Improve U.S. Passport and Visa Process.

June 23, 2019

Found at the very heart of the human psyche, the urge to travel and explore is both deep-rooted and long-standing. 

 

Humans have always wanted to know what was over the next horizon, mountain range, plain or desert.  Travel is instinctive, natural and very, very human.


That's what makes Trump's nativism, attacking and banning immigrants, suggesting walls and travel bans, so deeply troubling.  It is of course no coincidence that there are numerous reports of Trump's dislike of travel. 

 

However, for the rest of us who aren't fear-mongering, supposed billionaires with a continually suspicious eye of anything that is not male, white and American, travel is an entirely natural thing to do. 

 

It brings people together, increases understanding and solidarity and generally improves not only the quality of our lives but the global community too.


Before Trump ever slithered his way into the White House, the US passport and visa system was already notoriously labyrinthine and cumbersome, close on not fit for purpose. 

 

Passports costs are prohibitive and delays in processing are frustrating. In January of this year, an adult U.S.passport went up to $145.00, which for some is prohibitively high. And that’s with an average
wait of six weeks. If you pay for expedited production of your passport, for receipt within three weeks, then you are paying out even more at $175.00.

 

Consequently, it is no surprise that only
36% of Americans actually have a passport.  Compare that to the U.K. and Australia where 75% of the adult population hold a valid passport.


Granted, the U.S. is a vast country with a lot to see and do.  However, from coast to coast, and from state to state, while there are some differences, essentially wherever you are in the U.S., it is still going to be for the most part an English-speaking country, with American societal and cultural norms as the standard.


What of those from overseas coming to the U.S.? Unfortunately, that doesn’t make pretty
reading either. The visa process was vexing and perilous enough prior to the emergence of Trump.  In its present form, it is archaic and in need of a drastic overhaul to ensure that visas are issued in a much more timely fashion and also in a less prejudicial way. 

 

A tourist visa to visit the U.S. can take just a few weeks to process in the travelers’ home country. However, there is a big catch with that as your country of origin can change those weeks into months, or even
longer.


Throw into the mix Trump’s preposterous and highly discriminatory travel ban, presently in place per Syria, Iran, Libya, Venezuela, North Korea, Yemen and Somalia, and the whole travel to the U.S. situation isn’t just problematic, it’s near poisonous.


Now more than ever before, Americans need to rub shoulders with others from around the world and by doing so, utterly repudiate the bigoted and divisive rhetoric that Trump and the vast-majority of the conservative movement currently peddle. 
 

Travel is a two-way highway. Americans should be encouraged to go out and see the rest of the world and visitors should be welcomed with open arms to the U.S.  No-one is for a moment suggesting that the passport and visa system should be simplified to the point of being non-

existent or non-effective. 

 

Rather they should be made both affordable and way more-user friendly. Despite the fevered imagination of the majority of the right-wing, the rest of the world outside of the U.S. is not teeming with gun-wielding extremists waiting to mow down innocent Americans. 

 

If anything, that sort of extremist action is actually propagated by home-grown white American males with plenty of sickening post-mass shooting “thoughts and prayers” from the conservative movement and its NRA stooge allies. It is a simple formula. Where-ever you spin the globe and then point at, there are a vast majority of good people and a tiny minority of bad. To suggest otherwise, as Trump and his
band of froth-at-the-mouth, Fox News watching lackeys like to think, is simplistic at best andhorrendously racist and xenophobic at worst.


Now is the time not only for the U.S. to unleash a tidal wave of true progressives into office and wash away Trump and his putrid MAGA movement into the trash-can of history, but also for the U.S to ease up both the passport and visa application systems so that everyone can more easily enjoy travel.

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