Sunday, June 10, 2012
Wait, I Call Legal
The last piece of the puzzle to our arrival in Yucatan was to register our visas with the local Immigration Office. The Mexican Consulate of Chicago, had told us this is a time sensitive issue and should be completed promptly. Not ones to procrastinate, on day 3 of our arrival we went to the Immigration Office. At the reception desk, it is standard procedure that all paper work and identification be checked and organized before office entry. Our papers were in order but our passports were checked and re-checked? With raised eyebrows and very wide eyes, the receptionist looked up at us and said, "big problema". What is wrong? "Passports no stamp when you come Mexico". We can explain. " Wait, I call legal". Believe me, story or no story, you don't want to be told those words by Immigration! Legal provided us with an English speaking attorney; who held an impromptu deposition in the reception area. We explained the events of our Matamoras border crossing. How we attempted to stop to have our passports stamped and how the Federale would not allow us access to parking. For maximum effect, we used the same hand gestures as the Federale, who would not allow us to park, but shouted go, go, go. What would you have done? "Wait while I talk with my boss". This seems to be a repeating scenario for us within the walls of Immigration! For 2 hours, we fretted over our potential outcome. What will be our penalty? Will it be monetary? Will we be taken to jail ? Will we be deported? Do we need to call the American Consulate, a U.S. Senator or CNN? The lawyer returned, handed us a 3 page document and 2 pens. "Sign". What is this document? Could you please translate? "It is your story". "Sign the document, we stamp your passports and you are legal". That's it? "Yes". Nothing else is required? "No". There will be no problems in the future? "No". "You already have your visas". You tried to do to it right". "Matamoras was the problem, not you". Having obtained our visas in advance, showed good faith and saved us from stiff penalties for an illegal border crossing. Hail to the Girl Scout mantra of being prepared! Where do we sign and may we have a copy please.............