Why Your Immigration Procrastination Should Make You Question Everything

So many of us expect that opportunities or conditions available to us or our business now will be available in the future. Things can wait, we tell ourselves. I will still qualify for an EB-2 visa a year from now, you may say. Or maybe you say, I can still get a waiver after I finish medical treatment. Or could it be, I can still get permanent residence through my wife after we go to my cousin’s wedding in March.

We think we can wait and that lanes open to us now will still be available next month, or next year, or forever. We don’t recognize that people who live their lives as if there are an infinite number of tomorrows are playing a dangerous game.

The habit of procrastination, when it comes to starting your immigration case, often leads to tragic scenes, like the one depicted in Pieter Breugel’s painting “The Blind Leading the Blind.”

The government shutdown, as it relates to immigration, shows why this is a dangerous game. Today, there are certain categories of visas and certain paths through which one could have adjusted status that are closed because of the government shutdown–and it is not unreasonable to think the shutdown could last for many more months. Further, if the shutdown does last for many more months, it is reasonable to think that consulates will stop processing all but emergency visa applications.

There are and will be people who have immigration cases derailed by the shutdown. Undoubtedly, some of these people could have, at an earlier date, applied or petitioned for the immigration benefit they seek. Perhaps with an earlier application , they would have avoided shutdown-related complications.

Of course, we all suffer from procrastination sometimes. Anyone who has worked closely with the highest of high-achievers realizes that even these high-achievers have to fight the urge procrastinate.

There is a story that may help you to fight the urge to procrastinate, that might lead you to act with urgency.

A man boarded a great ship for a voyage across the Atlantic. The ship took off just fine, but on its way across this ocean a terrible storm blew. The wind howled, the rain lashed, the waves rose high above the ship. The thunder rumbled. Streaks of lightning shone across the sky. It looked as if, at any moment, the ship would sink and everyone on the ship would lose their lives.

Everyone was in a state of panic, terrified–well, everyone except this one man.

In contrast with all around him, he remained calm, alert, quietly still. Nonetheless, chaos reigned on the ship.

Eventually, after many hours the storm blew over. And, slowly, the other passengers calmed down. Then, they looked at the man who had remained calm throughout the storm, who appeared oblivious to the danger they had faced, and they asked this man how he could remain calm when they were all just a moment away from their annihilation. They demanded to know.

The man calmly turned to them and said, “Tell me, friends, when is it ever any different?”

Too many people, especially with immigration goals, put off again and again their efforts to achieve those goals. They think that conditions propitious to achieving the goals will last. This can be a dangerous thought.

In order to achieve your immigration goals, it is generally wise for you to act with a sense of urgency. Of course, some people or organizations will–no matter what–continue to say, “we will do it tomorrow.” They will mean these words. The next day will come, and they will do nothing. That’s just how the world works.

But the government shutdown may be just the nudge needed by individuals and organizations on the fence separating action from procrastination.