I’m having trouble grasping the difficulties that folks seem to have regarding visas. Perhaps I’m more well-travelled than the “average American”, or perhaps the rest of us are so wrapped up in ourselves, that we never notice what goes on around us.
Take your average outing to the nearest airport. You bring your ticket, luggage, and ID. You present your ticket to the Check-in desk staff, then your ID and luggage. Why present your ID? You may be thinking its to ensure that you aren’t on a “No Fly list.” WRONG! The Airline staff needs to protect their employer is why. Lets say that you are allowed to board an aircraft bound for a foreign country. You arrive at your destination, and are asked to present your papers. What happens if your “Papers are not in order”…if you do not have an entry visa? You are placed on the next return flight, at your original airline’s expense. It is incumbent on the airline to ensure that you will be allowed entry at your destination. That is why they check your documents. If you have ever travelled with a foreign national (read Green Card holder), it becomes more apparent.
You have arrived in sunny downtown Istanbul, Turkey. Finally, getting to your hotel. Your reservation is waiting for you. You present your credit card, and naturally, your passport to verify your identity…for the credit card deposit charge. You finalize your check-in and discover that your passport will be held….and returned when you check-out. Why? To make sure you don’t skip town before your bill is fully paid. You are a foreigner…not to be trusted…no way to check-up on you.
I sent a technician to Beijing in the late ’90’s. In order for him to depart China, when his assignment was finished, he needed an “exit visa” that would only be granted once the contracting entity informed the goverment that the work was completed in a satisfactory fashion (in other words, he was held ransom, at my expense, while the Chinese Government bureaucracy ground along).
When we travel abroad, we play by “Their” rules. Imagine the din if you were required to surrender your passport, much less present it (remember, proof of citizenship is required almost nowhere in the US to vote), when checking into the Motel-6 in Duluth.
I can already hear Auntie Maxine!
Why is it then so unreasonable, even odious, to expect that foreigners play by our rules, or face immediate expusion?
Categories: Immigration Policy