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Tourist Visa Changed Marie's Life

June 08, 1986|ROBERT MACKAY | United Press International

DUBLIN, Ireland — For Marie, like thousands of other young Irish citizens, her "tourist" trip to America was a ploy to find a job, work illegally and make money. She may go back to the United States for good.

"I went to make money," said the 21-year-old single woman who clears about $55 a week in a temporary secretarial job in Dublin.

Marie, who withheld her last name in case she decides to return to the United States, said she obtained a three-month U.S. tourist visa and left for Boston last July.

Unlike many young Irish who emigrate illegally to the United States, she said she always intended to return to Ireland.

"The idea was that I would come back after making some money and finish college," Marie said. "I knew loads of people who went over and had loads of fun. I didn't want to spend another summer in Ireland.

"I had less than $200 when I got to Boston. The immigration officer at the airport was a jerk. He must have thought I was going over for good. He went through all of my personal belongings. He even read my diary.

"He asked me how I expected to live for three months on $200. I said I was staying with a friend and I wouldn't be paying accommodation.

"He even rang up my friend to see if I was telling the truth. When she heard it was the U.S. Immigration, she said there was no problem.

"But he asked her if she realized I was going to be bumming off of her for three months, that I only had $200."

Marie said she was hired as a waitress at a restaurant on Cape Cod, where she found the people "very friendly to the Irish."

Marie returned to Dublin in October but never went back to college. She is now thinking about returning to the United States for good.

"Once you're there, it doesn't seem to be any trouble," Marie said. "Once you're in, you're in."

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