the expiration of the ban of Dec 31st, we travelled to Mexico in order to quarantine two weeks before our entry on January 1st. On our way there we catch Covid and have those two weeks truly be quarantine weeks until we get tested negative 13 days later. January 1st comes and it is 5 am in Cancun, we travel to the airport as our flight was at 7 am. We arrived in San Francisco at 11 am, and our family and friends were waiting for us on the other side of the border. We are taken into customs to get interviewed like we expected, but once we enter the room we are given then worst news “the ban has been extended” said the border security officer. My heart drops and a wave of desperation hits me as I don’t know what will happen to us. For 6 hours we see officers taking our passports, making copies of it, talking to each other, talk on the phone. That day, we seemed to be famous people as everyone working there crossed our case and were baffled with how to proceed. We overheard conversations that stated that we didn’t know it had been extended as it had not yet been publicly published by our arrival. I overhear the NIE word over and over again not knowing what it is, until one of the officers sees us being confused and explain they are trying to get us exempt from the ban. Those 6 hours passed and after many calls and conversations we hear the one thing I never thought I would ever here “I’m sorry, unfortunately we will be having to deny your entry, and have to send you back to where you came from”. I cry like a life had been taken away from me, it was a sad moment in the border security office, the officers shared the pin with us, some of them even had tears in their eyes seeing the situation unfold. I believe we all believed it was gonna be a different outcome. After that we wait another 7 hours to be sent back to Cancun.  We get to Cancun destroyed, haven’t had slept in more than 30 hours, we got a hotel thinking we would stay for another week or so. Weeks passed and nothing changed! Talks of Biden lifting the ban on his Inauguration Day was the glimpse of hope I held tight onto. Today is February 11th, and I still finding myself praying with all my strength someone come saves us. We lost the apartment we had put the deposit for in SF as we couldn’t afford paying our stay in Mexico and in San Francisco with no jobs. We lost our so loved and soon to be our home and also the $3500 deposit. Our jobs are trying to stay patient and understanding but everyday that goes by we don’t know how long more they are willing to wait for us. All while life has been put on hold, it is like we are in limbo, a VERY expensive limbo. 

Many Americans are so quick to be against immigrants and believe they steal their jobs, this is the whole reason this ban even exist, because of this baseless mentality. My husband and I worked so hard to get to where we are, we weren’t taken in because we were immigrants but because we wanted the most and tried the hardest. We, each, speak 4 fluent languages, we graduated with exemplary grades. We were invited back by our universities to inspire them and show them how far they can come when they work hard for their goals.  2 months have passed and we are still in Mexico, $10000 have been spent during this time, everyday I wake up hoping some good news will come and when I go to sleep I pray that a judge, the president takes us out of this hell and let’s me get the reward for all the fighting I’ve done. It’s only fair! I truly apologize for this very long text, and for the grammar errors but I didn’t want any detail to go unspoken. I know we are all struggling, some much more than me, but in my 26 years of life, I have never been through something so hard. Every week I am given a glimpse of light, a glimpse of hope, I take that to heart just to have my heart be snatched out of my chest when nothing happens. The government says they are reviewing the situation, but everyday that goes by their are taking away people’s dreams. Everyday someone is having their visa expire, and I’m soon to be that one, as our visa expires in less than 3 weeks. If this nightmare ever comes to a happy ending, no one will ever have the permission to tell me I’m an immigrant that stole someone else’s job, because I know that not 1% of those people would ever agree to do and go through what we are doing and going through to get this chance. This is the story of Juliene and Edvard, two ambitious and truly hard working people, who left everything on their pursuit of happiness.