I'm nowhere near as well travelled, but we do a lot of work in the middle east (some of the nastier parts too), which is a place you would imagine a white westerner would count seriously against you.
But, frankly, I've never felt safer or more welcomed in my life (apart from the odd dicey moment).
OK, the US is not terrible, unsafe or specifically unfriendly. But there are little things; some cities I just didn't feel overly welcome because I wasn't American. I'm in my mid twenties and ordering a beer with a meal got me some highly suspicious looks! Numerous times I have been questioned by police; for being sat at a bus depot with a rucksack (they made me miss a bus and were utterly unapologetic, grr), for being stood on a street waiting for my pickup (for about 20 minutes.. I think someone had actually called them) etc.
Don't get me wrong; I've met loads of really awesome, friendly and welcoming Americans. And mostly it is fine. But more than any other place I have been to you get treated with suspicion.
Note - I'm from the UK.
[Edit: Note that I really enjoy visiting the US - the country is great, its just that the experience of getting in can be a bit odd, although I have to admit that the last few times were all perfectly pleasant].
We landed in Israel and I realised I had handed over the wrong passport (as we work in the region a lot we all have a 2nd passport for Israel, it is just sensible), cue face to palm moment.
They "detained" me for about 45 minutes, but I have heard of people taking longer (and, in fairness, shorter).
"No. But I do write software for a living, how did you know?" And he pointed to the "PHP Cookbook" I was using to write on.
Helps if you are working there.
Nice place, and I loved being there, but I was always nervous going in and out.
I'm not sure it is really related to that, my colleagues (a mix of Asian, Arab & British looking people) all have the same sort of experience.
I think it is a product of being a) foreign (in general) and b) young.
Problem is; it is only a minority (IMO anyway) and a fairly small one. But they tend to be vocal/obvious, and it is one of those things that doesn't take much to make you feel uncomfortable.
I don't think there is anywhere much that I like better than Manhattan! :)
It's, of course, frustrating and I don't know what to do about it.
For future reference: Try to show assets you own (real estate, homes etc) that incentivize your return; Bring literature about your conference, maybe ads etc (they need to see that its purpose is not an immigration scam); if you're married or have kids, that helps a great deal. Good luck!
(Ignorant American here)
or a few miscellaneous others (Canada, Mexico, Bermuda, etc).
OP's original statement that he requires a business visa to attend & speak in a conference is just ridiculous.
I have bit my tongue for a long time about this great community's slipping quality, but honestly, how does shit like this make it to the top of Hacker News. Flagged.
Any suggestions for how to get back to having hacker news on Hacker News? (And please spare us the lame "situational logic" response of how <anyShit> is hacker news.)
I'll give you a telling example: the insane series of threads where, in essence, an angry mob chased a comp-sci grad student around for nominating Wikipedia articles for deletion. "Here's the main offender!" "You're a drain on Wikipedia, a negative source of knowledge!" "You're an idiot!". An Internet-famous guy chimes in with a comment calling him "a gigantic Nazi asshole" (fun fact: this is after the guy took the time to sign up to talk to HN commenters).
Then HN dutifully mods up a blog post by the same guy that calls the guy out by name for "deciding he's the sole decider of the notability of programming languages". Nice.
Then a triumphal thread on a post about how the guy has stopped nominating articles for deletion on Wikipedia. The system works!
Why do I like this example? No politics. Still bad.
You can see the groupthink everywhere on the site, from the comment on any Amazon post that gets reflexively modded up for pointing out that Amazon removed Wikipedia content, or how Sony once installed a rootkit, or how IP laws are bad for America (I especially liked watching people downmod 'grellas trying to provide context and upmodding someone who, presumably, was not a startup lawyer).
When there's a bunch of angry people wielding pitchforks convinced that Wikipedians (or some subset) are evil bastards who hate knowledge and love nothing but rules, it's not that conducive to calm discussion. There's just sort of a vaguely defensive, "well, it's not quite like that, you know most of us also think about these issues and have tried to balance the criticisms many people have of Wikipedia, and even some of the rules and guidelines I disagree with do have some reasons they exist, but nobody seems very interested in discussing any of that, so I guess I'll just mostly sit this one out...". To be fair, there was some good discussion buried in some of the threads.
I did write up a way-too-long version of what I would've said in the discussion: http://www.kmjn.org/notes/wikipedia_notability_verifiability...
(As a non-HN-specific aside: What's frustrating from the perspective of someone who wants to make Wikipedia work is that it seems most external discussion of Wikipedia comes in these weird mob frenzies, but they come from opposite sides. One group of people is convinced Wikipedians are a bunch of rule-loving fascists; another group of people is convinced Wikipedians are a bunch of anarchistic amateurs with a hippy anything-goes attitude. So the first group gets angry when a topic they're a fan of is deleted, and demands fewer rules; the second group initiates big frenzies like http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia_biography_controversy, and demands more rules.)
One of my own guidelines for "not hacker news" is if it's an article that's designed to "raise hackles" in the sense of offending one's sense of justice or "how things ought to be". This clearly falls in that category. This isn't "intellectually gratifying", it's gratifying to your sense of righteousness / indignance. None of this stuff is at all new to anyone whose residence is not located under a rock.
Oh, also, as an aside:
> And please spare us the lame "situational logic" response of how <anyShit> is hacker news.
I think of that game as "7 degrees of hacker news". The more outlandish it is, the more 'fun'. For instance, an article about renaissance Italy could be hacker news, because Paul Graham has talked about the style of painting in that time period, and has compared painting to to hacking, and since Paul Graham is a hacker...voila`! Although, truth be told, that sort of subject matter might at least be interesting in the sense of telling me something I didn't know, rather than discussing current US politics.
that sort of subject matter might at least be interesting
in the sense of telling me something I didn't know,
rather than discussing current US politics
(Regarding politics, I would say whatever affects the professional life, scientific research, etc, is in; pure politics is out. But it's just a single person's opinion.)
I agree, but a scholarly article about an obscure, uncontroversial and off-topic subject is just not likely to cause much 'damage'.
The problem with "affects professional life" in terms of politics is that pretty much everything does, somehow: taxes, health care, bureaucracy, and so on. You could talk all day long about that stuff without getting anywhere.
This thread has sparked a large discussion and I think this is in line with the submission guidelines as being intellectually gratifying.
And flagging an article because of a little easily recognized hyperbole?
I'll probably get downvoted for it, and I'd like to be mistaken here, but I'm getting the feeling that some of you get offended by critique, justified or not, of some of US politics.
I think many of us would actually make the same critiques.
But not on this site. We don't want to talk politics here.
I try to go to http://news.ycombinator.com/newest and upmod tech-related submissions once in a while. I should probably do it more often. Also, flagging stuff that could be on TV or Reddit.
Maybe there is some sort of algorithm that can be established to determine the level of subjectivity of an article or post with a 95% confidence interval?
EDIT: Hey, that's the only reasonable answer to the parent's question so far, as far as I can see. I don't like the idea either, but it's a reasonable idea, downvotes be damned!
So I have to disagree with you here, Jon. I care about politics, I really do, just not much while I'm here.
EDIT: downvoted. I wonder why?
I think you may think this nerdy Glass Bead Game of connecting the dots between arbitrary subjects and "entrepreneurship" is a compelling argument, but some of us have been here for many years and have seen too many different subjects --- Egypt! the TSA! Unionization! Ron Paul! The War! Red light cameras! Gitmo! Fighting in middle school! Peak oil! Corporatism vs capitalism! Apple murdering the web! Taxation! Censorship on Twitter! Global warming! Homophobia! † -- justified this way.
When you write a comment that acts shocked-shocked! that anyone would question your judgement about exactly how strongly connected a topic is to HN, you run the risk of making people feel like their intelligence is being insulted.
Keep something else in mind. There are people who vote on the front page. There are people who comment. There are people who vote on comments. Some of these groups overlap, but they aren't the same. Most HN'ers would probably agree that the latter two groups are responsible for the site's character more than the former. Which is a long way of saying: nobody's too impressed with the score on this article.
Next time you start feeling the outrage welling up in you about how people are bitching and sniping about stories that most people on HN seem to like, keep in mind: Paul Graham has been having to punch in manual filters to suppress some of the most "popular" stories on HN. He did it for Egypt and he did it for the TSA. The way you want to believe this site works is not how the site currently works. Thankfully.
† Take a guess how I came up with that list.
PS: Because you have a software security background, I'm atypically interested in finding out a little more about you. I'm also a fast reader. It may interest you to know that fully half of the top 10 pages of your best-ranked comments here are political, and that's not counting your takes on DRM or how "bubbly" the startup scene is. Everyone wants HN to spend time covering their favorite issues. I'd love to spend more time talking about cooking and whiskey.
In terms of on-topic, stories related to barriers that entrepreneurs face, and the difficult tradeoffs we have to make as part of working in this field certainly seem to be within scope of HN. Interesting new phenomena are explicitly within scope and there are some truly remarkable things happening at the social network level with the grassroots resistance to the TSA -- and with so many key players in the security and software engineering communities taking an active role.
> Next time you start feeling the outrage welling up in you about how people are bitching and sniping about stories that most people on HN seem to like, keep in mind: Paul Graham has been having to punch in manual filters to suppress some of the most "popular" stories on HN.
I'm not outraged ... depending on the day, it's a combination of bemused, disappointed, and entertained.
> It may interest you to know that fully half of the top 10 pages of your best-ranked comments here are political
Good to know! Sounds like there's even more support here than I realized for my political stories. Is the story about my significant other, AWK code, and Brian Kernighan still number one?
It's an interesting discussion ... thanks again!
Also, please keep in mind that there are two factors influencing our perceptions of stories: first, the story itself and how strongly it adheres to HN; and, second, the comment threads the stories have been shown to generate in the past.
> the comment threads the stories have been shown to generate in the past.
Stories about the TSA have been shown to generate a lot of antipathy from you and your friends in the past. So is your argument that this should give you veto power in the future?
I don't know what "veto power" you think I have here, but if you click around the site, you'll find a document that pretty well spells out what is and isn't on-topic for the site. The person who really does have "veto power" here is Paul Graham, and he's been having to use it lately; he buried Egypt, and he buried the TSA.
And surely this must all be a part of my evil plan to eradicate "travel" from the topics on HN. I. hate. travel. sooooooo. much.
When I was married and my American wife got to join me in the queue I was in, and had to go through the same process that I went through. Well she was incredulous that she was being treated that way.
Until Americans actually experience this, nothing will be done about it.
I've considered that enough to think that a better way to approach it is to subject people to the kind of security that they subject others to. So that if Americans want to visit other countries that they are finger-printed, interrogated, X-Ray'd, delayed and otherwise harassed.
Then when they complain point out that what is being done to them is a reflection of what they do to others, that is the only thing I can imagine might make them consider changing their ways... and I really am not living in the kind of world where I think this is achievable since European border control isn't going to start implementing this stuff on a per nationality basis. So it's not as if I really think this is feasible.
As I've pointed out in the past, I also no longer go to the USA or do business there.
When I am forced to have face-to-face meetings with Americans, I force the venue to be in Canada at a location I can get a flight to that doesn't require going via the USA (tends to be Toronto as direct flights from London are cheap and frequent).
This works for me to the point that I no longer think about it until it appears like this on a forum and I remember that I don't go to the USA anymore... it's become subconscious. I just don't go to the USA because of the experience of doing so (not limited to border alone, but border is the initial impression and the worst).
You mean most foreign-travelling Americans, who are a minority in comparison to the Americans that don't have a passport, as only 37% hold one . Domestic flights are way less of a pain than international, if only because you don't have to go through Customs.
EDIT: My American wife (I'm British) was the same way. I'm in the process of applying for a Green Card, which means we'll have to go to an INS office and both of us get our fingerprints taken. "Why the hell do they need my fingerprints? There's no way I'm giving them my fingerprints!" "Honey, they take my prints every time I come to the US."
That's exactly what Brazil is doing and mentioned elsewhere in the comments:
I've traveled all over the world, US borders are the most unpleasant. I'v had border guards in FSRs point guns at me but hey, those guys are just doing their jobs. In the US they go out of their way to be rude, lazy, incompetent and just plain obnoxious.
Evidently it was better to simply book your flight to SEA, wait for those 3 lanes, then catch a separate flight south to avoid the pain and suffering at the hands of the PDX border guards.
No one should ever, EVER, point a gun at someone unless they are prepared to shoot.
Then again at another FSR border I was extremely drunk and insisting to the guard that despite what my passport says I was in fact Dutch and they just rolled their eyes and waved me through... I later bought a passport in that same country.
No politician is deaf to the voices of "the people", but it's a lot easier to get into speaking range when you can afford a professional lobby.
Unfortunately most of the people who live in the US really don't understand the bullshit treatment that people get when entering the country. --It's not as bad for US citizens, but I still get questioned more coming into the US than any other country I've visited.
Visting America was a different story though: I'm getting fingerprinted, and people are jumping queues, and the security is crazy... and all I'm thinking is "Why did I bother?"
Waiting for americans to care enough about the discomfort of vistors (relative to motivation to be there) might take a while.
Really? I brought a bunch of weird looking folding bike parts in a taped together laundry bag and got waved right though.
One english settler decided, in the 1830s or so, to release a small hutch of rabbits so they could scamper around his property and he'd be able to take potshots at them for fun. The rabbits went on to systematically destroy most of the arable land in the country.
It's not only the agricultural industries. Many of the unique Australian wildlife has never been subjected to common animals from the rest of the world. The fox decimates native mammal populations.
I could go on and on. There was a fire ant quarantine breach a few years back and they literally hunted down every nest and colony that had occured and (I think) have re-declared fire ant free.
So, if you're travelling to Australia, don't treat it as some sort of TSA impost. Be thankful that people are there protecting the borders so you have some unique animals, and fantastic food quality to come and see.
Fun fact : I have a friend who is a dog handler in an Australian airport. The worst offenders are little old ladies of either asian or middle eastern origin. They're always carrying some noxious weed as part of an old family recipe to cook for their descendents who have settled in Australia. So if you see someone with a dog bailing up an old lady in an Airport, you know why.
On the plus side - they will clean your boots for you, free of charge - they do a fine job of it as well. Unless you're trying to hide your muddy boots, then you'll get fined a couple of hundred bucks for being sneaky. Best to declare your boots and get them cleaned for you.
Because of the isolation, we don't have too many pestilence problems (gross oversimplification) and we want/need to keep it that way.
As for the phillipines - they've been trading with other nations for a long time, as have Japan. I'm guessing that the transfer of pests and diseases happened a few centuries back.
Australia is unique in that basically no trade of any kind happened until 200 years ago. There's been a lot of mistakes, but that's no reason to give up.
An expensive piece of kit lost that meant that I basically didn't make any money that month.
After 9/11 everyone is utterly paranoid and everyone from security guards to police, and even random passers-by, have hassled me. Claiming that I am breaking the law (I am not) or demanding I explain why I am taking pictures.
Unfortunately, in the US, lots of things can destroy you: Lawsuits from car accidents, medical issues, not having a car, et cetera.
The real question to ask is, "can I afford this insurance" and "is it worth it to me". If you buy a $250 mp3 player and the "insurance" is $300 and lasts for 6 months, it's a waste of money, because you aren't going to break your mp3 player twice in 6 months. But if it's $20 to insure your $10,000 of camera equipment which has a replacement cost equal to a month of income, then you should probably go for it. It's a bad deal, but $20 is the cost of a few beers, which is also a bad deal.
Anyway, someone makes money on every transaction. That doesn't necessarily mean you shouldn't be a party to that transaction.
Happiness (100% x losing $1000 + 1% x having a free necessary operation) > Happiness (1% x not being able to afford a necessary operation).
When you get a serious illness like cancer, the insurance company rescinds your policy and then you become uninsurable and die.
Insurance does cover the odd accident though, but they will fight tooth and nail over whether you need therapy to learn to walk again.
You've got to factor in the margin of the insurance company, but also the time and expense of claiming, keeping records, reading insurance terms, the potential for the claim not to be honoured etc. Better to self-insure - put that money aside into a fund and use that fund to cover your loses for small amounts.
For large losses that you may not have the capacity to cover, it is usually sensible. Where to draw the line depends on how deep your pockets are.
e.g. you buy your insurance in France, problem happens in US, and it turns out your insurance only covers you in france. Or you need an apostille-authenticated copy of local police report, plus a certified translation, yadda yadda...
And what is crazier is that the same procedure repeats when I leave the US.
The funny thing is that I have never had a bad experience with US immigration. The only time I had a non-smooth experience was in Canada, before a flight from Montreal to Atlanta. An officer waved me out of line saying "I'm sorry sir but you were selected for a random security check. You can thank Mr George W. Bush for that."
The two funniest experiences I had was when entering Dubai and Sao Paulo, In Sao Paulo the immigration officer did not speak a single word of English. I do not speak any Portuguese. We quickly realized this frustrating situation and I was waved through. In Dubai I was the first person in line at the customs and not knowing what to do I just kept walking. The customs people just stood there and looked at me. I was already quite far behind the customs people, nearly out of the airport, when I realized that I just walked past the customs officers without having my bags or anything checked. So I went the whole way back just to go through customs properly.
Just consider what it was like to travel before the invention of the airplane, or the steam ship. Please appreciate that you live in a time when travelling the world is very very easy. And please watch http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8r1CZTLk-Gk
So yes, I refuse.
That can’t be, can it? Property damage is property damage. Shouldn’t the TSA have insurance anyway? Is he stretching the truth?
Unfortunately I don't see this changing any time soon with the TSA unionizing.
The one giving the advice said that he has a "starter pistol", which google explained as a gun that you use to start a race etc.. Not a real weapon. Others suggested a flare pistol (Dangerous? Sure. But not a 'weapon', but more a tool).
I find it sad that these workarounds seem to help and that they are deemed necessary. But "bring a gun" is not what they are suggesting here.
The article referenced, which I read, had this:
"Then someone has the brilliant suggestion of putting a firearm in your camera-equipment case"
Matt Brandon (the blogger referenced) had the genius move of using a starter pistol rather than a handgun.
However, it is still sad and slightly scary to me that the solution to protecting your property during a flight is to pack it with a weapon or something that looks like weapon.
This time they took everything out of my bag. Spent ten minutes reading my diary! I mean what the fuck! Were aggressive, rude.
The system is an utter disgrace to foreigners. I wont be coming back.
Last year was the first time I traveled outside Australia since 2001, but my Australian passport was issued about 5 years ago. So there was not a single stamp in it.
On my way to Russia I had a stopover in Amsterdam for about 4 hours so I went out to have a walk around the city.
The customs officer had a look through my clean passport and asked "Travel much?". We had a laugh and in a few seconds I was in Amsterdam.
I flew to Madrid from St. Petersburg and then drove from Spain to southern France to Rome and flew back to St. Petersburg. Well, when you drive from one EU country to another there is technically a border but nowhere I was even stopped. In the airports they generally ask you to open your laptop but that's it. The most strict one was in Warsaw - I think I had to take my shoes off and place them on the conveyour. And you walk through a metal detector, but if you put your watch and wallet on the conveyour it generally doesn't detect anything, unless you have a huge belt buckle or something like that.
Well, with a Lybian or Iranian passport the experience could be quite different I assume ...
What was maddening was the process of applying for a visitor's visa. In addition to forms, it required around 25 pages of auxiliary documentation, including her most recent pay-slip; a print-out of her bank balance on the day of submission; a letter addressed to the embassy from her employer attesting to her position, her monthly salary and her length of employment; a travel insurance policy covering the length of the stay; a round-trip plane ticket; a letter of several pages from me, accompanied by evidence such as photos, describing how and when we first met, when I most recently met her, the total amount of time we have spent together face to face, etc.
That was for a two-week stay over the holidays. Fun.
Also, when you are inviting someone into "Schengen"/EU, you are taking quite a huge responsibility because any and all costs for the state or hospital bills can ultimately be billed to you. So trying to see the upside of things, you could say they are just making sure all bases are covered.
On the upside, you won't get shot at the border - I'm looking at you, USA/Mexican border.
We seem to have a 50/50 rate of whether they'll actually open your passport or not. Higher chances when flying in from the UK/US, lower chances when you're flying in/out of a city which isn't in the 'top 3' for each country.
The only question my wife has ever been asked, was leaving Italy; the chap wanted to know why she didn't have a stamp showing her date of entry. We had flown in from Zaragoza, Spain, and simply hadn't met any passport control. Deplane, baggage, and out the front door. We showed him a ticket stub showing that we'd entered the country less than 2 weeks ago, and got waved away.
The only noticable difference we've had between her (american) passport and mine (british), is that it is (or was?) difficult, verging on impossible to do an online check-in with RYR.
(to the original post; I don't travel to the US. ever. Mostly because I've put my 'status' in a gray area by walking out on a residency permit. You think it's bad when you're routine. hah!)
Supposedly you get more attention if you're Arab-looking, though (I'm rather white), and there can be visa hassles if your passport isn't from a western country.
She has also crossed borders in Italy and France, and was treated very well each single time; I am sure that the fact that she speaks Italian fluently and has an advanced level of French was a positive factor, but nonetheless she was treated just like any EU-citizen there.
On the other hand, EU visas can be very troublesome. I wouldn't recommend London as a photographer friendly place, either. Now, Hong Kong... that's a city/state/SAR with fantastically efficient and painless customs.
I travel extensively through the EU (probably cross an EU border at least 10 times/year on average) and never had any issues except for 1 time in Berlin where the immigration officer asked why I have been in the EU for so long.
I showed him my Austrian residency permit and he waived me through.
My girlfriend is English and I'm American. For the first 3 years we were together, it was impossible for me to live in England or for her to live in the US. Instead we rented an apartment in Spain and lived there with never a word from EU immigrations about my coming or going.
Granted, getting a visa to live there legally as an American is next to impossible. But at least in Spain, they just plain never check.
Both times my passport was checked in Paris... just a "what's the purpose of your visit", a look at the passport and visa, and a wave through. In Geneva, there was no border control (just a "go this way if you have anything to declare" or "go this way to the street" fork). In Zurich, there was another border guard; same deal as in Paris.
My issue with the Schengen scheme is the process of getting the visa itself. The requirements are a bit over the top, and it's expensive, think its's about £80 for a French Schengen.
The UK, however, is pretty well known for being rather strict with immigration procedures and border controls.
I guess this means that Schengen countries have extensive cooperation and will adopt joint standards in time.
Oh, c'mon, this sounds very over-the-top. My experience is that TSA and USCIS (formerly INS) are very professional and follow a strict protocol. The protocol may be unfair or not, but that's the protocol, not the professional's fault. In places like Brazil your entire trip is at the hands of chance: Most times you get a nice officer, but sometimes not.
For example: After an incident involving an American in Brazil , all Americans were out of a sudden required by the Brazilian authorities to get pictures taken at the Brazilian customs. The situation got so ridiculous, that at some point the airports ended up with 3 lines: "Brazilian Citizens", "Foreigners", and "Americans". In other words, Americans were singled-out from the rest of the world. Would the OP describe that as a "pleasant experience"???
I have had somewhat bad experiences in the US too, but that's not even close to the kind of stuff I (or close family members and friends) went through in Brazil, or as a Brazilian in Europe. In the US I never had any trouble, and officers always acted professionally.
And I highly doubt this person would get compensated in any one of these countries.
Disclaimer: I am a Brazilian naturalized American.
Why should Brazil treat US citizens any different, than the US treats Brazilian citizens? If the US harasses Brazilian citizens with such procedures, it is IMO perfectly OK if Brazil does the same to US citizens.
Person1: Bad things are happening in the US
Person2: Well, bad things are happening in Brazil too.
Person3: But it's only fair for the Brazilians to do bad things
because the US is already doing bad things.
Someone commented that the situation in the US is actually not that bad, and that it's worse in Brazil: "Oh, c'mon, this sounds very over-the-top. My experience is that TSA and USCIS (formerly INS) are very professional and follow a strict protocol. The protocol may be unfair or not, but that's the protocol, not the professional's fault. In places like Brazil your entire trip is at the hands of chance: Most times you get a nice officer, but sometimes not."
But that's not true. Travelling to Brazil is rather unproblematic for citizens of most countries. Only citizens of countries that harass Brazilian citizens are harassed equally.
So I agree that related to the original article my comment was off-topic. But it's very on-topic in regard to the off-topic parent posting (because from a non-US citizen's perspective there aren't any problems when traveling to Brazil, but plenty of problems when traveling to the US).
Kind of an asshole move, but highly entertaining to watch from the outside.
What the politicians should be doing is saying, "we want to be part of Vfw too, what can we do to get there?" and not, "the US gov't don't like us, so we won't like them!" Instead of trying to work closer together, this policy only makes the divide bigger. I was ready to go to Brazil for a vacation, but chose South Africa instead because of this silliness.
To an American, not going to Brazil has very little impact on them. They'll take their money and go elsewhere.
EDIT: Would Florida prefer that half a million Brazilians hadn't visited in 2010? It works both ways, you see.
Many, many countries have repricosity-based policies for these things, but the "repeicosity" is applied in a very one-sided way by all of them. Policy that pisses them off will be emulated and applied to foreigners unlucky enough to be from whatever country offends them, but unusually lax or inexpensive policies won't usually be up for reciprocal treatment. Consider visa fees. All kinds of places will charge US and UK citizens extra, but few will give discounts to those from countries with extremely inexpensive entry.
I consider this sort of policy to be little more than an immature way to vent at more powerful countries. Sure it sucks that it's hard to get a tourist visa if you're Brazilian and going to the US (or Chinese going to Japan, or Russian going to Finland, etc..), but that's due to very high rates of people applying for such visas fleeing and working illegally. The risk of someone from a richer country doing so in a poorer country is far, far lower. Any sort of "repricosity"-based response to this reality accomplishes little more than hassling ordinary people who aren't at all to blame for the forces shaping the situation.
It's called having balls.
It is from reddit, which pretty much thrives on over-the-top, especially if it's about how EEEEVIL the US is.
In my experience, this exactly sums up travelling to the US.
I'm curious why this would be such a hassle. I work in China right now and every time I go through customs, there's a little web cam there that takes a photo of me while the customs officer looks at my passport and stamps it. I think both foreigners and citizens experience it. Adds no time to the process at all. I even see my photo on the computer screen if the screen is angled right.
Unless Brazil simply doesn't have the ability to set up this kind of tech....
1. In China the system is set-up for that. The little web-cam and the system are integrated with a push of a button, and the process is very quick. In Brazil they didn't have anything. They were taking pictures with off-the-shelf digital cameras, and I read an article saying that they did not even have a system set-up to transfer the pictures out! It was really something implemented overnight, clearly just to piss people off.
2. Sorry if I was not clear, but my point about the hassle was not much the picture itself, but the fact that Americans were singled-out and placed on a different line. This is borderline racist IMO.
Note: Brazil eliminated this stupid policy a while ago. I mentioned it just as an example.
I would the experience of a USA person travelling to other countries wouldn't be quite as pleasant as their is a lot of pent up rage against USA in other countries and when they get to meet a yank they have a chance to express it.