Common sense in immigration?

Ours could be such a wonderful world, if only people were a bit smarter. And countries too. U.S. President Donald Trump keeps thinking up ways of limiting immigration to the U.S., while simultaneously trying to get rid of as many foreigners as possible.

I am a firm believer in free movement, the way it used to be a long time ago – long before I was even born. I don’t mind sharing my country with people from different cultures and backgrounds – as long as everyone is on the same page and contributes to my country’s prosperity and well-being.

In fact, immigration should involve as little red tape as possible, except for the necessary amount of vetting, which is, sadly, a measure we can no longer do without in today’s world.

But people should generally be free to move to any country of their choice – because they are very fond of it or already speak the language, etc. In return for keeping the red tape to a bare minimum, however, migrants must prove themselves and their commitment to the host country.

In other words, they must learn the language, adapt to the customs and traditions of the country and, above all, never break the law (including shoplifting). You steal a bar of chocolate at a convenience store? Out you go, on a one-way ticket back to the old country.

In addition, if, say, after three, four or five years, you still don’t speak the language and haven’t managed to contribute to the host country by holding down a job and paying taxes, out you go, on a one-way ticket back to the old country.

As for the U.S. immigration system, allow me to say this: it’s garbage.

The American system has been rigged to keep good, hard-working and honest people out of the U.S. Today, unless you have a firm job offer and/or close family members to sponsor you, you won’t get in. And that’s insane.

Self-employed people, like myself, wouldn’t qualify. We would have to discontinue our business, look for a job and hope that a potential employer will go to the trouble of arranging a green card for us. Then, we would have to stay with that employer for a specific number of years, and only then could we return to our self-employed activities – but we would have to start from scratch, because our previous clients would have all disappeared in the meantime.

What is truly galling about this is the fact that many self-employed people actually create and/or maintain jobs and contribute to the local economy through consumption and paying taxes. For a country like the U.S., this would be a win-win situation.

Instead, the U.S. system actually discourages immigrants from creating jobs, who must make do with taking someone else’s job.

Canada, by contrast, does admit the self-employed and does not make immigration contingent on a firm job offer.

One day, hopefully, we’ll see a common-sense approach to immigration everywhere.

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