Deric's Diary: Illegal Immigrant

Having the opportunity to play football for a living overseas is something that many people can only dream of doing. After my college football career came to an end I was fortunate to extend my playing career from 2004-2011. During this 7 year period I lived in 5 different countries (Denmark, Germany, Switzerland, Japan, Hungary), visited 25 countries, and had the opportunity to represent Team USA in a Charity Bowl Game. I was able to win a championship, played alongside with former NFL players, and played for a former NFL coach. Outside of football, I met thousands of great people, and learned many different cultures. I took part in countless interviews including: newspapers, magazines, and television, shot some TV commercials and even had a small role in a popular movie. Most importantly, I met my fiance along the way and I have friends and memories that will last a lifetime.

While living in Denmark in 2004 I played for the Roskilde Kings. With the exception of visiting Canada which is about 20 minutes away from my house this was my first International experience. Soon after my arrival everything was explained to me in terms of team policy, my salary, meals, housing, insurance, etc. I was informed that I will paid in cash and that I'm basically there on a tourist visa. With this in mind, the Danish Government was not aware of the fact that I had my own apartment and I was being payed to play football. Since everyone in Denmark was covered with health insurance, this wasn't going to be an issue until after 90 days when my visa would expire. At that point, I was told that the process would be simple: that's all I needed to do is go to the embassy, explain that I'm staying at a friends house, and ask for an extension so I could continue stay as a tourist.

On the 90th day of this journey I went to the embassy as I was instructed to do. I wrote down my friends address too hide the fact that I had my own apartment, and I explained that I was staying in Denmark as a tourist. When I asked for the tourist extension the women explained that I am not eligible for an extension unless I am staying with an immediate family member. The woman questioned me about what I was doing in Denmark and she was very unpleasant. She told me that I have exactly 10 hours to be out of the country. At this point I panicked and called the president of my team. He was shocked and asked to speak with the woman behind the counter. At this point the woman became really angry, expressed that I am staying in the country illegally, and she asked me to leave the building.

As I was walking towards the exit, I thought to myself that there must be an alternative. I figured there is only one thing to do, and that's lie. Since I already admitted that I didn't have any immediate family in Denmark, that option was out. Instead, I asked her about my fiance. When I told her that I was engaged she again questioned me since I had only been there for 3 months. However, with my story being that my fiance and I met days after my arrival she had to at least give me the benefit of the doubt. At this point I was told that I must return to the office at 7:30am the next day with my fiance and we must prove that we are engaged. If we could manage to do this I would be granted a visa which would extend my stay. Thank God she didn't ask me for any information regarding my fiance at that time. With it being 2:30pm, I had exactly 17 hours to figure out who my fiance is going to be. In this 3 month period I dated some Danish girls, but I definitely wasn't engaged.

As I was heading home from the embassy I immediately began scrolling through my phonebook trying to figure out who I could ask for such a favor. Luckily, Bethina, said she would be willing to do this. Ironically, Bethina was a cheerleader for our rival team. Anyway, I went out with Bethina a few times but I didn't know too much about her family. I was very fortunate that Bethina made the effort to learn everything about me and took the time to explain her life story, family background, birthday, etc. The next morning we showed up to the embassy for our test. They first asked Bethina a few questions in Danish and then asked me in English. I obviously had no clue what they were asking her. It's unbelievable, but we somehow managed to provide them with the necessary information and we passed. Bethina was then asked to fill out a bunch of paperwork and she had to agree to be responsible for my actions while staying in Denmark. Five minutes later my passport was stamped with a Danish Visa and I was no longer illegal.

I decided to share this experience over everything else because if my lie hadn't worked I would've never experienced the next 6 years overseas. Now that my football career has come to an end I can only think back to the great experiences I encountered. I currently work under Homeland Security as a Detention Officer at a Federal Detention Facility. My job entitles dealing with US Marshall's and ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS....As strange as this sounds, this is the truth.

Deric   Demyanick
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