The Ugly American

Refusing the German high school student Aimee entry [into the USA] because of a Facebook chat violates not only American individual rights, but once again, it endangers the U.S. relationship to its closest ally. But where is the reaction from German politicians?

The U.S. has always been a popular land for immigrants and tourists. That should make the Americans happy, because they need migrants. Without them, so many businesses would collapse. They need tourists because they spend a lot of money, and without them so many would lose their jobs. But for a long time, America’s politicians and border guards have continued to avoid the impression that tourists and migrants are welcome. That’s why they want to erect a wall on the border with Mexico and threaten every possible immigrant with deportation.

It isn’t as bad for tourists. Entry into the country, however, has been unfriendly for years. The visa application is long and expensive, and after having taken a long flight, [one] is received by long lines and occasionally by irritated border guards, who could have learned their trade from German Democratic Republic border troops. They ask stupid, unnecessary questions, scan your fingers a million times, and woe be to him who has a joke on his lips. It is likely to be the same on the way home.

One Wants to Laugh

That is what happened, no joke, to the student Aimee Valentina Schneider from Hesse. The incredible reason: She had offered to look after her great cousin’s children in a Facebook chat, at least while she stayed with her for four months. A border official reported that Schneider had lied on the visa application, where it said that she wanted to work as an au pair in the USA. The visa, therefore, became invalid. The young woman would immediately be sent back to Germany.

This event is so grotesque that one actually wants to laugh about it, if it were not so serious. First, the individual rights of Aimee Valentina were grossly violated, something that should also be a scandal in the USA. On the other hand, it begs the question of whether the U.S. border guards want to make the picture of the ugly American more popular than it already is. They should think about that, particularly about citizens from their strongest ally — their friend, even, as much as there can be [friendship] between nations. And where is the reaction from German politicians? Are they all on vacation? Hopefully not in the USA.

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