Archive for the ‘migration’ Category

Mail-order brides

Saturday, July 4th, 2009

A little kerfuffle over at Science Blogs brought mail-order brides back to my attention. (Didn’t they have their fifteen minutes of fame in the eighties?)

I commented to Mark that I didn’t see what the fuss was about. He gamely pointed to the fuzzy grey borderline between mail-order brides and prostitution.

Alison: Well, there’s a fuzzy-to-nonexistent borderline between marriage and prostitution generally. The point of marriage is that it recognises sexual relationships as inherently potentially exploitatitve, and confers legal rights and responsibilities on the parties involved.

Mark: Ah, but that doesn’t apply in the US. If they divorce, the mail-order bride has no residency rights and is deported back to her country of origin. It’s not like Canada where a sponsored immigrant spouse has residency rights independent of the status of the relationship.

Oh. Right. I keep forgetting. (Which is odd, because one of my favourite stories about sponsoring Mark under Canada’s Family Reunification Program is how when he went to get his visa exchanged for a residency card, he was sat down and solemnly lectured that if I were to become abusive, he was not to hesitate to Move Out Immediately. Quebec would help him find a place to live and give him welfare if he needed it. He would NOT have to leave the country. Quebec would come after me for reimbursement as necessary. He was NOT to worry about that.)

But does that mean that we should be worried about the institution of mail-order brides, or that we should be protesting the lack of protection the US offers immigrant spouses – exacerbating a situation of potential exploitation where marriage is supposed to alleviate it?

Excitement!

Friday, March 6th, 2009

Mark got his Canadian citizenship February 6th. It was very sweet and simple and bureaucratic and communal all at once. 375 candidates from 72 countries and their friends crowded into a college auditorium. The candidates were assigned seats in the front, friends and family at the back, tables of bureaucrats in between. The entire swearing-in took about two hours, most of which was taken up with candidates finalising their paperwork.

The citizenship judge was Croatian-born and gave a moving speech about how difficult emigration and the process of building a new life in a new country is, and warmly wishing all the candidates well in their common but individually difficult endeavours.

Mark, in front with the candidates, and I, behind with the well-wishers, each wept a little, moved.

For his citizenship present, Mark and I are taking the train two-thirds of the way across the country, east to west. We’re leaving Tuesday March 10. It’s a four-day trip, and we’re getting off to stretch our legs for an extra two days in Jasper. Then we spend two weeks in the Vancouver area and fly back.

Normally transportation for this trip would be on the order of $4,000 to $5,000. But I have a bunch of travel points from travelling for work and Mark is an excellent shopper, so we’re doing it for less than $800.

They say it’s spring on Vancouver Island: the cherry trees are budding, crocuses and daffodils are blooming.

I can’t think of anything else.