The Project has been hitherto accomplished with remarkable alacrity, considering the potential pitfalls.. It has been an object lesson in immigration law, a suitably anonymous introduction to various functions of governance, and a sort of pithy lecture on the vagaries of public finance. Lord knows I did not leave for Morocco 5 years ago in search of my wife! I was looking for an escape from heartless New York, for something that suited me better, and I found it! Within a few weeks of my arrival in Meknes, I could read the writing on the wall. More comfortable in a very foreign country than I'd ever been in my own (or any other, for that matter), the question was open: what would ever take me back to the US? I came up with only two answers, either I come down with some weird disease or someone dies. Thank God, no one died.
The idea of applying for a fiancee visa was given to me by my friend, Luke Johnson. Eventually, SSI came through, and I had sufficient funding to work the levers of power. Lila's visa application was completed in December, and a red, white, and blue sticker was put in her green passport in May. She has been legal to enter the United States since then, and we expect her arrival next month.
My family (my mother and stepfather) have been crucially helpful during this time. I write this on her laptop, seated in the kitchen of the house he renovated. My gimlet attitude towards Danny's bourgeois predominance notwithstanding, this would have been far more difficult (if not impossible) without their assistance. As I've noted several times before, the dominant social institution in the US is the State, whereas this position in Morocco is held by the Family.
Being American, nothing withholds me from reaping benefit of both, each strong in their own domain. The US pays me every month, no matter what I spend it on, and I enjoy the unique American privilege of extending my own benefits to another (one) as I see fit. To put this another way: was there ever as well prepared an immigrant as Mlle. Jalila Benlali? Guaranteed income and subsidized rent: no Moroccan has had it so good. Me neither!