Fareed Zakaria is one of the few journalists who consistently writes insightful and well-researched opinions on politics and world affairs. His most recent piece, Hassle and Humiliation in Newsweek, discusses the sorry state of affairs in US immigration. This is his view of the difference between the 70’s and now: “The reality of the America that I experienced was a powerful refutation of the propaganda and caricatures of its enemies. But today, through inattention, stupidity and bureaucratic cowardice, the caricature is becoming reality.”
I think a large part of the problem is that most Americans never have to deal with immigration or visas in the US, and therefore don’t even know about the frustrations. Personally, we know several people going through the immigration process and the stories they tell are frankly embarrassing. Obtaining a visa is even worse—people are made to feel like criminals. For universities it’s become a stumbling block for recruitment and retainment of students, and made scientific conferences harder to hold in the US. There is a level of oversight that is necessary and proper, but today we have moved to an extreme and frustrating end, ultimately to the detriment of the country.