Because People Are Asking…

Firstly, it is highly unlikely that putting me on program, or even another Hugo nomination, would be sufficient to get me a visa to the USA for Reno. The State Department has already made it very clear that they see no value in the (non-profit) work I do for the SF community, and this would be more of the same.

Secondly, applying for the visa, with the attendant need to clear my name, would cost at least $7,000, possibly a lot more. Immigration lawyers do not work for free.

Finally, I have pretty much only one shot at this. If I apply again and get turned down again them I can probably kiss goodbye to any chance of getting back to the US. Therefore, even if you can find a lawyer who will work for free, or somehow raise the money, I would be unwilling to roll the dice at this point.

And you know, if people have that much money to throw around, I can think of much better causes than my travel budget.

The right thing to do — for me, for Reno and for other conventions — is to make better use of the Internet in doing online programming.

10 thoughts on “Because People Are Asking…

  1. We will have to make a life size standee of you. Take you along to all the US conventions. We can make you a life size paper doll with a change of costumes and outfits! You could attend the dances, or even BASFA!


  2. I’d be up for helping commit that… 🙂

    (When you *do* decide to roll the dice, count me in for the legal fund, too. I am Not Amused with my country on this one.)

  3. I volunteer to help with the paper doll project.

    Also, I volunteer to help with getting more programming online. Even if that means putting my desktop computer on a cart and lugging it around the con with me (since my laptop broke).

    Are you aware of the “Flat Freddy” thing? Freddy (names vary) is a cut out doll that travels around the world and gets his picture taken. Usually a class makes a “Freddy” and every child has a chance to send it to relatives/friends and those people write back to the class with a photo of Freddy in a new place. A geography lesson.

    “Flat Cheryl”? There may, of course, be a better name.

  4. I understand that your immigration issues are complex or at least not subject to simple resolution. Obviously a good lawyer’s role would be to ask the questions and resolve all the issues prior to officially submitting the application.

    I would not wish to compromise the Hugos by using them for anything other than recognizing the best work in the field, and neither would you of course. But I think you might find friends willing to help you. $7000 isn’t that big a deal. You could use ChipIn or something like that to raise money from friends. I’d be in for $100 if you decided to do that.

    Others may contribute out of friendship or respect for your contributions to the field; I’m just empathetic about immigration issues. I like the European model of free movement and think that could usefully be applied globally, and I’m also offended at the way my native country harasses innocent visitors.

    1. Alex: This is very kind of you, but key issue here is not to actually make a submission until the lawyers are convinced that we have a good case and are likely to succeed. I need to get Wizard’s Tower up and running fully before we can do that.

  5. “Cheryl’s Avatar”?

    (btw – very much enjoyed my first worldcon and the dead critics panel was a highlight.)

  6. Another option could be for several of your friends (preferably from a single state, or possibly two states) to write a letter to one of their Senators (preferably one that is not up for re-election) asking why the State Dept is denying a Visa to someone who has given so much to the field, both professionally as well as on a volunteer basis. All Members of Congress have staff members whose job is to respond to these inquiries and follow up with the appropriate departments within the gov’t.

    I work for a government contractor, and when we receive Congressional Inquiries, they are taken very seriously. They are sent to the top of the priority list and responded to as quickly as possible by a manager in our office, explaining what actions we have taken (or will take), why, and how those actions were justified. I have no doubt that the State Dept works in a similar manner. This *may* be another way of making an inquiry without actually applying for a Visa, just to be turned down again. The other benefit is that it’s free.

    This is not something to do lightly, and I would definitely not suggest that people start writing letters unless and until Cheryl has a firm plan in place.

  7. Cheryl > I’m glad you’re getting good advice from your lawyer. Sorry there are so many steps involved. Good luck. When you want help, you know people will be there for you.

  8. If you don’t have one yet, get Kevin to get a Really Good (and that you like) face-on head-shot of you, close up, that can be printed life-size. That would be a start, then we can do a life-size body and put some clothes on it.

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