On Thursday I had an appointment with USCIS to get my biometrics taken. For those who don't know, Biometrics is when you get your photograph and finger prints taken during the immigration process. So I went there, makeup done, hijab done to my liking etc. The lady who was doing the photo was friendly and whatnot. So I did the finger prints and now comes the photo. I sat down in the little chair ready to face the camera. Then she tells me I have to show your hairline. I was taken aback because all throughout this immigration process every photo I have taken was with full hijab. USCIS hasn't rejected any of my photos thus far. This is actually my second time taking the biometric photos and the first time I had no problem with my hijab.
I had asked for a mirror. There was none available so I asked if I can use the washroom to adjust my scarf so no neck would show. I was the only one getting photos taken at that time, in fact I was the only applicant in that room so I figured it wouldn't be that big of a deal. But she said no. I stood up to loosen my Hijab (still a little unsure), and she said, "don't get up, you don't want anyone to see you". I was like o-k-a-y. It was strange because she was nice but bossy at the same time. She kept assuring me that I look fine and everything so I let her take the photo, in the back of my head thinking that maybe this is new rule, while at the same time thinking this cant be, because why would they violate someone's religious rights?
She had taken 2 photos, the first one she said I looked stiff and scared, *I at the time was still confused, so I guess it showed up in the photo*. She processed to take another one, and she said it turned out beautiful and "see no one will ever know". She then told me to go to the bathroom and fix my hijab. I was shocked! I glanced at the photo and saw my neck completely exposed. I had no idea that my neck was even showing. I asked if I can retake the picture, she told me no. I left there felling so bad and a little bit ashamed of what I did.
Fast forward to Friday, I called up USCIS customer service and asked them about the Hijab and hairline. They told me as for as they know the rules regarding the hijab or "religious covering" has not changed. My jaw dropped, I could of kept my hair completely covered.
I am suppose to have an appointment with an immigration official insha'Allah next week regarding what happened. I have no idea why she did that. I really don't understand. Did she willing do it to me knowing what her rules were, or did she just not know? I just want it taken care of and hopefully it doesn't happen to anyone else. Insha'Allah wish me luck in this appointment. I don't know if I want to go through the whole process of redoing the photo etc and I don't know if this meeting will delay my application. I really want this issue to be addressed though because they cant just go around abusing their own law and violating my rights. INsha'Allah things will work out.