Saturday, November 7, 2015
July 17, 21, 1940: Can I get a Student Visa Now?
Letter to Opa from Kathleen Hanstein at AFSC
July 17, 1940
Mr. Thomas Doeppner
My dear Mr. Doeppner:
I am sorry not to have answered your letter more promptly but I have been waiting to get advice from our worker who specializes in immigration problems. Her advice is that you write again to Mr. Salisbury in the Department of Justice, stating that you apparently did not express yourself clearly i your first letter, as the main purpose of that letter was to request that your visitor's visa be changed to a student visa, pointing out again that you have a scholarship and maintenance provided at McPherson College for the coming year, and that you wish an extension of time in order to take advantage of that opportunity.
In regard to the last paragraph of Mr. Salisbury's letter, I think you should say that he is apparently referring in this paragraph to an application for regular immigration, which you cannot consider at the present time.
If you will send us a copy of your letter as soon as you write to Mr. Salisbury, we shall also write to him endorsing your application.
I do to think that there would be any question raised about your doing that type of work that you describe and I am very glad to hear that you are enjoying it.
(Mrs.) Kathleen Hambly Hanstein
When AFSC does their job and the INS doesn't- it makes for a frustrating exchange of letters. Here Kathleen has to help Opa write another letter to Mr. Salisbury, spelling out what he needs in order to maintain his legal status as a student in the United States.
Letter from Opa to Mr. Salisbury of the INS
Thomas Doeppner McPherson, 7-21-40.
Department of Justice
Dear Mr. Salibury,
I thank you very much for your letter from July 5. I probably did not express myself clearly enough, since the main purpose of my letter from June 5 was to request that my visitor's visa be changed into a student visa. You will recall that a scholarship and maintenance is provided for me at McPherson College, as you see in the letter of Dr. Schwalm, president, which I enclosed in my last letter. To take advantage of this opportunity, I asked for an extension of time and sent the application blanks you sent to me to the Immigrant officer in New York, but I think I have to ask you for changing my visa into a student visa. In the last paragraph of your letter you apparently are referring to an application for regular immigration, which I cannot consider at the present time. The consul who gave me the visa I am having is Mr. Bonnett, American Consul in Amsterdam. Since there are no mail communications with Amsterdam, I am not able to make any application there anyway.
I thank you for the trouble you have with this case. Please write me what other information you need to change my visa to a student visa.
My summary: "I need a student visa. Help me change to a student visa. If you think I am talking about anything else, I'm not. I just want you to give me the information about getting a.... Student Visa. Student. Visa. I. Need."
It's like going to a drive through with bad audio connections. You have to keep repeating yourself and hearing the wrong thing come back and repeating yourself again until you find yourself talking in cave-language. Except- this is Opa's life at stake, and he really really really doesn't want to go back to Europe right now.
Letter from Opa to Mrs. Hanstein
Thomas Doeppner McPherson, 7-21-40.
Mrs. Kathleen Hambly Hanstein
American Friends Service Committee
Dear Mrs. Hanstein,
Thanks for your letter from July 17. I enclose the letter I wrote to Mr. Salisbury. You will remember that I sent an application blank to the immigrant officer, New York, which is, of course, an application for a visitor's visa. Will that interfere with this application for a visitor's visa, or would I have to apply for that extension anyway? I shall let you know as soon as I get answer from any of these two.
My translation again: "Mrs. Hanstein- I did ALL of the things. When does this end in me having a student visa??"
Poor Opa is navigating the red tape that is immigration applications and renewals. Luckily, he has help and he has patience. Even more luckily- he has already crossed the toughest border- the one into the United States. I just hope that staying in the United States is easier than getting there. Opa is dong everything he can to make sure he stays in the land of the free.