March 2006 Issue: All Bow to the Man With the Stamp
Now that we are through another sprint of make believe fat men and mandatory S.O. smooching we can look to the future and new beginnings. For us at XelaWho and some of the rest of you loiterers this means it’s time for a date with Mr. Border to feel the kiss of the visa stamp on our passports once again.
Unfortunately it is an unsaid law that everyone involved in the tri-monthly border ritual is underpaid, over intoxicated and thinks that you are to blame for a country wanting to build 8 thousand miles of wall to keep them out. The concept would seem not too difficult; stamp out, stamp in, but somehow our friends at the border manage to prove their creative ingenuity by inventing a new tax, bylaw, fine or other official mishap that incites dreams of spending sleepless nights in jaon with only tortillas to sleep on.
The pointlessness of the procedure, the 72 mandatory hours of being outside the country’s borders and the invented or over-looked rules are a constant “delight’’ and always made official by the finality of that stamp and the accompanying scribbled initials. One traveler we talked to somehow ended up with an exit stamp but no re-entrance stamp, another got his index fingers scanned only to have the information attached to his friends passport and yet another writes a new profession in every immigration questionnaire, proving once and for all that no one’s looking with the entrée “gun-trafficker”.
And, look, lets be honest, are they really so preoccupied with illegal immigrants coming from Europe in search of a “better life” in Central America? Has anyone you know ever paid a coyote to smuggle them from the States into Mexico? What have we done to deserve such an inane annoyance? I say no more penalties for staying longer than a few months. I say let’s make the borders more like fast food drive-throughs. I say crack down on the real culprits of corruption, warmongering and dictatorship, not North Americans or Europeans. After all, we’ve been so accommodating when Latin Americans want to come visit us…