It appears I've made a few new friends in ConGen who I never thought I'd find myself spending so much time with. Sure, I knew I'd meet them, and I'd certainly get to know them during these intensive six weeks of training on US immigration law, but I thought I'd just have to put up with them, if you know what I mean. Like coworkers who make you suddenly stop and take a drink from the water fountain to avoid having to make small talk with them when you see them coming down the hallway. You know - the bores who just don't get it when people aren't that interested in their long-winded stories. Not bad folks, just not the types you'd invite to spend a holiday with (or even a nice dinner, for that matter).
I'm sure you know that I'm speaking of the FAM, the Foreign Affairs Manual, right? Specifically, the 9 FAM and the 7 FAM, my two new best friends. Yeah - it surprised me, too, but really, they're so useful! And interesting! We have a lot more in common than I thought, actually. I mean I wouldn't go so far as to say they have great senses of humor or anything, but they do have a certain way of describing things that just makes sense. Oh, and with all those cross-references and citations of the INA (Immigration and Nationality Act) - who knew they could be so deep, too?
After four weeks of ConGen, with three exams successfully passed due to being able to access my new bud, FAM, I think we've gotten pretty close. FAM has told me some really cool things, actually. Like just the other day we were chatting about foreign airline employees and FAM was all, "Well did you know that certain executives or specialized technical workers who cannot be classified as E visas can come in as B1?"
Well naturally that piqued my curiosity, so then FAM goes, "Yeah, not only that, but a medical doctor otherwise classifiable H-1 as a member of a profession whose purpose for coming to the United States is to observe U.S. medical practices and consult with colleagues on latest techniques, provided no remuneration is received from a U.S. source and no patient care is involved...can also be classified as B1!" (9 FAM 41.31 N11.8 emphasis added). Who knew, right?
But FAM's not just brains - FAM also knows arts, sports and popular culture, too. Last weekend we started talking about the weather, and what games were going to be broadcast on Sunday and all, and FAM goes, "Speaking of which, did you know that professional athletes, such as golfers and auto racers, who receive no salary or payment other than prize money for his or her participation in a tournament or sporting event can also use a B1 visa?" (9 FAM 41.31 N9.4). Well no, I did not know that! We laughed and then started talking about our favorite Os and Ps (Aliens of Extraordinary Ability - you know, celebrities!).
Sure, I tease FAM for showing such geeky roots sometimes. Like when FAM talks about family, well, it can get a bit dry. I keep telling FAM to keep the descriptions lively, but I'm scolded for being frivolous and that a good solid definition of family is what we really need instead. I guess FAM's right, as truly who could argue with: "For purposes of this subsection, the term “immediate relatives” means the children, spouses, and parents of a citizen of the United States, except that, in the case of parents, such citizens shall be at least 21 years of age." (9 FAM 42.12)
These days I find myself talking about things that I never thought I'd say, and all because of FAM and best-pal INA. I'm tossing out verbs like, to "g" or to "214 b," and chewing the fat on chargeability, ineligibility, or waiveability. FAM does have a dark side - I won't lie - and when the conversation gets gritty, FAM's right in there with full descriptions of CIMTs (Crimes Involving Moral Turpitude) like arson, receiving stolen goods (with guilty knowledge) and gross indecency (9 FAM 40.21), just to start.
So yeah, I guess you could call me a bit of a nerd. But it's the crowd I've been hanging with, peer pressure - you know? I know that FAM comes from good stock and I'm sure by following FAM's advice, I can't go wrong.