I’m on my way at the end of the week. Back to what one military wag once called “the land of the big PX” and I like to think of as the land of 24 hour breakfast places, and people who (mostly) obey traffic laws…well except the ones about speed limits.
It’s all a fraud. Well, actually it’s all ABOUT fraud. I’m headed back for a one week class on detecting and fighting visa fraud, which is a growing problem here. Some of it’s obvious and simple to deal with, but if there’s money to be made (and there is) someone will bring sophistication to the table, and we need to know how to detect it.
Visa work is a challenge. We want to let the people into the U.S. who are entitled under the law to visit (or immigrate) and keep out those who are not. Others have different motivations. Some are people desperate to go to the U.S at almost any cost. Others are people who see the first group as a business opportunity. There are folks back in the U.S. who seem to think having any immigration laws is some kind of plot and who will well, to put it bluntly, lie to get people in. Some of these do so in the name of religion, which is yet another reason I cringe at the “holier than thou” attitudes of the religious.
Almost all of us have an immigrant in our ancestry. All my ancestors are immigrants, who came at a time when there were immigration laws, but they were, to be frank less stringent than now. But they did come legally, through the port of New York. I welcome immigrants to the U.S., but they have to play by the rules. After all, I do.
There’s a bigger question, which is whether we have the right immigration laws for the time. Right or wrong, I comply with them when adjudicating visas, but I wonder whether someone with just a high school diploma from an African country should be emigrating to the U.S., where people with U.S. high school (and college) diplomas are finding it hard to get by. I know other countries do it differently, and maybe it’s time to take a serious look of immigration that goes beyond the Rio Grande.
But to get back to the beginning – a week at FSI, and then a few days visiting my sister on Cape Cod. Interstates and 24 hour IHOPs, no smoking in restaurants and Mexican restaurants.
I’m trying a new route — Cotonou to Accra by car, then non-stop to Dulles. Gets me into Washington about six hours earlier and no change in Paris, but the drive to Accra may make this a one time thing. There’s another alternative opening up soon, Brussels Air to Brussels and then United to the U.S. I may try that one when I head home for R&R in October.