Are US Doors Really Open? A Quick Look At The "Other" Immigration

Tyler Durden's picture

Submited by Erico Tavares of Sinclair & Co.

Are US doors really open? A quick look at the ‘other’ immigration

"We live in a new and exceptional age. America is another name for Opportunity. Our whole history appears like a last effort of the Divine Providence in behalf of the human race." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Very much like Emerson, during this past week several prominent US politicians proclaimed that America is still the land of opportunity and that "our doors are open", pursuant to the unfortunate and even desperate situation that many would-be immigrants from Central America aiming to improve their lives by coming here now find themselves in.

Reading through the media coverage one might think that anyone wanting to come to the US can do so with relative ease. After all, there is an ongoing debate on providing amnesty to illegals and the system seems to be so overloaded at the border down south that why not just take your chances?

However, for skilled professionals and expats the reality is quite different. These days employment opportunities in the US need to be carefully balanced against subjecting yourself to US laws and regulations, some of which are unique in the developed world and can have serious consequences on your wealth, wellbeing and even personal freedoms.

I will provide some examples as a Canadian living in the US that other foreigners might relate to as well. Let me start by saying that despite what I have to say I greatly appreciate the chance to work here and, if anything, I hope that by sharing some facts and personal experiences this will encourage some reflection on the possible consequences of current immigration policies. After all, going forward Americans might need some help in paying for those burgeoning national debt, retirement and healthcare costs right? ;)

I will only focus on the major differences relative to other countries that I have experienced to date, from the vantage point of someone who has lived and worked in several countries across Europe and Asia in recent years. As such, I will disregard the difficulties in obtaining a foreign work permit, which right now are more or less prevalent across the globe given the general economic malaise.

Alright, so you got your US work visa sorted out. Well done. What can you expect going forward?

Traveling in and out of the US often? Your US experience starts at the border, and it can be a very unpleasant one for many, whether traveling for work or pleasure. In the current geopolitical environment border officials have a very important job to do and they should be praised for that. However, here are some personal examples that may make you question if this is how a person should be welcomed in any country. Clearing passport control in major US airports can take hours, which on top of a long distance flight is unpleasant to say the least. I recently had to wait three hours at Logan airport holding a jetlagged 9-year old asleep in my arms throughout – a grueling experience even if you are in good physical condition. Another time I had to walk to the border crossing in Vermont, where I was greeted by no less than five US border patrol officers running towards me ready to draw their guns (everyone drives through I guess). A warning to all you walking Canadians out there! Extensive interrogations covering every single aspect of your life and intimate searches are not uncommon either. I have never been subjected to any of this anywhere else in the world, quite the opposite in fact. For instance, in (prosperous) Singapore you are greeted with a smile, candy and a satisfaction survey!

What about taxes and regulations, are they worker friendly in the US? This one hits foreigners and Americans alike, but one of the things that amaze me is how high personal income taxes are in the US (and Federal and State deficits are still there). Accordingly, US enterprises must peddle harder to attract foreign talent here. And on top of that there are considerable administrative costs. When I lived in the UK filing tax returns cost me virtually nothing, as I could easily do everything on my own. In the US, having a good tax advisor – a very wise move in my opinion, because you will have to deal with a maze of Federal and State taxes, as well as rules that do not exist anywhere else – can cost thousands of dollars. And there’s also the FBAR, which requires disclosure of all your financial holdings offshore. Unless you're a pennyless immigrant, by definition you will have non-US assets that need to be disclosed the minute you become a US tax resident, otherwise you will be exposed to exorbitant IRS fines and even jail time. Your banker back home might also give you a hard time once they find out that you are a US resident (and I can only feel sorry for the 7.6m US expats who probably get the same reaction by their bankers abroad).

OK, you pay high taxes but you get something out of it right? In most if not all other high tax jurisdictions you have access to good basic education and healthcare at very affordable rates, so at least you can say you are getting something out of the taxes you pay. I personally don’t get this feeling in the US. Health insurance for individuals and families can cost thousands of dollars a month and I still can’t figure out why. OK, hospitals here may be the cat's meow, but I once had a US friend who broke his arm and because he was uninsured he had to pay thousands of dollars just for an x-ray. In Canada and in Europe this costs almost nothing. It's just an x-ray people!

Fine, but this is the land of the free! Let's leave aside all the government snooping which is a highly debated topic at the moment (the US is certainly not alone here) and in my view inevitable in some shape or form in the age of information. Here's a really troubling example of how the US views its foreigners. Unless you're a diplomat, any US visa holder – including green card holders – needs to report a change in residential address within ten days using form AR-11. Failure to do this is punishable by fine, imprisonment and/or removal from the US! So if you file, say, two days late in theory you might actually end up in jail. And that’s another thing I don’t quite understand about the US, namely how easy it is to do jail time here, as evidenced by the fact that about 7% of Americans are or have been in sing-sing.

Hmmm, but if you behave properly as an expat you have nothing to fear. OK, as a foreigner you need to know the laws of the host country. But you also have to know what to look for, particularly as in the US there are a range of post 9-11 laws which are unique in the free world. For all the trouble we get at the border, we could at least get a pamphlet stating that we need to comply with things like the FBAR and form AR-11. Not so unfortunately, which means that you may be treated like a criminal just because you failed to file a form you never heard of. In fact, many expats find out about these rules the hard way, exposing themselves to thousands of dollars in fines and related admin costs.

This may not be the intention of US policies, but it seems that foreigners seeking legal employment in the US are regarded as guilty until they can prove otherwise. A cynic might therefore say that we would be better off by running across the border down south and not dealing with all the hassle, or just stay at home. And he might be right.


Addendum: So why bother coming to the US?

This is actually a great question. Given the foregoing, I suspect that US policymakers take immigration for granted and that people will always want to come here because “the US is the land of opportunity”. That may be true in many regards, but increasingly less so in a globalized world. For one, Americans themselves are renouncing their citizenship in record numbers, which is indicative that something is going amiss.

Therefore, perhaps with all the debate and even outrage going on regarding the current immigration situation, US policymakers and the public in general should all take a step back and reflect on where this is all going. Otherwise the international competitiveness of the US along with its prestige and intellectual capital may greatly suffer as a result.

As for the answer to that question, I can only offer my personal opinion on why I decided to do business here, in spite of opportunities elsewhere.

On balance I believe that America still offers many opportunities indeed. It’s a huge market, complete with an enterprising spirit and institutions that enforce the rule of law. That’s a solid foundation to begin with. Then you have incredible developments in technology and natural resources, like the shale boom, and that are unique anywhere in the world. The US is also catching up on environmental and health & safety regulations, which creates an opportunity to transfer know-how and expertise from other countries in these areas.

On the personal side, the food is excellent and affordable, there is great shopping to do and for the most part the weather is very pleasant (especially coming from Canada!). This is also the land of entertainment, and there's no shortage of fun stuff to do, including visiting the many beautiful cities, villages, beaches and the great outdoors. And the people... well, I really like Americans so I'm biased here. The US has an abundance of enterprising, optimistic, hardworking and fun loving people and it is a real pleasure interacting and doing business with them.

Above all, it is the system and way of life that Americans (and your ancestors coming from all sorts of places!) have created that is the most appealing to me, and perhaps the biggest reason why people come here. However, I get the sense that right now the US is going through a soul-searching period as a nation, on how you see yourselves, your values and beliefs and even your role in a rapidly changing world.

As Churchill once said, "Americans will always do the right thing once they run out of options". I just hope us foreigners will still be around to see it.

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Blazed's picture

"MS-13 Gang Members Allowed into U.S., but Ukrainian Woman Wife of Marine Veteran Thrown in Prison

A Ukrainian national is locked up in an Otero County prison after being detained at the Santa Teresa port of entry in southern New Mexico."

chumbawamba's picture


" of the things that amaze me is how high personal income taxes are
in the US (and Federal and State deficits are still there)."

People assume the taxes are collected to fund the programs that are in defecit.

I am Chumbawamba.

stacking12321's picture

a dumb sheeple wrote this:

" In the current geopolitical environment border officials have a very important job to do and they should be praised for that."

i have no respect for any idiot who would swallow this line, that the governemnt is here to protect you.

the scumbags in the government, including those at the border, have no interest in protecting or helping you, they are there to remind you who's in charge, to enforce controls over the people only.

eliminate the theft(taxes)/welfare system, and we won't have to worry about who comes and goes; the only ones coming in at that point will be those who come here to WORK for opportunity, rather than to soak up tax $.


economics9698's picture

The cockroach class like a dirty kitchen/country.  The dirtier the better.

The Alarmist's picture

It reads like someone who has something to say, but has two guys next to him saying, "Nice family you have there ... would hate to see anything happen to them." I feel for the greencard holders who spent countless hours and exhorbitant dollars to get "in" and are now watching the dregs of the earth get a free pass into the country.  Makes one consider joining Mark Sten's hypothetical lawsuit for unequal application of the laws.

0z's picture

"America is another name for Opportunity."

Opportunity to displace, kill and enslave a hundred million indigeneous people, and take from them the lands they had kept mostly intact for millenias.

America is another name for Genocide.

StandardDeviant's picture

Two - no, three - things to say to that:

1) He's Canadian.  Canadians are mostly polite, even when it's arguably unwarranted.

2) He's a guest in your country, and says he travels internationally quite frequently.  The last thing he needs is to get himself onto some TSA troublemaker list.

3) Automatic -1 for "sheeple".  Makes you sound like a smug idiot.

fridgeman101's picture

Immigration has always been a positive trait of the USA. The problem isn't immigration but who we are letting in and their overall negative impact on the cities in this country. Plain and simply put immigration for the last 20 years should not be 75% Mexican and 25% everyone else. Favoring just Mexicans and letting them alone continue to illegaly enter this country in droves and then be granted amnesty is RACISM. Helping only spanish speaking peoples when they call customer service and having ONLY an option for Spanish besides English IS RACISM. The amount of people allowed to immigrate from countries should be evenly distributed and believe me there are many peoples that would love to come here. This country needs no immigration reform (which is just a catch phrase for rewriteing our existing laws to help the Mexicans- which is RACISM). If we need more immigrants in the US then raise the number of VISAs and green cards being given out- to all countrys. This is the only way immigration will truly be an asset to the USA.

economics9698's picture

The problem with immigration is the 93 IQ lazy fucks looking for welfare.

The Alarmist's picture

I would have thought 80 IQ, but we're quibbling over a minor detail here.  The point is that if you do not like representing the thinking of the electorate that you have, the easy way out is to source a new electorate.

0z's picture

That's funny: 500 years ago, no one on the continent spoke Spanish or Engish. So if we killed all the English-speaking people in America, replaced them by Chinese-speaking people, would it be racism not to have English in the immigration forms?

Pool Shark's picture




Immigration was a positive trait of the USA, but since the advent of the 'Great Society' programs, it has become a disaster.

100 years ago, if you came to the USA, you had to assimilate into the culture and be productive. The alternative was starvation.

Today, we attract most of our immigrants the same way one attracts seagulls by throwing pretzels on the beach; far too many come solely for the free stuff and then crap all over us...


August's picture

To add to the anecdotes, I know plenty of MDs and PhDs who would love to move to the USA, but, of course, cannot do so.

America's future lies with drywall, landscaping and SNAP cards.

AustriAnnie's picture

Amnesty would not be sought if there were not freebies to be had once here.  Remove the freebies, and you remove the freeloaders.

I have no problem with a foreigner coming here to work and be fully self-sufficient.  But that is not the case.  Regulations make it very difficult for someone trying to come here through legal means (cannot get hired without a visa, but cannot get a visa until you prove you are hired being one trap).  I have a friend who speaks 3 languages and has a brilliant mind for business.  But he had the play the "poor refugee" game in order to get in the gates, since trying to prove he could be self-sufficient didn't work.  Once here, ironically, he added enough value to his company to create job openings to hire a team of people under him (real productivity adds real value, so instead of competing with americans for jobs he actually ended up creating job openings for americans, who are now getting paid to learn from him instead of taking out massive student loans for the same education).

Alternatively, there is a great scam going where corporations get students on student visas to work for next to nothing, or for free, for "on the job work experience", then instead of hiring them full time and converting their visas to permanent-stay visas, they tell them they can't hire them, and instead take on the next round of free or low-cost student labor, one graduating class after another.  So these students never work long enough to pay back into the tax system.  They get scholarships at universities along with room and board, provide corporations with low-cost labor, and get sent back home.  The university system gets a cut, the corps get a cut.  Some students see it as a chance to vacation in the U.S., some actually want to learn and work but can't.  Its a twisted system full of misdirected incentives.

nodhannum's picture

The reason why?  She is educated and most of all "white".  Can you imagine if she had bee a white South African.

t0mmyBerg's picture

Funny you should mention that.  When I was a young attorney getting divorced in Chiago I put an ad for apartment sharing out there in the reader.  I eventually rented half the apartment to a white couple fleeing South Africa.  They had lived and run a restaurant in Cape Town but once the ANC took power it became too violent so they came here.

He was actually a long haired Argentinian jew named Enrique (pronouned endriquay) who had fled Peronist Argentina for a kibbutz in Israel after being detained by police then made his way to South Africa.  While there he fell in with his wife Lynn, a Dutch heritage Afrikaner.

I did the research to see about getting them on the path to citizenship in my firms law library.  There was essentially no legal way for them to enter the US (only about 10,000 general slots could be filled.  Those are filled by about january 2nd every year)  I then wrote to my former US Senator about getting some special legislation slipped into a bill as they sometimes do.  No deal.  Eventually they moved on and had a kid out west before I lost track of them.  Then they were deported, he to Argentina, she to South Africa I believe. 

I also had friends from work from Wales and Hong Kong, one with a wife and kids here.  They could not come in either.  Eventually I think the guy from Wales got in, after about 15 years and thousands of dollars.  I would be for amnesty for those that were here.  But we need to fix the law first.  Then you can really say, you have to come in the front door.  For this recent influx though, you have to send them out immediately.

Ttust me when I say our immigration law is severely messed up.

What I love about ZH though is this kind of article that looks at a topic from a different perspective.  Awesome.

401K of Dooom's picture

No, the immigration laws are not messed up.  The enforcement and administration of said laws are messed up.  If you want to bring in your friends, hire them as employees of your own company or get them hired at some company under an I-140 petition.  Then submit an I-485 and make sure that they have not committed any Crimes Involving Moral Turpitude or Aggrivated Felonies at all.  They can immigrate but they need to follow the law.  Oh and they can apply for the diversity visas as well.

t0mmyBerg's picture

Well no.  In my opinion it is the law that is fucked up.  There is essentially no general legal immigration.  10,000 people is nothing.  We could acculturate many many more than that.  We could argue about what that number is.  But unless you want to argue that 10,000 is the right number, it is the law that is messed up.  Immigration is in general a very very good thing.  Especially in a nation  of immigrants.  Economically it is obviously a good thing.  Culturally you have to be carerful and expect the immigrants to assimilate.  You also need to not have them all from the same place, which means you throttle the number from Mexico and other problem locations.  Though we also had a restaurant in Chicago and I can tell you that our best workers by far were kids coming in from Mexico City.  Ready to work, brought their chef knife to the interview, start the same day and can be relied upon wholly.

migra's picture

The immigration laws for the most part are good. The total lack of enforcement by the pimps in DC who tell the United States Attorney's office to do nothing is the real problem. The Border Patrol, via worksite enforcement and employer mandatory prison time, could deport 20 million people in less than a year if the United States Attorney would prosecute people we arrest and present to them.  

DoChenRollingBearing's picture



If you are a CentAm gangbanger with no documents they let you in. *

If you are an educated productive professional, it is much harder.



* (Undocumented Democrat Voter)

RaceToTheBottom's picture

By playing Blue and red team nonsense you are promoting the present non solution.  

Reagan could have solved it in the 80s and dropped the ball because it suited the Palm Springs etc of the US to have low cost gardeners and laborers.

Since that time and probably before, both sides have sold themselves to the corporate solution.  


This is not a red/blue thingie

DaddyO's picture

While I understand and agree with your position on the red/blue paradigm, you grossly underestimate how the immigration fiasco will play out in november 2016.

All these current refugees will be goaded into voting for the team that will leave them and their benefits alone.

Let's see, which team will that be?

DoChen hit the nail precisely on the head!


Pool Shark's picture



Here's why nothing will ever be done about illegal immigration:

Republicans want cheap labor for their corporate overlords.

Democrats want voters.

Open Borders: something both parties can agree on...

Hugh_Jorgan's picture

Republicans want cheap labor for their corporate overlords and something else to make Libertarians and Tea Partiers look racist.

Democrats want more ignorant voters and cheap labor for their corporate overlords.

There, fixed it for you...

RaceToTheBottom's picture

"you grossly underestimate how the immigration fiasco will play out in november 2016."

We were already there with the size of the FSA.  Immigration argument is not needed.


Laddie's picture

There is genocide going on against the White South Africans, who STARTED the nation, just a Whites STARTED America, both nations are eerily similar in their paths. And the same gang that runs Wall Street and Hollywood did that to the Whites in SA and to the Whites in the USA.

ugmug's picture

I live near a major railroad line and for a couple of years I kept seeing old passenger rail cars going by my house. I thought that they were for a national evacuation of some sort. People thought that I was nuts. Now I realize that they were heading for Mexico to transport illegal immigrants through Mexico. This border crisis was YEARS in the planning!!!!!!!!!!!

HeavydutyMexicanOfTheNorthernKingdom's picture

Stop whining like a little girl.    Viva La Raza Bitchez!   

El Vaquero's picture

Last time I crossed the border into the US from Mexico was the summer before 9/11.  I did so on foot  There was a long corridor that was empty, so myself and a few others just walked on through.  Finally, we got to a place where there was a hall adjoining the corridor, and some guy in an office chair rolled out of his office and asked "Y'all American citizens?"  We answered "Yup!"  He said, "OK, have a nice day!" and wheeled back into his office.  Given the bullshit that I'm hearing today, if I went down to Mexico (I wouldn't because it's a fucking narco-state,) I'd probably just go find a break in the fence somewhere when coming back up.  It works for the Mexicans, why not Americans?

TheObsoleteMan's picture

It depends on what group you belong to. Thanks to the 1965 Jarvis Law, whites of European heritage are strictly controlled, while all others are welcomed with open arms {and wallets}. The less educated and more impoverished the better, as far as policy makers are concerned.

Laddie's picture

"Something is happening: we are becoming the first universal nation in history ... If you believe, as the author does, that the American drama is being played out toward a purpose, then the non-Europeanization of America is heartening news of an almost transcendental quality."

Ben Wattenberg, The Good News Is The Bad News Is Wrong (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1984), p. 84.

LibertarianMenace's picture

What purpose does "the author" see and alude to, that correlates with the "transcendental quality" of non(he really means de)-Europeanizing this country? Protection is sought in the numbers of others, perhaps, giving outfits like the KKK bigger fish to fry? In other words, cannon fodder. Curious, who was behind that '65 law? 

dizzyfingers's picture

"1965 Jarvis Law..."  Link with details?

New World Chaos's picture

I know a Pole who is a brilliant scientist.  He was in America for a long time (at least six years) but when his project ended, immigration told him to get out.  The bureaucrats treated him with callous indifference.  Maybe it's because there was no box to tick with "only person in the world who has an algorithm that can do XXX".  Maybe some useful idiots saw him as competing with Americans, whereas a Mexican who comes for free shit doesn't compete at all.  More likely, there was a high placed traitor who set the traps to catch people like him. 

He wasn't too upset.  He didn't try to jump through some hoops that might have led to an extension.  After years of listening to me, he kinda knew he had to leave anyway.  Last I heard, he had started a tech company and grown it to medium size.

alexcojones's picture

This writer quotes Churchill on doing the Right thing? Fuck Churchill.

Churchill allowed/ encouraged the Fire bombing of Dresden, filled with civilian refugees, just weeks before the end of the war. More than 40,000 deaths.

BTW, Today is July 20. In 1944, some patriots tried to overthrow their government. RIP.

20 July plot -
chumbawamba's picture

I agree absolutely.  Fuck Churchill and the cunts that keep quoting him like he's some kind of fucking genius.  He was a drunken cowardly racist piece of shit, and millions needlessly died because of him.

I am Chumbawamba.

DoChenRollingBearing's picture

On the other hand, he did nicely insult the ugly Lady Astor (yes, when he was drunk).

Jackagain's picture

Sadly though he was too drunk to realize that he was ugly too.

jez's picture

You realise that Winston Churchill was half-American, right?

Excursionist's picture

And that, folks, is Peyton Manning-caliber Monday morning quarterbacking!

Churchill just knew that the end of the war was around the corner, and because he really, really had a hard on for slaughtering thousands of civilians, he just had to fry 'em.

Ditto for Roosevelt I guess...  because the Japanese were a reasonable lot back then, believing in a divine emperor who could do no wrong, and they would have listened to reasonable arguments to end the war.

Urban Redneck's picture

The Morgenthau Plan, which Churchill came around to, was explicitly about revenge against civilian populations (and legal enslavement of anyone unfortunate enough to be drafted).

Monday morning quarterbacking, perhaps a bit... but the bloodlust was quite real and is a well established fact.

Excursionist's picture

From Wikipedia:

"The contemporary historical assessment is that the Morgenthau Plan was of no significance for later occupation and policy in Germany, but that Nazi propaganda on the subject had a lasting effect and that it is still used for propaganda purposes by extreme right wing organizations."

Urban Redneck's picture

You're quoting Ziopedia... Jewy Wales' personal Harbara front?


1) Read the actual Morganthau Plan document (it's all over the internet)
2) Read Patton's diaries (the National Archives and FDR papers collection have a ton more material, but that takes time)
3) Compare the dates of the German surrender with the launch of the Marshall Plan (several YEARS later and down the road to full implementation , the zionist untermenschen can't lie and misconstrue their way out of the actual passage of time and progress of implementation).

StandardDeviant's picture

Please go crawl back under your rock.

Urban Redneck's picture

Not only No, but HELL NO!

FACTS and REASON are like cryptonite to zioturds, hezbollatards, ukey-nazis, and even old school nazis.

If Jimmy wants to be respected, then perhaps he shouldn't prostitute the notion of information (as knowledge doesn't come from a book) and manipulate the access to information for political purposes.

potato's picture

I am starting an outdoor-aventure company for adrenaline junkies.

The first "tour" is a ground crossing of the southern border. It is only for US-passport-holders, and it involves crossing the border from Mexico into the USA while carrying legal small arms.

It could be wildly profitable as you're assured of having your civil liberties violated and can sue.


DoChenRollingBearing's picture

Or you could make a ton of money with Eric Holder's written approval and references to the "right people"...