Saturday, October 18, 2014

Dear Immigration Offices Worldwide

I do not love you and I have never feigned affection for you, but I somehow I still feel the need to make my feelings clear. I would like more time away from you.  I can understand visiting you once when I move to a new country. However, seeing your representatives and going through the associated tons of paperwork so often is tiring, and, of course, counter-productive. All my energy feels drained after interacting with you. You often fail to see me as human and yet I have to go through this seemingly endless process of registering, reregistering, and re-re-...-registering myself.

Until next time,

Your lawful immigrant who generally submits most documents on time.

What is the origin of the Kreisburo(s)?
My understanding is that careful registration of individuals and their addresses originated in the period before the Holocaust.  It appears that immigration offices are some of the numerous vestiges from that era that exist outside museums. In the past, authorities needed to know the exact address of Jewish individuals so that they could find them and arrest/kill them later, which, while not reassuring, made sense in that political climate.

What will the future bring?
We believe to be better now, but is that true? or is the hatred just focused in other directions? will we ever build a world without wars and so much discrimination in seemingly all directions? I, of course, do not know the answer to these questions, but I believe in the power of information flow, which is made instantaneous by the internet. In the meantime, like in most love-hate affairs, people on both sides have to continue to avoid being bitter, and, in particular, avoid placing blame on the wrong shoulders until the many problems resolve and others appear.

Getting back to today
As long as my paperwork is done, I should not complain. Immigration is a complicated problem. Immigrants keep the economy growing as long as they are controlled and underpaid. It naturally makes sense to continue to keep them that way as long as possible and then blame their condition on the views of the public.

The tons paperwork and the many interviews that sometimes make me feel a cross-bred between a criminal and a moron are good practice - each in its own way. Sometimes, I am interviewed by people who have no understanding of who I am or what I do. At other times, I am interviewed by very kind people who make me feel good about my achievements, and try to solve my often atypical paperwork problems.  The stressful part is not knowing which kind of person will be at the other side of the desk. I try to respect them all. I also understand that they are not to blame and generally have no power to change the laws.

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