Immigrant Song

Rubber Planet's drummer goes back to Mexico with hopes of returning permanently to Colorado.

While I'm no immigration expert, it would seem a lot easier to just circumvent the process by wedding an American woman. "I have so many girls trying to marry me now," he says with a laugh. "But that's not the right way. If I'm going to get married, I want to marry somebody I'm in love with. To me, it's like using somebody. And really, I just want to play by the rules."

This time, he's determined to follow the proper protocol with immigration officials.

"It's their job to establish and enforce the law to protect the country," he points out. "To make sure that everyone's here legally. And I just want to go about it the right way, the legal way. So what we're going to do is apply for a work permit, a P-1, which means I'm going to be exclusively working for the band. Basically, we're just going to try to get approval. And once all the paperwork, all the evidence, all the petitions and everything that my lawyer's putting together, once it leaves her office, it's out of her hands. It goes to the immigration department in Nebraska. They'll review everything and decide if they're going to approve it. She said it's about four to six weeks. They're going to call me in Mexico, and then I'll go interview in Monterrey City. And then after that interview, they'll let me know if I can come back or not."

No matter how you slice it, it sounds unnerving.

"I'm nervous about the process," Zayas admits, "but I'm trying to stay positive. I'm hoping for the best but preparing for the worst. It sucks, but I'm taking one day at a time. I've done so much here and made so many friends. My possibilities as far as the music business and other things I want to do -- they're here. My country is the land of non-opportunities. I just don't see myself starting from scratch over there.

"My life now is here," he concludes. "And this band, we're more than just a band, really. These guys are my brothers; they're my family."

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