Eddie entered the US through customs at 14, and he doesn’t remember much about it. He was more interested in seeing his mom who was being treated for cancer.
Then he met Tyler, and all of a sudden it was on him to prove exactly what he didn’t say on a random day in 2002.
Tyler: But what really is affected him at this point was, there was a law that Bill Clinton signed in 1996 that oftentimes gets referred to as the Bars, the Five-Year Bar, the Ten-Year Bar for unlawful presence. But there’s also a lifetime permanent bar for a false claim of US citizenship, which I’ve heard other immigration lawyers refer to as the Black Kiss of Death, because if you are found to have lied, or false claim of US citizenship, it bars you permanently, forever, from any type of immigrant visa to the US. There’s no waiver for it. There’s nothing you can do to get around it.
Matt (host): This is Status. The show about how immigration impacts people. The show’s got its gaps. I know that. This episode fills at least one of those gaps, but at risk of spoiling things, I’m not going to get into which one.
Matt (host): This episode came about because I got an email to the Status email address. Tyler was in the middle of packing his bags for a trip to finalize a step in his immigration process when he discovered the show. He said he had to stop packing and email me right away, so that he wouldn’t put it off. When I go this email, I made sure I scheduled our interview immediately, so I wouldn’t put it off.
Matt (host): Tyler lives in Milwaukee. He’s a SEVIS coordinator at the University of Wisconsin, and because he’ll do a better job than I can, I’ll let him tell you what that means.
Tyler: So, I work for the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee. I’ve been there for three years now. I primarily worked with domestic students through admissions, but in February, I switched over to international admissions, essentially. It’s been a long-term goal of mine for really, about eight years, since I graduated from undergrad, and so I now work as the SEVIS coordinator, which is the entire federal database that tracks all F1 students that are looking to come to the United States to study some type of academic program. So, that’s my current job right now, which has been really interesting to kind of get involved with that. Obviously, I’ve had my own kind of emigration story going on for the past few years now.
Matt (host): Just from our few hours of interaction, I can tell you that Tyler is an extremely sociable person. He seems like the kind of guy who makes great friends very easily; the kind of guy you want to be friends with. But what I can also tell you is that Tyler’s a bit of an immigration nerd, and as someone who’s been known to rant about I-485s while out with friends on the weekend, take it from me. I don’t see it as a bad thing that Tyler is super-passionate about both the process and the people.
Tyler: There is a litany of different things that need to be changed in SEVIS, and so when you have over 1500 people that are changing majors all the time, that are updating their phone numbers, updating email addresses, updating addresses, it truly is a full time job just to continuously update the federal government’s database. It’s our responsibility to ensure that students’ immigration records are accurate, and that was actually, I think, part of the reason why I ended up getting the job, is that I’d been working at UWM for two years already. I’d developed a strong reputation at the University. But I was also able to talk about my own immigration story with Eddie, and the stuff that we’ve gone through, and that I understand this isn’t just a clerical job. It isn’t just administrative, that this truly is affecting people’s lives and everything that goes along with it.
Tyler: I think I really fortunately, unfortunately got emotional during the interview, just talking about it. I think it also helps kind of indicate my understanding that it is critical that we maintain everybody’s SEVIS record accurately, because the consequences of not having it accurate 100 percent, 100 percent of the time … it really is life-changing for students, and potentially in very negative ways. It’s stressful and important work that we sometimes are responsible for doing, but I really enjoy it.
Matt (host): To help you understand Tyler’s passion, let’s meet Eddie. The first thing you should know is that Eddie grew up in a small town in Mexico.
Eddie: I was 14, and being gay in a little town where I’m from, it was not easy because I was in the closet. I was not out, and you cannot be out there because bullying to be in school. I was a little scared, and then I was attached to my mom a lot, and then my mom, she had cancer in Mexico. That’s why my family, my brother helped my mom to come to United States because in Mexico, they tell her that they couldn’t do nothing for her cancer because she was already level, I think level three or level four, something like that. So, my brother find a way to kind of help my mom to come to United States, to Milwaukee, and then they take care her here, and my mom’s still alive now. I think that was kind of the reasons that I might say, “Yes, I’m coming to see my mom.”
Eddie: So, my family pays, what are they called … I don’t know you’ve heard before, the Coyotes. So, my family pays these Coyotes, so they find a way how to bring people to United States. I didn’t know. I remember barely little. I was 14. Half of my life I’ve been here, so I kind of remember things like a dream, kind of, but I don’t remember exactly everything. It was very quick, everything. I remember they talked to me nice, kind of. Tell me, “Hey, you want to come see mom?” I remember my brother was telling me. I was 14, and I was like, “Yeah, yeah I want to go!” And then everything was like, I was supposed to come for a few days, just to come see my mom.
Eddie: I don’t remember that much from the airport. I remember they paid someone on the plane, it was one of the girls that work on the plane, to take care of me. I think when you’re underage, they can check you, they put you on the back of the plane, something like that. They overlook of you. So, they kind of filled up all the things they handled to me because I didn’t speak any English at all. I think maybe hello, or probably like, “My name is Eduardo,” but not that much. I kind of remember a dream that I was really little, and I look up, and they tell me to handle all the documents to the officer, so I don’t know it was a officer, or just like a checkpoint or something. So, that’s where I hand all the documents in, and my family was waiting for me outside. They just walked me out.
Matt (host): This wasn’t just a trip to see his mother. Eddie would end up learning English, finding work, and staying in the US even longer than his mother did. But that moment at customs, the one he says felt like a dream? That moment would turn out to be pivotal for him. Tyler: Well, quick summary. So, I went to college at UW Eau Clair for four years. After graduating there, I went out to University of Arizona, where I did my masters program. In Arizona, I ended up meeting somebody, and I dated him throughout entire masters program. After we graduated from masters program, we ended up moving to Washington, D.C. together, where we both ended up working for the same employer.
Tyler: In college, I majored in Spanish and International Business. Like the 18, 19, 20-year-old that I was, I studied abroad twice. The first time, I went to Costa Rica and Nicaragua; the second time, I went to Mexico. So, I’ve always had this interest and passion for Latin America and the people that live there, and the culture. But with this, I think I ended up going from northern Wisconsin for college, I moved to southern Arizona because I was switching career paths from the Spanish business path to education. I was like, “Okay, I’ve spent eight years trying to become fluent in Spanish. I’m not going to lose this.” I picked, it was either Arizona or the California area, but I was like, “I want to go somewhere where I have the chance of maybe using Spanish.”
Tyler: I got to grad school. I met somebody, and we started dating instantly in grad school. Things were good. It was a good relationship. I really loved him. He really loved me. He treated me like a prince, and things were great. But grad school was hell, and very stressful, and I don’t know if I would go back and repeat it, for a variety of different reasons. But we spent two years together, and then from that point, we ended up moving to D.C. together. In my mind, I’d always had this rule that I was like, “I don’t think you can get to know somebody truly in a very short amount of time.”
Tyler: I think I just arbitrarily made this rule of four years. If I go back really early to my childhood, I had two cousins that they waited four years, and at age of six or eight, somewhere in there, four years seems like infinity. All of my family was shocked that it took that long for them to get married anyway. So that was arbitrarily the number that I chose, that, “Oh yeah, I’m also going to wait four years.” It just seemed like a rule that worked, because nobody up to that point, as much as I thought that I loved them, and I did, and they loved me, obviously it didn’t work out for XYZ reasons.
Tyler: For me to come back home, it was kind of a kick to the head. I had left a great city that I was loving in Washington, D.C. I’m now living in my parents’ basement, unemployed, temporarily working at a furniture store, where my dad is a manager, not making very much money. It was kind of a difficult time, in general, and it just didn’t seem right that I just exited a three year relationship. I need to be single. I need to take time for myself and figure out what it is that I want from life, what I want for myself, what I want from a partner. I was just in this very much, I need to hit the reset button in my life, and it was at that point that I’d only been back here in Milwaukee for one or two weeks, when I ended up meeting Eddie.
Tyler: At that point, if you ask him, I didn’t really blow him off, but I knew that he would have been trouble for me, and so I kind of just told him, said, “All right. You’re a really nice guy, I really like you, great things. But we’re just going to be friends because I’m only here for a week or two. I’m in the middle of a job search.” I’d applied to jobs across the country. I’d applied to a job in Slovakia. Why? I don’t know. But I was looking to go anywhere except for Milwaukee and Wisconsin.
Tyler: When I met Eddie, one week into that reset, or two weeks into it, it was just kind of a, “Okay, think logically, and not with any other part of your body, that you really need to focus on getting the job that is your dream job; going where you want to go. You can’t keep just bouncing around and not going through life with this clear path.” But along with that, if I’m being fully honest, I was like, “Okay, I’m going to move to Arizona. I’m going to meet some great, cute guy, tall, who’s from Mexico, owns his own business. We can go make trips to Mexico all the time, and have this wonderful life together.” And I got there, and that’s not at all what happened. Quite the opposite.
Tyler: So then, three years later, to then come back to the city that I was trying to get so far away from, and I met literally the checklist of what I was looking for in a partner, was in kind of my hometown area the whole time? That’s what was trouble for me, was that you’re exactly what I’m looking for, but I don’t want to be here right now.
Eddie: Actually, ended up pretty well. I was dating a lot of guys and I don’t know, but always it was issue. It was something that I didn’t like about it, and even my girlfriends, they were like, “Oh my god, look at this guy. He’s so handsome.” I was like, “Yeah,” but always it was something. And then when I met Tyler, it was some connection. It was different than the other guys that I was dating. When he told me that he was only here for a few weeks, I was … I need to show him that I really like him, actually.
Eddie: And then he called me, in two weeks. The second week, he called me and saying that he the one that I take serious, that he was planning to move, that he didn’t want anything serious with me. What do you want me to say? I just said, “Oh, okay. Yeah, we can be friends.” Actually, he didn’t have really friends here in Milwaukee, and I was like, “Yeah, we can keep being friends.” We have a concert to go, actually, that was during the week, and so I invite him to go with my friends, but I actually invite him as a friend.
Eddie: We went to the concert, and then he get a little jealous that I was talking with another guy that he was there at the concert, but I didn’t notice. I thought he was having fun and talking with another guy, you know? With my girlfriends, and I was talking with another guy, and the other guy was kind of into me, kind of. One of my best girlfriends tell me, “Hey, Tyler is a little upset.” I was like, “Why?” He’s like, “He’s a little jealous that you talking with another guy.” I was like, “Yeah, but he doesn’t want tell me that he don’t anything with me, so why he’s upset?”
Tyler: He was a phenomenal communicator. Again, that night that he talks about where I got kind of jealous and upset? I did, and I was mad at myself that I was getting jealous because he’s absolutely right. I told him, I was like, “I don’t want anything serious. Nothing’s happening here.” But at the same time, it was also the first night that, again, I live 45 minutes away, so he’s like, “Oh yeah, you can stay at my place for the night.” So all my stuff is at his place, and now here he is flirting with some other guy. I’m like, “All right, I don’t know what you’re planning on doing, but I gotta get my shit from your house.” So I was irritated about that.
Tyler: I did like him. I didn’t want to, but I did. That was kind of a difficult moment, but from that, after his friend told him that I was upset, he came up to me, and he talked to me directly about it, about his feelings, and called me out for … I’m like, “Yeah, you’re completely right. I said I don’t want anything.” But we were able to literally move past that. Just the best communicator I’d ever been in a relationship with. And that, in itself, is what really convinced me I should maybe just date this guy.
Matt (host): Eddie and Tyler started to spend a lot of time together, and they began to discover the things that they loved about each other. Eddie: For me, he’s bilingual. He speaks Spanish, and English. He liked to do things that I like to do. We both like to travel. Me and him, we can have a great time together, even if we go out. It is different than other guys that I date in the past. We have really good connection, I feel like. I can do some things that he can’t do, and he can do some things that I can’t do, like writing. Sometimes he help me to do writings, and he don’t like cleaning, kind of, and I love cleaning. We have a really good combination, I think.
Tyler: We were spending at least half of our week with each other. We found that we really enjoyed doing a lot of the same things, but even to a point where we didn’t know we liked doing them. One big example that comes to my mind is Eddie didn’t listen to any Spanish music at all before he met me because he tried listening to all English music, that he was trying to learn the language. Same thing with me, after trying to become fluent in Spanish, that’s all I listened to is Spanish music. It was just this really cool thing that I was able to share that with him. How do you not know about Maluma? How do you not know about … obviously, everybody knows about Daddy Yankee. Different artists like this. But I was like, “This is all I listen to.” And then from that, he ended up finding that he loved that music as well.
Matt (host): There was a particular moment that helped Tyler understand how he felt about Eddie. It was when Eddie shared with him that he was undocumented.
Tyler: Eddie not only demonstrated that he could communicate well, but he went out and proved it. I think him also sharing his immigration status with me … I knew how significant that was, that it literally is like, as a gay man, coming out of the closet. Him telling me that even some of his closest friends didn’t know that, and here he is, telling me after … There was just so many different things that clearly, we had this very clear and strong connection. After six or seven months, that’s when you officially asked me to be your boyfriend, and I did not give a good reaction.
Eddie: Yeah. Again. He just stayed quiet.
Tyler: I panicked. Again, it wasn’t that I didn’t want it, but I had just gotten out of a three year relationship, and I was living back home in my parents’ basement. It was just kind of, a lot of things were coming at me very quickly, and I wasn’t sure how to take it.
Matt (host): Clearly, Tyler said yes. He still didn’t want to stay in Milwaukee long-term, but what that meant was starting to change.
Tyler: He was just the total package. That’s why it kind of kept snowballing from, “No, we’re just going to be friends,” to, “Okay, well, we can date for a little bit, but I’m still leaving,” to, “All right, we’re dating. I don’t want to lose you, so maybe I’ll look for jobs around this area.” And that’s when, finally, I ended up getting two job offers. One at University of Iowa, working with a good friend of mine, and kind of the dream job of what I was looking for at that point. Or, a job in Milwaukee, which I was also very excited about, but I knew, my family knew, that Milwaukee was not the place I wanted to be because I grew up here.
Tyler: But at that point, I was like … Eddie had his own business at that point. There was no way he was going to be able to pick up and move to Iowa. So, I said, “If I’m going to give up my dream job to stay in Milwaukee, to be with you, then we better fricking get married, because this is going to last forever.” I can get other jobs. I’ve never met anybody in my life like Eddie, and if I’m going to give up this job, clearly that means that Eddie is something special, and whether or not it’s perfect, it doesn’t matter. We have the communication skills together to be able to work through whatever issues we have. He came out and told me about his DACA situation after three months or so. I think that really helped pull us together. We have this open and honest relationship that I really appreciated, too.
Tyler: We got married May 23, 2015.
Matt (host): That is about a month before it was legal across the entire US.
Tyler: Yes. It was one month and three days, because it was June 26, 2015, I think, is when the Supreme Court decision came through. Yeah. And I knew that that decision was pending with the Supreme Court, which was more reason why I was like, “We need to get married now because if that decision comes back negatively, it’s better to be married now, and to have initially been married for some period of time because maybe that will somehow factor into immigration positively, versus never having been married at all.” So I was like, “We need to do this now.”
Matt (host): Eddie and Tyler married just south of where they live, in Illinois, not in Wisconsin. Not because of gay marriage, though. Instead, it was because Wisconsin wanted Eddie to provide a valid social security number to issue a marriage license. But they could easily get a marriage license in Illinois that was just as valid.
Matt (host): Now, if you’ve listened to Status before, you’ll know that getting married doesn’t magically solve all your immigration woes. It simply gives anyone who has married a US citizen the opportunity to apply for permanent residency. Considering Eddie was undocumented, though, his case was slightly more complicated.
Matt (host): So, after they were married, the first thing that Tyler and Eddie did was hire a lawyer. They were really happy with her, but Eddie’s case was not straightforward. He needed to leave and reenter the country via advanced parole, which he was eligible for through DACA. From there, he could apply for an adjustment of status to permanent resident. Matt (host): That’s the thing that would get him a green card due to his marriage to Tyler. But still, there was that bit about his interaction with customs in 2002.
Tyler: Eddie came to the United States by himself at the age of 14 or 15, and instead of hopping over a fence, digging a tunnel, running across the river, those stereotypical things, he flew into the country. He was 14, 15, flew into O’Hare, didn’t speak any English, was by himself. His family had paid extra money for him to be an unaccompanied minor. The stewardess or flight attendant, she actually filled out all of his immigration documents for him. When he got to whoever the immigration officer was, he kind of just handed it over, and this is in the year 2002. Right after 9/11. So at this point, there is little to no record of him entering the country.
Tyler: Really, what Eddie’s case kind of came down to is that at the age of 14 or 15, he flew into the country, he talked to a federal immigration CVP, and so the question was, “What did you tell them? Did you claim to be a US citizen? Did you enter in on some sort of fake student document?” Because a that point, the SEVIS system was not in place. “Did you have a tourist visa? What did you do?” So, it really was on Eddie to prove, at this point, in 2016, July of 2016 at our interview, that he did not claim to be US citizen in the year 2002.
Matt (host): Given all of this, Tyler and Eddie wanted to get the opinion of someone with a lot of experience, and their lawyer referred them to her mentor, someone Tyler claims people refer to as the best immigration lawyer in Wisconsin. This lawyer thought the potential false claim of citizenship was more of a big deal than the lawyer they’d hired was making it out to be. But he still thought that they should go through with their application.
Tyler: The lawyer that was “claimed to be the best in Wisconsin,” when we paid the $200 to have a consultation with him, he also is like, “Yeah, it’s a gray area, but I would recommend that you guys proceed with this. But if you get either of the two female adjudicators, if I were your lawyer, I would tell you to cancel your application and do not go through with the interview. Don’t let them make a decision, because …” I still have, to this day, the names of those two … apparently, there’s only two female adjudicators at that time in that office, and he just said that, not that they’re mean, but they’re much more thorough, and they may try to look for a reason to deny you.
Tyler: Early 2016 that our immigration lawyer helped us submit the I-485 application to adjust status, so to move from being paroled to a permanent resident. That, essentially, was … everything went well with that, to the point where they then sent us a interview request for mid-July, which is right around Eddie’s birthday, so I think it was days before your birthday. We both, me, Eddie, and the lawyer, we all had to go down to the USCIS building in Milwaukee and have this interview. Again, all of a sudden, I was sitting in the room, I saw a female adjudicator came out, and my heart sank, and I kind of wanted to yell to Eddie and the lawyer, “Stop! Don’t! Pull out the application!” But the lawyer that we had actually hired, she said, “No, it’s fine. I’ve had both of those two ladies. I’ve never had an issue.”
Tyler: We’re in this interview, that’s July 2016, and that’s when we were told that we should hear back a decision by August, September. There should be a decision within 60 days, basically.
Matt (host): Honestly, these things usually only take a few weeks.
Tyler: So, we should have heard back within 60 days. We didn’t, so that’s when the process of our lawyer submitting these requests of, “Hey, what’s the status? What’s the update?” And that went all the way through December 2016, after the election. So, we finally were then eligible to go there physically, in person. After we went there physically, in person, days before New Year’s Eve, it was six or seven days later on January 4th or 6th 2017, and Eddie and I are literally on vacation in San Francisco visiting my grandparents, having a fun time in Reno and Truckee, Lake Tahoe, and then San Francisco. Literally, one day I wake up and I check my email, and I see that USCIS has denied our application, Eddie’s application, on the grounds of the false claim of US citizenship.
Tyler: Our trip had already been going pretty poorly because of weather and delays and things like that, but that was truly the cherry on top because I realized that that meant he had this lifetime bar on him, and that there was nothing that he, I, lawyers, senate, anybody could do to change this. That this was the one thing that all the lawyers we had talked with were like, “This is the Black Kiss of Death.” I kind of had to sit on it because I knew that if I told Eddie in the middle of our vacation to San Francisco, one of my favorite cities in the world, so excited for him to go to, that this would also destroy his vacation as well. So, I sat on that news for two days, and was just a complete bitch to him because I was so upset.
Tyler: It was a horrible vacation, but when we got back home, I also … I made sure that I watched the mailbox because I didn’t want him to get the letter before I had the opportunity to tell him. So then I had to tell him, essentially the day after we got back. It was absolutely devastating for both of us. He understood why I didn’t tell him in San Francisco, and I think he appreciated that because it did destroy us. We were told that Eddie’s case was a gray area. That yes, he may not be able to prove that he didn’t claim US citizenship, but he was also 14 at the time. He was a minor. He doesn’t have the capacity to know and make that claim.
Tyler: I found, literally the manual that is given to adjudicators and USCIS. I’ve done all this investigation online, and lack of capacity is one of them. So, again, that’s where that gray area kind of fell in, is that most reasonable adjudicators would not have found him ineligible because of that.
Matt (host): After the denial, they did a few things. They started Eddie’s DACA renewal paperwork. This was their lawyer’s first denial, and she offered to do the DACA paperwork for free. They also talked to a lawyer in Chicago, just to get some advice on what to do next.
Tyler: He has no paperwork from that time. He was 14, 15. He really didn’t know what he was doing. That was the situation. But, our lawyer, somewhere in the paperwork, she did put in there that he used a social security card and a birth certificate, which we have no proof of, we have no record of. We have no idea what he used. The lawyer in Chicago even said, “Even if he did use that, you wouldn’t put that in the …” You wouldn’t volunteer that information if it wasn’t requested, because this is a separate letter that she wrote.
Tyler: Again, in Eddie’s interview, which we have transcripts of, he never even talks about using a birth certificate or a social security card, but there is one piece of paper that our lawyer added as kind of an addendum, that she says that a social security card and birth certificate were used. So, that’s kind of the question of did that affect it? Did it did not? We don’t know.
Tyler: I’ve had depression in my life. I’ve gone through some very serious dark times, but that three weeks was also right on par with severe, deep depression. I think from that, being in that stage and having been there before, I have to make my own solution. That’s when, after that three week period of, “Okay, well US isn’t an option. Where else are we going to go?”
Tyler: We looked into Mexico first, that Mexico was the natural, clear option. Eddie is a citizen there. I fricking love Mexico. I would love to live there. But then there were just all the issues of can we afford it, with still having to pay back US federal loans, and Tyler’s medical issues? Are they even going to recognize gay marriage for immigration reasons for me? Just over and over. Mexico wasn’t going to work. Eddie doesn’t want to go back there. He was not excited about going to Mexico as much as I was.
Tyler: So then it’s like, “Okay, well, where else can we go?” So I started looking into New Zealand, and looking at their process, and they also have kind of a points based system, from what I remember. Then I have friends who work for the State Department Argentina, I’ve had other friends that have lived there. Really, at this kind of stage, it is, “What are our options?” All I’ve known is Mexico, Central America … All places I’ve loved, but do I really want to spend the rest of my life in those countries? That was a big question mark, too. I lived there before, but I don’t know if I want to live there permanently.
Tyler: That’s when one day, it suddenly hit me. Well, what about Canada? I don’t know anything about it. I started looking into it, the immigration system, and the Canadian government, I really got to hand it to them. Everything that you need to know about Canada is all one governmental website. It’s all designed the same, it’s all organized. When you first go there, it looks kind of basic, but after you go there daily for several months, it’s super intuitive to navigate, compared to anything US, that every different agency has its own webpage. Anyway.
Matt (host): But before Tyler tries to move us forward, I want you to know that while working on this episode, he sent me a bunch of his research and records. And let me tell you, Tyler has built his own Immigrating to Canada website. It’s got links to places like the official website of the Government of Canada that he mentioned earlier; the processing times of various forms; and information on sponsoring a spouse in Canada. But it’s also got a section on LGBT life in Toronto; another section on travel and tourism in Canada; and even a link to an article about the cheapest Canadian cell phone plans.
Matt (host): This website is a very Tyler way of doing things. It’s a look into his and Eddie’s very specific circumstances, and their immigration to Canada. It’s tailored to a program that Eddie discovered on the government website that day.
Tyler: Just kind of looking there, there was a program called Express Entry. I thought that sounded interesting, and it’s basically for federal skilled workers. It’s a point-based system, so based off your age; based off your education, your work experience, how much time you’ve spent in Canada; your knowledge of English and or French. It’s basically based off of points. The more points you get, that’s when they would essentially send you an invitation to apply for permanent residency.
Matt (host): After Tyler was invited to apply for permanent residency in Canada, he had to go through a whole process of validating all of the various things he’d claimed in his application. This involved spending a good chunk of money; submitting proof of his English test scores; he and Eddie doing medical exams; and a bunch of other things. Once that was done, he could submit his final application.
Tyler: And then kind of submit that process. From the point that that was submitted, it only took about … I think it was about 45 days for us to hear back that we had been approved. Canada’s process was, while difficult, while stressful, it was leaps and bounds easier than the United States process. And while again, I understand we’re coming from an undocumented point in the US to trying to be documented in Canada, everything was submitted electronically, online, through a web portal. I never mailed anything until the final step of mailing passport photos. That was the only thing we ever had to mail to Canada. Everything else was done electronically. Not the case in the US. Everything is done via USPS mail, snail mail. It was just an interesting process, but I would say enjoyable, compared to the US.
Matt (host): It’s not a word that I hear a lot about.
Tyler: Yeah. Exactly.
Matt (host): When I spoke to Tyler and Eddie, Tyler had just returned from a trip to Canada to finalize the process. He is now officially a permanent resident of Canada.
Tyler: I remember being in Nicaragua thinking, “At some point in my future, I’m going to emigrate to another country.” I didn’t think it would be forever, but I had this kind of goal that I want to live in another country for five to ten years. So, I kind of always had that goal since 2007. While I didn’t initially look this that way, of, “Oh, hey, I’m finally accomplishing that goal of becoming an immigrant,” after I got the approval and after it kind of hit me that oh my god, I’m going to be a permanent resident of Canada, of another country … It’s something I’m actually extremely proud of, and extremely excited for.
Tyler: And to also be able to share that with Eddie, for me to now look at him and say, “We are going to be permanent residents in another country.” It’s no longer one of us is a citizen, the other one is being … we are both going through this process together in the exact same boat. In three years, we’re going to be applying for citizenship in Canada. I’m already talking to him about this, that, “All right, we gotta study for this test. We gotta go through all the steps for that.” It’s something I’m actually really excited about. I’m very frustrated and upset about why we got to this point, but it feels like exactly what we should be doing. I’m proud to become a Canadian now. I listen to Canadian radio on SiriusXM.
Eddie: TV shows.
Tyler: TV shows. We’ve semi-illegally acquired streaming programs from Canada. I pay $2 a month to somebody, but somehow we get Canadian channels. I think we’ve very slowly tried to incorporate ourselves into Canadian culture, and both try to learn what it’s like to be Canadian. As soon as something comes on TV that’s talking about Toronto, I’m yelling at Eddie from the other room, “Get in here! They’re talking about Toronto!”
Tyler: Yeah. We say eh a lot.
Matt (host): Eddie, you talked about how Milwaukee has become home. Does this move to Canada feel like having to give up on your second home? Or do you have more of a positive spin on it than that?
Eddie: Yeah. Actually, it is a really, really, really big decision. I feel like yes, I’m leaving home…(to Tyler) Can you talk?
Tyler: He’s a little emotional right now. Just give him a minute.
Eddie: Yes. I get very attached to US, and I respect the country, and the law and everything. Even when I came to the country, I was a little child, but I feel like here’s my life. I learn everything about the culture, and everything. I don’t know that much about Mexico. Tyler, maybe he being in Mexico to [inaudible 00:41:51]. I don’t know anything about Mexico, but I know more about US, and here where I feel like friends are your family, and the people that I work with. Of course, I’m going to miss all of them. But I have to see my future. Me and Tyler, if we stay here, in the future it can be difficult, and we couldn’t get hurt really bad. If we make the change now, and move to Canada, I feel like we can have a future there, and stay together for the rest of our life.
Matt (host): Let’s go to a question that is maybe a little more clerical than emotional. How about that?
Tyler: Clerical is my job. Kind of as you were talking about earlier, Eddie kind of brought this up, but we do complement each other well, where I handle everything clerical.
Tyler: I had to open bank accounts, and even just today … i do all that stuff. But when it comes to … Even packing. Right now, we’re in the middle of packing, and I’m a complete pile of shit that I can’t even pack my own boxes. I’m useless when it comes to it. As much as I try, I panic and I don’t know what to do. Eddie helps calm me down, and is able to kind of get me through those moments, too. Again, more reason why we’ve just really … Even if we didn’t like each other, we’re able to really get each other through hard moments because my hard moments are his strength, and his hard moments are my strength. It works out in that way.
Matt (host): It’s not all about leaving home, though. Eddie and Tyler are excited to make a new home in Toronto.
Matt (host): What do you all think your new life is going to be like?
Eddie: I think it’s going to be good.
Matt (host): Eddie owned his own business in hospitality for a while, and right now, he does the same kind of thing for a big hotel chain at one of their nicest properties in Milwaukee. Tyler tells me very proudly that Eddie’s hotel ranked 10 out of 450 during a surprise inspection, and that he was directly responsible for that. He’s kind of a big deal at work right now, so he shouldn’t have any trouble staying with his company in Toronto.
Matt (host): And Tyler? Well, he might just get to stay on at UW Milwaukee. It’s not actually that far away from Toronto. He probably can’t remain a SEVIS coordinator for a few reasons, but he’s hopeful that they can work something out.
Matt (host): Before we wrap up, lets’ remember why Eddie came to the United States in the first place. His mom came to Milwaukee to be treated for cancer. She’s been back in Mexico for a while now, but …
Tyler: His mom is still sick. She is much better, but she has had cancer. She’s still dealing with it, and that’s one thing that’s always really hurt me, is that if something happens to his mom next week, tomorrow, that he can’t leave because he wants to go see her, be with her. That’s just always really hurt me, to know that he doesn’t have that freedom to go see his mom, who he may not have a chance to go see her again. Which is why, again, when we received that denial, I was like, “Okay, well, if there’s no options in the US, then we’re looking elsewhere.”
Tyler: So, more reason why we’re more excited to go to Canada is that as soon as we get there … Right now, we can go anywhere in the US and have fun in the US, but we can’t leave. Once we get to Canada, we can go anywhere in the world, including Mexico, and go do all these fun things, but we can’t come back to the US. It’s happy in one sense, that he can go visit his mom, go visit his family. If something does happen suddenly, he can leave work and go see her, and be with his family if he needs to be, and then come back home to Canada, if that’s what needs to happen.
Matt (host): Tyler texted a couple of days ago. The big move is July 16th. Eddie is already making plans to visit his mom a week later.
Matt (host): Status is produced by me, Matt Horton. Music was provided by Breakmaster Cylinder and Ben Mitchell. The Status theme song, which makes its return this week, is Bread and Circuses are Back, by Ben Mitchell.
Matt (host): I want to thank Tyler and Eddie so much for sharing their story. They’re both just wonderful people. I think the day after the interview, I said, “I interviewed the most amazing couple last night,” to every person who would listen to me. I haven’t been able to stop telling their story to my friends. I just keep spoiling the podcast over and over. Thank you both so much, I really hope that you love your new home.
Matt (host): Status is a member of the Podglomerate. You can hear all of the great Podglomerate shows at thepodglomerate.com.
Matt (host): Status will return in two weeks with a final episode. I’d love if you’d be here to see us out. Talk to you next time.
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