National Geographic News
LONDON - JULY 22:  Arfa Khatun Chowdury, from Bangladesh, holds her certificate of naturalisation after becoming a British citizen at a Citizenship Ceremony for forty people at Banqueting House, Whitehall on July 22, 2008 in London, England.

A woman holds her certificate of naturalization after becoming a British citizen.

Photograph by Cate Gillon, Getty Images

Brett Line and Linda Poon

National Geographic

Published June 30, 2013

The Senate last week overwhelmingly approved a bill aimed at comprehensive immigration reform. But conservative opposition to creating a path to citizenship for immigrants in the country illegally gives the sweeping legislation an uncertain fate in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives.

Eleven million undocumented immigrants live in the United States, but not everyone who leaves their native country for a better life aims to settle in America. Countries across the globe have had to decide who to let inside their borders.

As immigration reform comes to a head, we take a look at how other countriesthose that have been recognized for having some of the most open, or the most restrictive, immigration policies—are dealing with their huddled masses.

Canada

To combat a shortage of skilled labor that has been stifling the country's economic growth since the 1970s, Canada has adopted one of the most open immigration policies in the world. As of 2010, the foreign-born population makes up 21.3 percent of the country's total population.

On April 1, the already immigration-friendly country launched a Start-up Visa Program in an effort to attract highly skilled foreign entrepreneurs. Immigrants with funding from Canadian venture capital firms or investment groups for a start-up business will be eligible for immediate permanent residency. If the new business fails, the entrepreneur will not be subject to deportation.

Japan

In a country where nationals favor a racially unique and homogenous society, the foreign population accounted for only 1.7 percent of the total population in 2010, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Japan's strict immigration—or, rather, anti-immigration—policies have drawn heavy criticism.

Like Canada, Japan is facing a rapidly declining population in which the low birthrate can barely match the death rate of the country's senior citizens. The population now sits at 128 million, but analysts estimate the number will have shrunk by a third in 2060, forcing the country to embrace more open policies.

Following the examples of Canada and the United Kingdom, Japan rolled out a new point-based system last spring to rate immigrants. Immigrants earn points based on their academic background and research or business experience, among other factors. Those who score higher—mainly professionals like professors, doctors, and corporate managers—will be given preferential treatment.

Australia

In 2012, Australia received a total of nearly 15,800 asylum claims, up 37 percent from the previous year, according to the United Nations. The country's Department of Immigration and Citizenship states that the Migration Act 1958 requires any noncitizen or person who is unlawfully in Australia to be detained. People without a valid visa are considered unlawful—including children. Migrant children, especially asylum seekers, have been detained in immigration detention centers for months or even years.

The Australian Government has responded to human rights complaints by removing children from detention centers and into community detention, or local housing. However, as of February 2013, there were still 1,062 children in the detention centers, according to the Australian Human Rights Commission.

Amid all the controversy, reports in April indicated that preparations have been made to bring children back to the notorious Curtin Immigration Detention Centre, which closed down in 2002 due to riots and protests. It reopened in 2011 and currently holds only adult single men. A portion of the center could be declared an "alternate place of detention," which the government does not define as a detention center.

Denmark

Denmark's stance on immigration has often been considered controversial. The largely homogenous country has reportedly offered immigrants cash incentives to leave if they cannot assimilate into Danish culture. The incentive was driven by the far-right Danish People's Party, which states on its website that "Denmark is not an immigrant-country and never has been. Thus we will not accept transformation to a multiethnic society."

One of Denmark's most scrutinized laws on immigration is the 24-year rule, which states that in order for the foreign spouse of a Danish citizen to qualify for citizenship both the Danish spouse and the foreign spouse must be at least 24 years old. The rule's purpose is to limit the number of immigrants, prevent forced marriages, and create a better integration process, according to a report by humanityinaction.org.

However, the law has prevented families from reuniting, sparking a debate over possible human rights violations. There are special circumstances where the law can be waived, such as if the spouse is a refugee, has underage children with connections to Denmark, or is handicapped or seriously ill.

Sweden

Sweden, which ranked first among 33 countries in the Migrant Integration Policy Index (MIPEX), is well-known for welcoming Muslim refugees fleeing war-torn nations like Iraq, Syria, and Somalia. But growing unemployment, which sits at 16 percent among foreign residents, and a recent string of violent riots have politicians and citizens questioning its open-door immigration policy.

Some critics point their fingers at costly liberal policies that created an abundance of jobs and attracted a steady flow of immigrant labor from nearby European countries. When job creation slowed, working immigrants stopped entering the country while the flow of unemployed, government-dependent asylum seekers picked up. In 2012, the number of asylum seekers arriving in Sweden jumped nearly 50 percent from the year before—hitting 43,900, the second highest year on record.

Opposition to immigration may still be in the minority, but the need for a more sustainable immigration policy has shot the Sweden Democrats, the far-right anti-immigration political party, up to third place in the polls and may give them political momentum in the 2014 elections.

United Kingdom

The United Kingdom saw a dramatic spike of immigrants in the last decade—from 4.6 million in 2001 to nearly 7.5 million in 2011, according to the U.K. Census. With the annual number of people entering the country far exceeding the number of those leaving, immigration has become the public's most important issue.

Adding to the problem, the U.K. Border Agency discovered last July that hundreds of thousands of migrants with expired visas may still be residing in the country, prompting the prime minister to call for tougher immigration reforms aimed at visa abusers. In late March, Immigration Minister Mark Harper announced that the government was considering a measure that will slap a £1,000 (U.S. $1,532) fee on migrants coming to the U.K. to work or study. The fee will serve as a security bond to be returned only when immigrants return home following the expiration of their visas.

Have you tried to immigrate to another country? Share your experiences in the comments.

102 comments
Joe Kerzwild
Joe Kerzwild

Hi, I just want to move to Canada, work a low paying job, preferable at a Value Village thrift store, possibly a Pizzeria, and just be able to play online poker legally (Pokerstars). Can somebody help me accomplish this???

I assure you that neither I nor my fiancé have any interest in taking any kind of decent paying job away from your economy. Any help would be much obliged

david dasvinson
david dasvinson

Canadian immigration laws are horrible. Very unfair to local residents are very misleading to the immigrants. I personally, as an 12+ years immigrant, believe that Canada does not have the infrastructure to support such huge influx of immigrants. People come to Canada with the belief that they are wanted here, and their skills are appreciated, but this is very far from the truth. Canada needs entry level, low paid employees. I guess the Canadian government makes good money charging big fees for immigration upfront. The second big problem in Canada is a  total lack of social coherence. Immigrants are literally stuck in their own national community. There is very little interaction going on between the locals and the newcomers. Most of the time, highly skilled immigrants hear none-sense such a "Canadian Experience" or "Overqualified" which is simply put: "sorry, we just do not have job for you" or" we do not want you". Latest I heard was that US experience is not valid in Canada which is very laughable.

I believe that supporting a higher birth-rate in Canada could be a better option than just attracting foreigners.Makes no sense at all that Canadian government does not invest in the creation of own children, but complains of "aging population". In order to foster more children being born, however more investment is needed in the society, which Canadian government is very bad at.

I personally advise a lot of potential immigrants to reconsider their decision coming to Canada. Canada is not what it looks like from abroad.

Pacita Dimacali
Pacita Dimacali

In 1970 I arrived in the US as a student from the Philippines Before entering the country, I was required to have all kinds of shots and x-rays. 


Eventually, I got married and settled in. I obtained my citizenship after 6 years. It took a total of 19 years (up to 1995)  to petition for my parents and all 4 siblings (one of whom was married with children).  In all occasions, I had to show proof that I was financially able to house/feed them so that they did not become wards of the state. And it took another 12  years for my married brother to petition for his adult children.  They all went through the same process of shots, x-rays. We all waited for the requisite residency requirements before applying for, and taking the tests for citizenship. 


1970-2007 ---- 37 years of doing it the legal way.

Bob Davis
Bob Davis

What about the other Countries?

Hina Sher
Hina Sher

The time you land in Canada, you get permanent residence and the babies born on Canadian land are Canadians without any other complexities or long waiting of many years.So Canada is the best

Ranvena Oncai
Ranvena Oncai

I'm of the impression that 90% or better of those who commented on this article have never read a National Geographic, or at least never understood the words in one. I am amazed when I read about these writers and photographers that travel all over the world to gain perspective on different cultures. More amazing still is that everywhere they go, they discover that the good and bad exist everywhere.


Yet human nature seems to have us drawing superficial lines and colors between us. Are immigration laws important? Yes, of course they are. Are they a convenient excuse for people looking for a witch to burn? Apparently so, especially people from my own country... thanks for making every US citizen look like an idiot. Honestly, quit raving about 'Mexicans' like they are some fairy tale monsters. A lot of those people you're spitting your hate at are trying desperately to escape a country where their own children are at risk of rape, kidnapping, or murder. I'm not condoning illegal immigration but PLEASE at least act like you're talking about humans and not some biblical plague.

Ranvena Oncai
Ranvena Oncai

 I'm of the impression that 90% or better of those who commented on this article have never read a National Geographic, or at least never understood the words in one. I am amazed when I read about these writers and photographers that travel all over the world to gain perspective on different cultures. More amazing still is that everywhere they go, they discover that the good and bad exist everywhere.


Yet human nature seems to have us drawing superficial lines and colors between us. Are immigration laws important? Yes, of course they are. Are they a convenient excuse for people looking for a witch to burn? Apparently so, especially people from my own country... thanks for making every US citizen look like an idiot. Honestly, quit raving about 'Mexicans' like they are some fairy tale monsters. A lot of those people you're spitting your hate at are trying desperately to escape a country where their own children are at risk of rape, kidnapping, or murder. I'm not condoning illegal immigration but PLEASE at least act like you're talking about humans and not some biblical plague.

Brooke Trout
Brooke Trout

Anyone who thinks Japan, Denmark, etc, have too intolerant a stance on immigration should look to this country, Canada, and then the 'closed-door' policy - or at least shutting the door just a LITTLE -   appears to make much more sense.

As a Canadian, I truly resent the extrEme open-door immigration policy here which seems to have exploded in the past 10years.  It's out of control, highly unfair (legally, socially and economically) and for the most part, generations-long Canadians have become pandering, politically-correct second class citizens to the huge influx of foreigners who arrive - many with not so noble intentions in mind - monthly by the boatload.

Where does it stop?



Evan Kemp
Evan Kemp

I live in Vancouver Canada, and it's very easy to see how badly the Canadian Immigration policy has failed. 

Peyton Smith
Peyton Smith

If Their wasn't imperialism and Colonialism There wouldn't be an immigration problem.  These nations that have exploited the wealth of other nations leaving them impoverished should recognize  their self imposed dilemma that they have brought this on themselves.

Paulo Loreto Lim
Paulo Loreto Lim

Migrating from the Philippines to the United States came after receiving a proper visa to relocate to the country. Following migration, later became eligible for Permanent Residency, afterwards, Citizenship -- seems there is already a "path to citizenship" in place.

Later, was able to claim dual citizenship with the United States the Philippines, and also have a work visa for Australia.

All were acquired by complying with the laws of the respective nations.

Rosa Mejia
Rosa Mejia

It saddens me to hear Republicans who despite their religious and conservative beliefs view legalizing nearly 12 million people from all parts of the world, not just Mexico, as something that is not a positive move for this country. They are not taking into account that all these people are already here and are in our society contributing in so many ways to the country's economic growth as well as socio emotional development. They are here and politicians should cut the bull **** about that if they broke the law, they don't deserve to be recognized as members of our society as if they never break any laws when they go to other countries and kill their people and destroy their homes but hey as long as you have a good reason for doing it and you are the United States, it's okay right. Not! Our society is so entitled that is so sickening and poisonous to the development of our present and future generations. The reality is that we are all interdependent for growth and survival and people need to get over their stupid nazi like mentality. We don't want another holocaust to happen again do we? 

I agree that there needs to be regulation in immigration laws but Americans must see the issue as it is and i think that legalizing those who are already here and are productive members of society is the best way to go for the country and its citizens. Our society will be safer also because we will be able to identify and prosecute those who are committing crimes. Also, the number of immigrants who open small businesses is a lot higher than Americans so our economy will benefit greatly if the government granted a path to citizenship to those immigrants. 

S Robins
S Robins

Americans, read this: highlights from Mexico's immigration policy:

-         An illegal immigrant who sneaks into the country, or fails to file his papers, will face fines, jail, deportation, or a combination of the three.

-        An illegal immigrant who forges his documents, or falsifies them by lying when he fills them out, will face fines, jail, deportation, or a combination of the three.

-        An illegal immigrant who takes a job faces fines, up to six years in prison, and deportation.

-        All immigrants must provide proof of their legal status if the authorities demand it.  Failure to do so will result, once more, in fines, jail, deportation, or a combination of the three.


(copy & pasted from: "The Daily Caller" /Robert Laurie)

Mexico says: "Hey you Gringos-do as I say not do as I do".

How insanely hypocritical of Mexico to ask America to give Mexicans- who routinely steal into our country-a free ride & immunity from prosecution. 

Steve Fee
Steve Fee

For the past 6 years I have lived in Vietnam. I am married to a Vietnamese  and we have a child. I am required to hold a valid passport and visa, report to the local state police every 3 months for a passport stamp and have periodically been visited by the local police at my residence to ensure I am not doing anything illegal. My landlord must get approval to be allowed to rent to me. I cannot work unless I apply for a work permit when I am hired by an employer, I have to have the job first. I can never become a citizen(usually). I cannot own property independently or start a business of my own.  If I commit a crime I am subject to deportation, fines and jail. I can attend school if I pay for it. I get no subsidization of any kind, I pay for my health care expenses. I am paying a 10 to 15% sales tax on everything.  As an expat these are accepted rules and I have become used to these requirements and the bureaucracy that employs them. The violation of these rules will garner stiff fines, detention, deportation or a ban from future entering the country. I don't feel unusually discriminated against as these rules apply to every expat. I think it is a reasonable system. I knew these were the rules when I came here.

It is my belief that if the US would implement similar rules, immigrants would accept and abide by these requirements as just a part of life. Those that don't should be subject to similar punitive treatment as in Vietnam. The beauty of the US is that eventually an immigrant/expat can become a citizen and an immigrant can work and start a business and pay their own way from the minute they are allowed in the country. Think of the number of US citizens who could work as complience employees if this system or one similar were to be employed. The bureaucracy to employ these rules already exists. 

jacob gyzen
jacob gyzen

As an Australian, much like the rest of the developed world, I believe that we, as people born with opportunities due to where we live, don't have a right to restrict migration to a point where people in need of asylum or refuge can't come to our countries. Where for me it becomes a problem, much like the reference of Swedish riots in this article, these immigrants begin to cause problems and strife in their new resident country, then it becomes a issue of security and safety of the people. I believe a countries interest must lie with what the people need, and if immigration is going to bring civil unrest to a country then it is a hazard that needs to be slowed, but otherwise, we have little to no understanding of what they are going through and the struggles they are facing in their own countries. For people to get on a boat not knowing if they are going to get to their destination, just with the severe desperation of getting out of their own war torn homes, that it something that can not be held lightly by any politician.

Rhonda Townes
Rhonda Townes

I'm from Canada the article does not state all the facts immigration in Canada has been tougher for them to enter The Faster Removal of Foreign Criminal just got passed any immigrant that has a criminal history commits a crime while here that requires 6 months jail time or more is removed from the country with no appeal and anyone that comes over from a safe country will not be able to appeal or come over for compassionate and humanitarian grounds and in the work any terrorist activity on record and has Canadian citizenship will be stripped of it and deported and heath care has been stripped to immigrants and non citizens will pay for medical out of own pocket why should the get gold plated health care when Canadians who were born here like myself do not get that luxury at least minister kenney is putting us first for once. Canada has to many immigrants and it is about time things change  for these immigrants and permanent residents. fixed the dependent age to 19 instead 21 so that means they would be on their own instead of a parent sponsoring them and for their parents to have to make 50,000 CAD  a family to support their elderly parents for sponsorship and they can not  live on welfare and have to be a citizen for 10 years before they can collect unemployment insurance or a pension Thank you Mr Kenney for getting this right it is the best thing the Harper government has done.

Rhonda Townes
Rhonda Townes

I'm from Canada the article does not state all the facts immigration in Canada has been tougher for them to enter The Faster Removal of Foreign Criminal just got passed any immigrant that has a criminal history commits a crime while here that requires 6 months jail time or more is removed from the country with no appeal and anyone that comes over from a safe country will not be able to appeal or come over for compassionate and humanitarian grounds and in the work any terrorist activity on record and has Canadian citizenship will be stripped of it and deported and heath care has been stripped to immigrants and non citizens will pay for medical out of own pocket why should the get gold plated health care when Canadians who were born here like myself do not get that luxury at least minister kenney is putting us first for once. Canada has to many immigrants and it is about time things change  for these immigrants and permanent residents. fixed the dependent age to 19 instead 21 so that means they would be on their own instead of a parent sponsoring them and for their parents to have to make 50,000 CAD  a family to support their elderly parents for sponsorship and they can not  live on welfare and have to be a citizen for 10 years before they can collect unemployment insurance or a pension Thank you Mr Kenney for getting this right it is the best thing the Harper government has done.

Rhonda Townes
Rhonda Townes

I'm from Canada the article does not state all the facts immigration in Canada has been tougher for them to enter The Faster Removal of Foreign Criminal just got passed any immigrant that has a criminal history commits a crime while here that requires 6 months jail time or more is removed from the country with no appeal and anyone that comes over from a safe country will not be able to appeal or come over for compassionate and humanitarian grounds and in the work any terrorist activity on record and has Canadian citizenship will be stripped of it and deported and heath care has been stripped to immigrants and non citizens will pay for medical out of own pocket why should the get gold plated health care when Canadians who were born here like myself do not get that luxury at least minister kenney is putting us first for once. Canada has to many immigrants and it is about time things change  for these immigrants and permanent residents. fixed the dependent age to 19 instead 21 so that means they would be on their own instead of a parent sponsoring them and for their parents to have to make 50,000 CAD  a family to support their elderly parents for sponsorship and they can not  live on welfare and have to be a citizen for 10 years before they can collect unemployment insurance or a pension Thank you Mr Kenney for getting this right it is the best thing the Harper government has done.

CK JAGUAR
CK JAGUAR

It is very interesting that liberals, "progressives" and illegal aliens all remember to lock their doors when they leave the house.   If sincere, they would leave them unlocked, and the doors open.  Someone just needing food or "looking for a better life" might need access. But somehow these heartless liberals all insist on locking  those " desperate and needy"people out.  Why is that?

Gerard Mathias
Gerard Mathias

THE POPULATION OF THE UNITED STATES HAS GONE FROM 200 MILLION IN 1960 TO OVER 300 MILLION IN JUST 50 YEARS. MAINLY DUE TO IMMIGRATION. WE ARE WELL ON OUR WAY TO BECOMING ANOTHER OVER-CROWDED MESS OF A COUNTRY LIKE INDIA, MEXICO, BRAZIL, ETC. DOES NO ONE CARE? STRICT IMMIGRATION IS THE ONLY THING THAT WILL SAVE US FROM THAT FATE...

Dave J
Dave J

Loose use of the term racist is just one more attempt to shut down debate, just like Harry Reid did in the Senate last week.  Americans are not racists, as witness the election and reelection of a black President.  Giving up on the word of  law to get low-priced produce is not a fair deal. 

Janet Still N P
Janet Still N P

@Ranvena Oncai  Thanks for intelligent commenting, Ranvena. Over the recent two to three years, I have observed a dramatic increase in nonsense/irrational political, so-called religious, viewpoints on the comment boards of nearly every news site I have enjoyed reading for years. I recently read an article suggesting that this increase of apparent obliviousness to what constitutes intelligent debate is actually a new tactic of various extremist groups to influence or subvert the spread of ideas that do not support their causes. Perhaps, as with any educational forum, we should simply go on with our conversations and simply ignore the obviously inflammatory commentary? As a mother, I quickly learned that the behavior I most appreciated in my children was the behavior to which I gave my undivided attention. The undesirable behavior, receiving very little reward in the form of my attention shriveled up and died away. Just a loving thought.... 

Justin Garner
Justin Garner

@Brooke Trout it won't. Once Mexico and the Democrat Party finish their quest to bankrupt the US and collapse the job market and currency, they will need a new source to collect all their welfare and benefits from.

Massinissa Ad
Massinissa Ad

@Peyton Smith Another self-hating tree-hugging marxist...

The last country Sweden has invaded was Norway in 1814.
I'm sure the Norwegians have gotten over it by now.

Bertie Anchor
Bertie Anchor

@Paulo Loreto Lim  Precisely correct, sir.  The U.S. only wants immigrants to come forward, as is required by law in every country in the world, and join our society officially.  There is not one country that allows people to sneak across their borders and live without being integrated into their society legally.  If you or I were caught doing that, anywhere on earth, we would be either jailed or deported (or worse).

Our ancestors spent centuries trying to make human society worldwide operate within a framework of laws.  It is not perfect, but without it, the ensuing chaos is a story that has already been told many times, in tears and blood. 

That is the issue - millions of people avoiding legal requirements to contribute to, and benefit from, our systems of life, are creating a kind of chaos in our midst.  This massive disregard for the spirit and letter of the law is a rent in the fabric of our nation that must be mended. 

The U.S. government should be saying - come forward, brothers and sisters, and be a true part of us.  Bring your unique differences with you and continue making the United States a melting pot of peoples and cultures.  You are welcome.  Come forward.


Frank Booth
Frank Booth

@Paulo Loreto Lim Exactly. There are laws in place and there is a pathway that already exists. The problem is that the laws haven't been enforced as they should be. The debate is political here in the US, not humanitarian, IMO. Either side with the disingenuous "compassion" of liberals or the disguised (or not) prejudice of conservatives. In the end, it's all about votes or the prevention thereof.   

Rick Dewey
Rick Dewey

@Paulo Loreto Lim I applaud you and your respect and responsibility to abide by the law! We love, respect, and welcome LEGAL responsible immigrants, to the United States! Good job and God Bless You!

Rick Dewey
Rick Dewey

@Rosa Mejia Every law breaker must be penalized and entering Illegally is no exception. Every other country on the planet has very strict rules, why should we be any different? So as long as they do what every other LEGAL immigrants do, to legally gain citizenship, I'm okay with that. Pay the fees, wait your turn, etc...  If your here already, illegally, your a bad person and should go to jail, it's the law! It doesn't matter if you've been free of illegal activity since you broke that law. What if I ran sex slaves for about ten years, then quit and didn't break any other laws since, got a job, paid taxes, should I be free from penalty? NO! I would have to pay for my crime, no matter what! The law is the law you can't choose which laws you want to obey! The USA is not responsible for all the starving children on the planet! Each country has problems, why isn't their leaders and government responsible for them? Who says we have to.save everyone? We cannot possibly save the entire planet! If we are to survive as a great country, we must have strict rules mad laws and everyone MUST obey or LEAVE or get locked up!         

Scot Lyf
Scot Lyf

@Rosa Mejia  Problem is Mexican culture is what it is,.. look at Mexico,.. look at east Los Angeles,... and others.   General consensus is that Mexicans have too many children, and, many women shouldn't have children(with any peoples on that matter), even though they're able.   It's a matter of the quality of the society and environment,... take care of things nicely, don't let things go to ghetto gang trashyness and sprawling messiness.  

Todd Bowling
Todd Bowling

@Rosa Mejia Thank you Rosa for telling "we" Americans what we should and should not stand for regarding the laws of our country. This is our society and if you are not interested in what our society has to offer, by all means, please see yourself back to the wonderful country from which you so happily defected. Yes you are welcomed to come here and enjoy the benefits which come from becoming an American citizen, but please just say "Thank you" and quit being so critical of a party of which you obviously know nothing of. By the way, I am a Democrat!

joseph yechout
joseph yechout

@S Robins We should adhere to the Rule of Law and

not  give millions of illegals free unexamined citizenship 

and Carte Blanche  for every benefit we in this country,

used to, enjoy. What was wrong with legal  entry as 

every other lawful citizen has had  to perform?   

    Nut this has been the tactic of the radical left,

flood our land with Democratic voters and create a

crisis that they can then take advantage of..

    As Saul Alinsky advised in his book, Rule for Radicals.  This has and is being done. 

joseph yechout
joseph yechout

@Steve Fee But, Liberal Marxist Radicals have infiltrated  our halls of learning and positions of gov. and have  convinced the " useful Idiots" that this is the humane

way to go. 

Peyton Smith
Peyton Smith

@jacob gyzen Why didn't they think about that with the aboriginies.  Your people have literally decimated them.

Peyton Smith
Peyton Smith

@colin jones No your crooked wall street and military spending has cost americans millions. why don't you go back to Europe

Zen Galacticore
Zen Galacticore

@Gerard Mathias I care. And just an FYI- the U.S. population was actually around 160 million in 1960. It's absurd for the most advanced country on the planet to double its population in just two generations. It's all about greed and, "getting to the top". What better way for those already here to get on top of the heap than by allowing in tens of millions of low-cost laborers. IMO, that's what it's really all about. It certainly isn't about compassion, that's just what the elites try to fob off on the general public.

Kris Bond-Pickard
Kris Bond-Pickard

@Janet Still N P Oh, were it so!  Like you and Ranvena, I have found it increasingly frustrating to participate in intellectual conversation on internet comments spaces/forum boards.  As a long-time subscriber to magazines like "National Geographic" long before they had an internet site (...I just made myself feel depressingly old...) I am disappointed in the lack of information or critical thought that goes into inflammatory, narrow-minded comments all over the internet.  I've been pointedly avoiding the comments sections for many moons now - they only weaken my faith in humanity.  Every once in awhile I check out comments in a highly-charged topic in the hope that intellectual debate is going on.  I often leave disappointed.  


But, by finding the comments the two of you have made I am once again renewed that some day individuals truly interested in open, logical, well-organized DEBATE - not spitting out blurbs of articles posted on extreme Group-Think websites they haven't even read in full - will take place.


There are many sides to the immigration issues in many countries throughout the world, and spitting venom at individuals is not the answer.  Yet many "Internet Warriors" aren't really interested in improving life - for others or for themselves, really - or they would do more thinking and more active participation, and less hate mongering in the comments section.


Like you, Janet, I've tried just ignoring the comments of ignorant posters who have no time for serious and productive discussions, but every once in awhile that well of tolerance overflows, and like Ranvena I feel like lashing out at the ignorance that permeates our current society.


Rock on, Ladies - we carry a torch that few in our world attempt to burden themselves with:  the idea that the resolution to our problems is intellectual debate and critical thinking, not blasting each other with hate-filled messages based on half-truths found in small blurbs of stories on a biased website somewhere in the recesses of the internet.

Hayk Khachatryan
Hayk Khachatryan

@Rick Dewey 


I do agree that breaking the law should be unacceptable in any case. For me, the law comes first and it should reflect the values of a society. 


But the question is - are you familiar with your country's immigration laws? The so called "Legal" immigration is a joke. Let me take it to the next level, something like "Legal" immigration does not even exist - according to the values of the U.S. and the culture and the standards set by the nation's forefathers. 


"Every human being has a right to life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness", right? Not every human being has a right to have a family member in the U.S., sign up for an H1-B visa to sell his freedom and fate to a single employer for 7 years (or more in some cases), or waste your time and money on a SINGLE high risk startup idea to fail and get banned from the country ultimately.


That's right, there is only three general ways to join the standards and values of the U.S. society, none of which conform to its own standards:


1. Green card through family = society of cronies. "Imagine sending to the next olympics sons and daughters of gold medal winners" - Warren Buffet


2. Green card through employment = slave labor. Imagine not being able to change jobs and donating your fate and freedom to a single employer who can result in you being banned from the country and everything you built and believed in. Sounds like a slave labor to me. "Everyone is created equal and is entitled to life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness" - Thomas Jefferson


3. Green card through entrepreneurship - another joke. Whatever happened to the society of failure tolerance and acceptance. Submit a business plan with all the possible and impossible details of a venture that is only imaginable and hope you put all your time and money on a single thing with no guarantee to succeed. And the best part - when you fail you are out. No second chance, not even an option to revise. How many entrepreneurs succeeded from the very first shot? Let me guess - none? "I have not failed. I have found 10,000 ways that won't work" - Thomas Edison


Not to add that most of the processes can go with lots of unreasonable approaches, headaches, and unbearable bureaucracy. H1B visa has a whopping 50% rejection rate!


Bottom line - the current U.S. laws make it next to impossible to immigrate in the sense of immigrating according to the society's values and vision of its forefathers.


P.S. Don't get me wrong. I do admire the values and culture of the U.S society. Moreover, I do believe in universal values and think that like-minded people from all over the world need to get together around these to be able to withstand global challenges. But it really bothers me when people mention "legal" immigration all the time like there is something like that. JUST BAN ALL IMMIGRATION ALTOGETHER AND STATE THAT IN AN UPFRONT AND STRAIGHTFORWARD MANNER.


Michael Destefanis
Michael Destefanis

@Todd Bowling @Rosa Mejia It's a tough one but if you go to any other country out there, they are not going to simply let you stay in their borders if you're found to be there illegally. Mexico is one of the most brutal when it comes to immigration policy as well. I think the issue is so passionate is because illegals were harbored here for so long that when you look at the human factor, you're ripping people out of lives they've build up. But honestly they committed a crime via breaking our immigration law by border jumping or staying in with an expired VISA while millions of actual American citizens who are on welfare or unemployment benefits find it much harder to get a job nowadays. Those born here do need to have priority at those jobs. The 'unwanted' ones can simply be given to the unemployed to help contribute to the welfare program. Finland has a program like that in which if you collect welfare and are not enrolled in school, it's something like every 6 months you're required to work for a 3-4 month period in a job you're placed in (usually given a choice from some select ones that you would more or less qualify for). The aim of the program is helping to better sustain the welfare program through labor and less through taxes while also providing an opportunity for a permanent job. If nothing, it gets someone work experience. I'd argue we need something like that here.

However Rosa, you bring up an invalid argument in the sense that  when you break the immigration law of any other country out there, you are arrested, sometimes for years, and then you are ultimately deported. The United States should not be an exception to common law regarding illegal immigration and grant a free pass on those that have violated our laws. Did you know that in many countries if you are found there illegally you are permanently banned from entry? It's true. Look it up.  I'd argue that the best way to handle current illegal immigrants is to in fact deport the ones who have committed other crimes while here and the ones here do need to pay for their crime of illegally entering the country in some fashion.

I guess it's a very Republican way of thinking despite the fact I identify as a Democrat. But people are getting too passionate about people who have broken our laws and stayed here illegally. We have millions on welfare who can replace these workers who are here illegally and citizens MUST come first in any society. That's not saying that we should close up our border or make it impossible for anyone to immigrate here. But Canada for example is one of the easiest countries to get in to and you still cannot simply go there with nothing and stay. You have to have money to prove you can sustain yourself for 2 years, you have to have a minimum of 2 years of actual employment there to even be considered for a permanent resident permit.  If you can pay for your own schooling, you might get an easy in on a student VISA but suffice to say, immigration is not generally an option for the poor. Nor should it be in a country that has a pretty damn high unemployment rate. My vote is to make those of us on welfare go to work as they do it in Finland and to severely hamper the practice of labor outsourcing.


Michael Destefanis
Michael Destefanis

@joseph yechout I'm Democrat and I agree with you on this. You go to any other country out there illegally, watch what happens when you're caught. If you're lucky, you're not jailed for long and simply deported. In some countries you can spend years in jail. I do not agree with amnesty for millions of people who violated our immigration law nor should their children be allowed to stay hands down either. That loophole needs to be shut tight especially as it's not really humane to separate a family anyway.

The argument that they are doing jobs most Americans don't want to do is not a valid one, especially considering we have millions on welfare and unemployment who need to be working. In Finland they have a program in place in which every 6 months you're on welfare and not enrolled in some sort of school you are placed in a temp job, usually something menial and low skilled but they do try and match you up with something you can actually do. The point of the program is assist in maintaining the welfare program beyond tax dollars, give an opportunity for a permanent job (some people do get hired on by the employer permanently) and if anything else, you get some work experience.

So yeah those staying home collecting a welfare check who are truly able to work need to be put in these jobs that illegals are being allowed to do unchecked. This would also help reduce the class warfare that exists against the poor. Not much but it would be a start.

Hayk Khachatryan
Hayk Khachatryan

@Michael Destefanis @joseph yechout 

All these is a result of "broken immigration" system. There is no credible way to immigrate according to the law. See my comment above. Doesn't justify illegals, but just BAN ALL IMMIGRATION - THAT'S ALL.

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