When my Moroccan wife of a year needed a visa to enter the United States it seemed simple enough – a trip to the American Consulate in Rabat, then on to visit friends and family. There were a number of good reasons to expect the procedure to go smoothly.

Unlike so many of my ‘people’, I am not steeped in family, culture, religion, a past. While everyone I knew growing up was wrapping themselves in what was expected of them, like naked souls dressing up against the cold, I was cutting myself free.