Planning a visit to the United States? Well, good luck! Gaining entry into the U.S. is becoming more of a hassle year by year. Inane questions are the least of the problem – and woe unto anyone foolish enough to crack a joke.
The United States is still a popular destination for immigrants and tourists. That should make Americans happy because they need immigrants, without whom some industries would collapse, and they need tourists because they spend a lot of money, without which a lot of jobs would cease to exist. Still, America’s politicians and border guards have tried their best to avoid giving the impression that visitors or immigrants are always welcome. They say they want to build walls on the U.S.-Mexican border, and they constantly threaten any potential immigrants with deportation.
Tourists don’t fare quite as badly, but the trip in has been getting less and less pleasant by the year. Visa applications are time consuming and expensive. Those who have the long flight behind them then run into a long line of cranky customs officials who appear to have been trained by former East German border guards. They ask stupid, unnecessary questions and demand to scan your fingerprints for the umpteenth time. And woe unto those who crack a joke – they might just as well turn right around and fly back home.
A Strange Way To Do Business
Here’s what actually happened to Aimee Valentina Schneider, a graduate of a high school in the state of Hessen. She engaged in a Facebook chat with a second cousin in the United States and offered to take care of her children for four months in their own home. A U.S. customs official therefore accused Schneider of neglecting to state in her visa application that she was seeking work as an au pair in the United States. Her application was determined therefore to be fraudulent and she was immediately deported from the United States.
This incident is so grotesque one could only laugh about it – if it weren’t so serious. On the one hand, Aimee Valentina Schneider’s personal rights were grossly violated, something that ought to be considered scandalous in the United States. On the other hand, it raises this question: Do U.S. border officials really want to make the image of the ugly American any uglier than it already is? They need to think about that, particularly when it comes to their closest allies and friends. And lastly, where is the reaction of German politicians?
They’re probably all on vacation. Hopefully not in the United States.