So, I am going to do something I have never done here before: I am going to criticize the State of Alaska. In fact, I am going to sue the State. I might not win. I am not a civil lawyer (although I know a few). I don't have the resources of the State. But the State will probably spend more defending the suit than just doing the right thing. Here's the deal. In Alaska, each eligible resident gets a Permanent Fund Dividend (or "PFD"). People can be excluded from receiving this check (which ranges roughly between $1000 and $2000 per year) for a variety of reasons, such as being in jail or not really living here. However, the basic critieria are 1. be a citizen or permanent resident and 2. a resident of Alaska. One of the groups of people who don't get this money are people who are here on the types of visas that J and I are here on. Fair enough. I had no intention of applying for the money because I was aware of this. But, in anticipation of being "residents" in about 4 weeks, I began to research the PFD for Kadee. I went to a cost of college calculator a while back and by 2024, it will cost Kadee $236,000 for a 4 year degree at a public school. It was my intention to get the PFD and put it into Kadee's 529 account so she would have something for college at least. By the way I need to write about how the people of this country can no longer afford 3 "basics": housing, medical care and college, but that is for another post. Here is what I learned. The State will not give Kadee a PFD based on our citizenship. Yes that is right. Kadee is a US citizen and I have her passport to prove it. She has lived here almost a year, and so is a resident. But, because we are not citizens or "permanent residents", Kadee is excluded until she is 18. No F'ing way. So I researched the issue. In 1982 the State of Alaska tried to vary the amount of the PFD based on length of residency. The Alaska Supreme Court allowed that. The United States Supreme Court, however, thought otherwise. The US Supremes ruled that Alaska was trying to create two classes of citizens and this was "clearly impermissible". Later, in a case called Andrade v. State, the Alaska Supreme Court purported to rule on this very issue. But I have read and reread Andrade and I can't see where they ever ruled on the issue of US citizen children of foreign nationals. I was told by the lawyer that argued Andrade that I "would never win". You can imagine how that sat with me. I have ran this scenario by dozens of people and no one has been able to justify the State's actions. I look forward to your comments (I'm sure someone will make a stupid remark). How can the State deny a benefit to a resident and a US citizen based on the citizenship of her parents? The only rationale told to me was that Kadee can't "intend" to stay here because we can't "intend" to stay here. Um. Here's the difference. Under federal law, we are required to follow certain rules to stay in the US. Kadee is a citizen. She needs to "intent" to stay. She can never be deported. Our "intent" (for purposes of immigration law) is irrelevant to a citizen. The US Supreme Court has ruled that when a citizen moves to State, he or she is "one of the State's own" for the purpose of benefits. Kadee is one of Alaska's own. Instead of giving her money for college, the State wants to deny her. Well roll up your sleeves boys because we are going into the trenches. I''ll take this as far as I can. If necessary, and if I can, I'll take this to the United States Supreme Court. That may sound hollow, but mark my words. I would die to save my little girl. So to litigate so she can go to college will be like water off a duck's back. SHE IS A CITIZEN! I am boiling about this. Because we are foreigners, the State can treat her differently? We'll see. I'll let the judge look into those blue eyes and say she is a second class citizen.
P.S. How do you like that freezer? I went over to a friend's house the other night to fish. She owns a place right on the Kenai with a bunch of other people. That freezer holds just the Red salmon caught by all those people in the last few weeks. Beautiful.
P.P.S. The boat is ready and I would test it tomorrow but it is the last day of King salmon season. So I'll report Wednesday.
Popular posts from this blog
So. Ten years ago today I arrived in Alaska. I will never forget the sense of amazement and wonder as I arrived. It was, as John Denver sang about, coming home to a place I had never been. Ten years. Gone. I was given some advice by Jeremy the other day. He said I should learn to appreciate the journey more. Sage advice. I am so focused on my return in June 2018 that I often find myself unhappy. That is foolish. Like always, I will miss these days when they are gone. It is true that I am not that interested in being a lawyer much anymore and I feel time pressing on me. But it also true that being a lawyer has allowed me to come to the US. And, if all goes well, it will allow me to retire in a place I love at 44 years old. And that is pretty cool. Ten years. But I will be back. And next time it will be for good.
So, time flies. It has been three months since I have posted. Wow. Some things have changed since September. Perhaps the most exciting is that I have bought land in Alaska! 9.22 acres of land where I will build my dream home. We had an amazing trip to Alaska at Christmas. We flew into Anchorage and then took the train up to Fairbanks. It was an amazing ride and one I hope to do again. I dressed up in top hat and tails. The wife was Mrs. Claus. The girls all dressed in matching red dresses. 12 hours through the prettiest country on Earth. In Fairbanks we rented the Moose Walk cabin, a super neat little cabin in North Pole. The kids played ice hockey for the first time and I saw the Northern lights again. We went up to Chena Hot Springs and soaked in the hot water. We got to go for a dog sled ride (towing a Rhino) and I had a drink at the Ice Hotel. I took the kids to Santa Claus Village where they met Santa and his reindeer. We then went down to Kenai and spent a fe…
So, this is the beginning. These boxes are my sawmill. They are in my driveway in Sebastopol. From here, I have to drive them to the logging site in another County. I have to learn how to assemble it. I have to cut hundreds of giant douglas fir trees. I have to learn how to use the mill properly. I then have to transport beams up to 40' long over 50 miles (I will have to hire a truck I think) to the woodworking shop. I have to learn how to make mortise and tenons. I have to make each piece fit perfectly. Package hundreds of beams and other building materials. Arrange for transport and delivery in Alaska (this requires getting a bulldozer on my land to get a space big enough for big rigs to turn around). I need to sell my house. I need to get rid of a lot of stuff and pack everything else. I need to arrange for the safe transportation of my dogs, including getting their health certificates. I have to arrange space on the ferry. I need to get myself, my family and the ot…