"Some eight years ago, when I escaped my home country of Eritrea – where
travel is considered a privilege, not a right – and landed at a US
airport, I had wrongly assumed that I could finally reclaim my dignity
and humanity in what appeared to be a free country. But in the years
that followed, I learned the hard way that for an asylum seeker like me,
in any country, finding real freedom is a lifelong journey.
Immigration and asylum systems in most countries around the world,
including the US, are shaped by a mindset that considers immigrants not
fully human. I had to go through unnecessary, dehumanising and degrading
medical tests and submit endless, hard-to-get-hold-of documents to
secure permanent residency in the US. But even after I managed to get
the coveted Green Card and acquire some legal standing in the country,
the American immigration system’s attempts to dehumanise me did not come
to an end.
To this day, every time I attempt to travel internationally, I am
reminded of the hierarchies of humanity. The never-ending security
checks, Kafkaesque application procedures, and aggressive interrogations
by airport workers make me feel guilty for even asking for permission to
travel. I know I am not alone in feeling this way – immigration systems
are built to make immigrants feel like they pose a threat to their host
country and the world at large."
Via Frederick Wilson II.
*** Xanni ***
Chief Scientist, Xanadu
Partner, Glass Wings
Manager, Serious Cybernetics