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Tuesday, May 02, 2006

The Legal-Then-Illegal Alien 


I have been negligent in covering one aspect of the illegal alien issue. Let's start with the latest from Gra Nomad Wanderings:


We were incorrectly assured that we would not need a visa when coming to USA. We got one for Brazil and will get one for China. (Couldn't get the China one in Sydney as it was too early to get one seeing we don't expect to get to China till Oct or Nov).

So, as we flew into Miami, they asked us to complete a visa waiver form. Seemed like a good idea. We completed that. When we arrived, the official stamped our VW form (visa waiver) 14 June.... which is 3 months after we arrived. I guessed (incorrectly) that it would be easy to have that extended. Wrong!...

WE HAVE TO LEAVE THE COUNTRY BY 14 JUNE IF NOT BEFORE! It's that simple. We have already booked into the BIKE ACROSS KANSAS with good friends from Wichita, Kansas. We'd been planning this event for years! Now, it looks like it's out the window. BAK goes from 10-17 June....



However, some don't leave - occasionally with significant consequences:


Violations of immigration laws are very common among terrorists. Not only were 12 of the 48 terrorists illegal aliens when they committed their crimes, at least five others had lived in the country illegally at some point prior to taking part in terrorism. At least five others had committed significant violations of immigration laws prior to their taking part. For those that were illegal aliens, most entered legally on temporary visas and then overstayed.


And a wall across the border with Mexico won't take care of that. And a wall with Mexico certainly won't take care of things in Thailand:


So the company I work for sets us up with a one year visa for working in Thailand. In accordance with the rules of this one year visa, we are required to leave the country (literally step across the border and back) every three months. So, with our three month mark nearing, we decided that during our last trip to Mae Sot (border town), we would take the quick and easy walk across the bridge and get our Burmese stamps, and then it'd be done for another 3 months. Not without a few complications, tho. Upon arrival at the Thai border guard's desk, I quickly stated that we would like to travel across to Burma, and return the same day. The guard took my passport looked at it and said, "youve over stayed". I replied that I was here on a 3 month visa, and guided him to the page on my passport with all of the stamps from the Thai Consulate in Toronto. To which he nodded and proceeded to point out the stamp that the Thai airport immigration officer had stamped upon my arrival (after 30hrs flying). There had been a mistake....the airport guard had stamped me in on a visitors visa (one month), my "legal" leaving date was March 23rd, rather than what I had expected, May 23rd.

Now everybody knows that the Thai government is serious about people who overstay their visas, (they have signs about it everywhere). And everybody also knows that in Thailand, getting mad will get you nowhere fast. So, upon being informed by the guard that I would be required to pay 500 baht ($15) per day that I have overstayed...I gave him a big smile and said in semi-laugh, "can you please help me?".



Luckily for Sarah, the guard helped her. Others weren't so lucky:


And now on the 23rd April…He has an overstay of 42 days…

The overstay fine was increased from Baht 200/day to Baht 500/day on 15th March 2006…So Johnnie Walker was fined Baht 21,000 for this overstay…Which was reduced to Baht 20,000…As this is the maximum fine for an overstay…



And Mexico? Roland Patrick links to an article from 2002 (emphasis mine):


Turpin, who lives in Kansas City, Mo., is one of thousands of North Americans doing business or living in Mexico without the proper documentation. The number of foreigners running underground businesses in tourist areas is a growing concern for local officials because they often skirt paying fees and taxes.

"It's not that we do not want them doing business," said Christopher Finkelstein Franyuti, San Miguel de Allende's coordinator of international relations. "We want them doing business but paying the duties."...

Foreign architects, musicians, engineers, accountants and others work in the town without permits, Finkelstein said. "They know that they are not paying taxes, and that is why they don't advertise exactly."

He's estimated that unlicensed business in the city costs the local government 4 million pesos — more than $360,000 — a year in lost taxes and fees.

Finkelstein recently discovered some 600 San Miguel rental properties on the Internet, all displaying U.S. or other international phone numbers.

The city used pictures of properties on the Internet to identify the owners of about 100 rentals and gave the information to Mexican immigration, tax, utility and social-security officials. The agencies didn't do much, except levy a few fines against rental property owners who didn't pay into their local workers' social-security accounts, Finkelstein said....

According to 2000 Mexican census data, 1,345 Americans are living in San Miguel de Allende, but locals put the number at 10,000 to 25,000 in the high season.

Undocumented Americans occasionally are caught working in restaurants, bars and clothing shops in San Miguel and can be kicked out of the country, but the numbers are low. Mexico deported nearly 1,000 Americans last year, according to data from the National Migration Institute, the federal immigration agency. The United States sends 10 times as many Mexicans home every month.

More than 5 million Americans visited Mexico's interior in 2005, and most were granted automatic six-month stays.

Mexican immigration agents aren't interested in going after tourists who overstay their visa or retirees who forgot to fill out the proper forms, said Hipolito Trevino Lecea, commissioner of the National Migration Institute.

Trevino said undocumented residents on both sides of the border were basically an administrative problem, not a criminal problem. Americans who are targeted for deportation probably were involved in some criminal activity, he said.

"The fundamental difference in economic terms is, in general, when a North American comes to Mexico to live he is making an investment," the Harvard-educated economist said.



Note the term "North American." When a Guatemalan (rather than a "North American") comes to Mexico to live, a different set of rules applies.

From the Ontario Empoblog (Latest OVVA news here)

Comments:
Correction - the last article was from 2006, not 2002.
 
Very interesting! Thanks for the research.
 
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