The Annoyances of U.S. Immigration Law


Cracked.com, which regularly disgraces its old paper namesake by being on occasion actually funny and smart, has a personal take on why people might want to just say screw trying to diligently obey U.S. immigration laws and processes. Some excerpts from the Australian writer:

It turned out my initial application was returned because, while I had attached a police certificate that proved I didn't have a criminal record, I hadn't attached fingerprints. Apparently, according to the DHS, the Australian police force is not yet advanced enough to have thought of prosecuting crimes using fingerprints. The Americans, therefore, needed a set of prints to make sure I hadn't got away with any crimes that had slipped past my homeland's investigation system…

No matter who makes the mistake, it's up to you to solve it.

In my case, the fuck up was performed by a border guard, who forgot to take a piece of paper from my passport which proved I'd left America after an earlier visit and hadn't overstayed my visa. This kind of thing is quite common. Once I figured out what had happened, I frantically collected the mountain of paperwork that would prove that I had indeed returned to my country (credit card records, work transcript, plane ticket stubs, etc) only to find that the office in Kentucky that I sent the proof to would not confirm that it had received this proof for another three months.

Note that this is not the waiting time for them to process the documents and decide whether they're adequate, but the waiting time for somebody to wander into the mail room, pick up the envelope, and confirm that it is in fact there.

in my home state of 400,000 square miles and 1.5 million people, there was exactly one doctor deemed trustworthy by DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano to check me for disease. This means that the sole America-approved doctor, knowing he has a monopoly and you don't have a choice, will charge several hundred dollars to listen to your chest and ask you a couple of health background questions.

But you can never be too careful when it comes to disease, right? Well, the thing is, at the time I embarked on my medical check, I had already spent three months in America on a "tourist" visit, meaning that I didn't need to apply for a visa or do anything other than show up in LAX with a passport.

During those three months, I'd had ample opportunity to breathe the air, cough on people with my foreign, disease-infested lungs, and share used needles with schoolchildren while bleeding openly into the water supply.

Author C. Coville goes on to bitch about having to have his embassy interview back in his home country rather than America, and the limbo-like inability to do such normal-life activities as opening a bank account in the U.S. while the process crawls along.

Check out Jesse James DeConto's February 2006 Reason magazine feature on the criminal aspects of our immigration law enforcement, focusing on the difficulties placed in the path of resident immigrant workers. Also, Terry Colon's award-winning classic cartoon chart from Reason magazine's October 2008 issue, showing in graphic form even more details of the immigration law bullshit that Cracked's article complains about.