United States Immigration: Reflection From Living Abroad

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Much like Hillary Clinton, I would love to see open borders. In fact, I would love to see the day when all border crossings are as simple as crossing between states. However, unlike my friends on the left, I realize that open borders is not a good idea right now. In order for an United States immigration policy to work with open borders, three critical things would need to happen:

  1. Eliminate the welfare state
  2. End the war on drugs
  3. Complete World Peace

Unfortunately, none of these are likely to happen any time soon. So despite my utopian dream, open borders simply aren’t viable — the United States’ borders are not secure. As discussed in a previous article on sanctuary cities, many Americans are at risk from dangerous illegal immigrants.

While the debate rages about how to handle illegal immigration, I’m stuck dealing with another immigration issue. As a U.S. citizen living abroad, I have had the distinct pleasure of dealing with Colombian immigration. Yes, that’s ColOmbia with an O, and it is in South America — not in South Carolina.

As a U.S. citizen, I do enjoy the opportunity to visit Colombia without a visa. Americans can spend 180 days per year in Colombia on a tourist stamp. However, that’s it. If you decide to stay longer you must obtain a visa.

Becoming More Than A Tourist In Colombia

I came to Colombia four years ago on vacation. I originally planned to spend a short time here. As my six months drew to an end, I decided to stay longer. So I met with a lawyer who presented me with a list of options.

I could stay as a student learning Spanish, but the government was cracking down on student visas and deporting bad students.

Plus, I wanted to keep traveling. That’s right, they were deporting people for not attending classes. Not robbing people, or DUIs, or trafficking drugs, but for not adhereing to requirements as defined by their visas.

Teaching English was also an option. Likewise, the government was cracking down on traveling teachers. This also required a certification that I didn’t have time to complete before my visa ran out.

Opening a business was the final viable option. So I took my freelancing SEO work and turned it into a company. In order to do this, I had to prove that I had the minimum amount of money or assets in the country to sustain a business. I had to hire an accountant to prove this, as well as open the business itself.

I also needed a lawyer to prepare my documentation as the success rate without one is rather low.

Source Credit: passportusahealth.com
Source Credit: passportusahealth.com

Once all of my documents were in order, the law required me to leave the country to apply for the visa. The lawyer advised me to go to Quito because the waiting period would be shorter. So I flew to Quito and applied for a business visa. After an interview in Spanish, the Colombian embassy awarded me an unbelievable two year visa!

The Absurdity Of United States Immigration

I balk at the media’s representation of how evil building a wall is. Somehow, the idea of qualifying people to enter the country is racist. Yet every other country validates their applicants.

Other countries don’t allow people to come in and abuse their welfare programs. They don’t allow mass migration of undocumented immigrants. And they certainly don’t allow criminals to stay beyond their prison sentence. 

Unlike the U.S., regular ID checks, along with stop and frisk, are common across most countries. Claiming racial profiling will only get you laughed at — or worse.

Americans who believe that protecting U.S. borders is wrong, need to look at the world around them. The rest of the world is taking action to protect their borders. It’s unimaginable that the U.S. would be any different, especially after the series of terrorist attacks that have occurred over the last decade.

National Guard soldiers train to defend United States Immigration policies
Mexican Border Duty by Senior Airman Trisha Harris | Creative Commons License

I believe that the United States immigration policy needs reform. It is too difficult for foreigners to get a visa. I’m still in the process of getting my wife a visa. But that doesn’t change the fact that illegal immigration is a serious problem.

From my experience, realistically, a wall is the most non-aggressive way to handle immigration. Despite its high cost, a wall will keep illegals safer than violent border confrontations.

Any Other People Living Abroad?

I’d like to hear your stories. I know others who live abroad. Many in Latin America. Most of them have a more difficult process than mine. So if you live abroad, share your thoughts on immigration laws. 

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