Monday, April 25, 2011

USCIS update!!!

A few posts back I went on a rant about how an employee with USCIS (US Customs and Immigration Service) didn't allow me to wear full hijab when I was taking my biometric photo. She told me that I needed to show my hairline. I called USCIS customer service the very next day and I was told that there is no such rule regarding a person wearing head covering for religious purposes. They also told me to go to the Dallas service center to get more information regarding this matter. I made an appointment to speak with am immigration official.

On Friday I had my appointment. The man at the reception/check-in was very rude to me when I was telling him why I was there, and he kept telling me no I'm wrong etc. This is not the department to deal with those issues and I would have to go to the place that took my biometrics and tell them there. I tried explaining to him that it was actually the customer service person who told me to go there in the first place, but he kind of didn't want to hear. So since I needed to get my passport stamped anyways I decided I'll get that take care of first and tell whoever I was to be assigned with what my real problem was.
Fast forward 1 hour and 20 mins of waiting for my number to be called, I get my passport taken care of. I asked the lady, what are your official rules regarding people who wear hijab or head covers for religious reason why getting photos and biometric photos done. I explained to the lady what happen 2 weeks prior. So she obliged and get me the info I needed. I came to find out what I already knew, YOU DO NOT NEED TO SHOW YOUR HAIR IF YOU ARE TAKING ANY PHOTO, be it passport, Citizenship Application, Permanent Residency, Biometrics, whatever, Any USCIS application that requires a photo, you can keep your hair completely covered. From my understanding of what was read to me, your face needs for be visible, and the eyebrows must show. My face was showing, my eyebrows were showing, so I don not know why that lady made me show my hair 1, and 2, make me ruin my perfect hijab style, that I literally spent the whole night perfecting just for the photo.

After the lady read me the rules, I told her point blank, my rights were violated and someone took advantage of their position of authority and abused immigration law. So she said she personally apologized on behalf of that other lady and said since I brought this up, she's going to send a memo stating the rules of hijab/head covering to all the other service centers and application support centers. So insha'Allah other sisters like me wouldn't have to deal what I went through.

I left feeling happy with what I did, and how it could affect many others but at the same time I was a little unsatisfied, because I know it will happen again. I just feel like somthing more needs to be done. But I don't know if I should take it to the next level, legally speaking. I don't want money out of this. What I want is for their own laws to be followed by their employees. To be continued, insha'Allah.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Say Something <3