The hardest thing about getting into Britain is walking the excessive distances around Heathrow Airport. No one has ever searched my baggage, or asked anything more than where I planned to stay and for how long. Likewise in other European countries I've visited but not so in America. When I go there not only must I make a declaration of all purchases and gifts acquired abroad, I am obliged to list every country I visited. What business is that of the Finance Department? The information probably goes into some computer, never to be removed; and while I have nothing to hide, the thought is unsettling.
This is the preferential treatment I enjoy as an American citizen. Foreign nationals have another, longer form to complete before being granted a U.S. entrance visa. The questions include: "Have you ever been a controlled substance (drug) salesman, or a sex slave or pimp?" "Do you seek to enter the United States to engage in export control violations, destructive or terrorist activities or any illegal purpose?" "Are you a member or representative of a terrorist organization?" "Have you ever ordered, caused, assisted, or otherwise participated in the torture of any person because of race, religion, national origin, or political opinion under the control, direct or indirect, of the Nazi Government of Germany, or of the government of any area occupied by, or allied with the Nazi Government of Germany, or have you ever participated in genocide?"
An untruthful answer gives authorities another arrow for their attorney's quiver. If they can't get you for pushing drugs, maybe they can deport you for denying you pushed them before. But what self-respecting terrorist would agree he belongs to a "terrorist organization"? The vagueness of the language suggests its purpose is as much rhetorical as legal. It tells the rest of the world that troublesome visitors are unwelcome.
The rhetorical intent is clearest in the question about Nazis. It sounds legal and precise, but examine it and it turns out to be ridiculously broad. Consider that Franco's Spain was an ally of Hitler's Germany. Many, if not most, of its government employees can be said somehow to have "participated in the torture" of persons on account of "political opinion". How, then, should a former Spanish official, reply to the question? And why such a particular fuss about Nazis, now that most of them are dead?
My mother is a U.S. immigrant, and my father is the son of one. So it is with personal disappointment that I observe the current tendency to keep out new arrivals. I am myself a stranger in a strange land — Italy. Because I am married to an Italian citizen, establishing residency was easy. I dropped in at our local police station and in less than two hours received my "resident permit", good for two years. If my wife and I choose to live in the U.S., however, she must apply for a visa ahead of time. This is supposed to take two months, but an attorney assures me it can easily take six. As it happens, we don't plan to live in America. It was challenging enough going there on vacation.
Shortly after our wedding, we decided to spend a couple of months in the States. Luckily I mentioned this to an embassy official first. "The immigration officer might not let her in without a green card," he warned.
"Couldn't she just enter on the 90-day tourist document, like any other citizen of the European Union?" I inquired.
"If someone's married to a U.S. citizen, the assumption is they intend to reside there," he explained.
I said my wife had no intention of moving to the U.S. She had a teaching job in Italy to return to at the end of the summer. The immigration officer might believe her or he might not, I was told. Too many foreigners slip in as tourists and then try to remain on grounds of marriage. The procedure for determining that such unions are not tricks to obtain the treasured green card takes time (sometimes separating couples for more than a year, I later learned). But surely there aren't many cases of marriage fraud involving Italians, I suggested. There would be little reason to doubt my wife's word. The official gave me a look of pity for my simplicity. "I think you can understand why we can't have one policy for white Europeans and another for Filipinos and Mexicans," he said.
So when my darling wife arrived at the airport in Washington, she wasn't wearing her wedding band, lest it provoke inconvenient questions. To be safe, she hadn't even packed it in her luggage. Nor had she flown on the same plane as myself — doing so would have meant answering "yes" when asked whether she was traveling with any member of her family. Thus, she passed unhindered through the gates. When I met her on the other side we laughed with wicked pleasure, as we'd gotten away with a crime.
n. 1. [C] (land near the) line dividing two countries or areas 边界，边境
2. [C] a strip that goes around or along the edges of sth. 边，边缘，界线
n. [C] (usu. sing.) a line that marks a border between two physical things or between ideas, conditions, feelings, etc. 国境线，边界线；界线
a. worthy of laughter; silly or not reasonable 可笑的，荒谬的
n. craziness 可笑, 荒谬
n. [U] all the bags that one takes when traveling 行李
ad. 1. in the same way or manner 同样地
2. also 也，亦
n. 1. [C] a statement giving official information申报（单）
2. [C] declaring; formally announcing 宣布，宣告，声明
v. 1. force or require (sb.) by law, agreement or moral pressure to do sth. （以法律、协议或道义上的压力）强制或要求，责成；迫使（某人）做某事
2. please or help sb. esp. by doing sth. one has asked to do 帮……的忙
n. 1. [C] illegal drugs 毒品
2. [C, U] material with particular physical characteristics 物质
3. [U] importance or relationship to real facts 实质，本质，要旨
n. [C] a person whose job is selling things in a shop or directly to customers 售货员，营业员，推销员
n. [C] 拉皮条者
n. [C, U] action of sending (goods) to another country for sale 出口
v. send (goods) to another country for sale 出口
vt. 1. break or be contrary to (a rule, principle, etc.) 违反（规定、原则、条约）
2. disturb (personal freedom, etc.) 侵扰，侵害，侵犯
n. [C, U] (an example of) violating or being violated 违反（行为），违背（行为），侵犯（行为）
n. 1. [U] intense fear 恐惧，惊骇
2. [C] a person or thing causing terror 引起恐怖的人或物
n. [C] a person who supports or participates in terror activities 恐怖主义者，恐怖分子
a. (esp. of an activity or action) against the law; not allowed by law 不合法的，非法的
n. [C, U] (the act of causing) great physical pain in order to persuade sb. to do sth. or to give information, or simply to be cruel to a person or animal 拷问，拷打，虐待
vt. cause great physical pain or mental suffering on (sb.) 拷问，折磨
n. 1. parents and conditions of early life 血统，出身；来历
2. [C] the beginning or cause of sth. 起源，起因
a. 1. happening in addition to an intended result, often in a way that is not obvious or that is hard to understand because of its many connections 间接的
2. not following a straight line; not directly connected (to or with) 迂回的，曲折的
v. (with/to) join or unite, e.g. by political agreement 与……联盟
n. [C] a country that has agreed officially to give help and support to another one, esp. during a war; a person who helps and supports sb. else 盟国；盟友
n. [U] the murder of a whole group of people, esp. a whole nation, race, religious group, etc. 种族灭绝
n. 1. [C] 箭
2. [C] a sign or mark like an arrow 箭头符号
n. 1. [C] a lawyer 律师
2. [C] a person appointed to act for another in business or legal matters 代理人
n. 1. [C] a thing used for carrying arrows 箭囊，箭筒
2. a shaking sound or movement 震颤声; 颤动
vi. shake slightly, often because of strong emotion （因强烈感情而）颤抖，发抖
vt. force (a person) to leave a country, esp. because he has no legal right to be there or because he has broken the law 驱逐（某人）出境（尤指因无合法居留权或违反法律）
a. 1. not clearly expressed, known, described or decided 含糊的，不明确的，不清楚的，模糊的
2. not clearly seen; not clear in shape （轮廓等）模糊的
n. [U] being vague 不清楚，含糊
n. 1. [U] clever and persuasive language which is not genuine or has no real meaning 虚夸的言辞，华丽词藻
2. [U] (art of) using language impressively or persuasively 修辞（学）；修辞艺术
a. 1. full of rhetoric in order to be seen as important or persuasive 浮夸的，词藻华丽的
a. 1. connected with the law 法律的
2. allowed by the law 合法的
n. [U] show of worry or excitement, often one which is greater than usual 忙乱，大惊小怪，过分激动
vi. give too much attention to small and unimportant matters, usu. in a way which shows that one is anxious and not relaxed （为小事）烦恼，瞎操心，过于忧虑
ad. in a short time; not long; soon 立刻，马上
n. [C] the group of people who represent their country in a foreign country, or the building they work in 大使馆全体人员；大使馆
n. [C] a paper, form, book, etc. giving information about sth. 证件；文件；公文
v. ask for information 打听，询问
n. 1. [C] a thing accepted as true or as sure to happen, but not proved 假设，假定
2. [U] the act of taking on (a position, etc.) 担任，夺取
n. [C] a set of actions which is the accepted way of doing sth. 过程，步骤，常规
n. 1. [C, U] (an act of) cheating sb. illegally in order to make money or get goods 欺骗（行为）
2. [C] a person that cheats others 骗子
n. 1. the negative quality of simple-mindedness 头脑简单
2. the positive quality of being simple 简朴；简便；简单
a. loved deeply 心爱的，可爱的
n. a person who is greatly loved or liked 心爱的人，亲爱的人
n. 1. [C] a thin flat strip used to bind things together 带，箍
2. [C] a group of people who share the same interests or beliefs, or who have joined together for a special purpose 一伙（人），一帮（人）
3. [C] a group of musicians who play modern music together 乐队
conj. in order to prevent any possibility that (sth. will happen) 以免
vt. 1. cause (sth.) to happen 致使，引起
2. (try to) make (a person or an animal) angry 挑衅，激怒
PHRASES AND EXPRESSIONS
be allowed to enter （使）被允许进入
seek to do sth.
try to do sth.; attempt to do sth. 试图做，企图做
engage in sth.
take part in sth. 从事……
take part in or become involved in (an activity) 参与，参加
sell illegal drugs 贩卖毒品
on account of
because of 因为
(cause to) stay or not enter （使）不进入；（使）远离
pay an unplanned visit (to a person or place) without notice or warning before going 顺便拜访
ahead of time
earlier than expected or before an arranged time（比原定时间）提早
away from work or school for fun or rest 度假
a couple of
a small number of 几个
allow to come in 让……进来，使……入内
have no intention of doing sth.
have absolutely no plan or desire to do sth. 没有意图做（某事）
on grounds of
by reason of 出于……的原因
get away with sth.
not be punished for sth. 不因某事受惩罚