The fact that Aylan's family was trying to immigrate to Canada in the first place makes me relate to the incident in a different way as well. I was refused a visa to Canada in July 2011. The first and only time I was refused a visa in my life.
I was 5.5 months pregnant at the time. We had made all plans to visit Alaska a couple of months in advance and paid all our dues. The ship was leaving from Vancouver. We only were to stay three nights there.
When I got the passport back in an envelope, I opened it up to check for how long they had given the visa. But hey... Where is the visa? I scroll through the passport once again. Nopes. Once again. Nopes. The passport is empty!
So I take out the papers inside. And I find a refusal letter!
Now, to keep the long story a bit shorter... On the form it said I was refused a visa for
1- Not having enough assets.
Well... I own a house in Italy. And I have other assets that I do not see the point of listing here. I had two credit cards which showed expenditures of about 2,500 Euros for the last three months at the time and they had been paid in full just as they had always been for the last 18-20 years, i.e. since I first started using a credit card. The limits were high, which I could have set higher had I wanted to.
There was nothing on the ten page form they asked us to fill in for the visa application. They don't ask for your assets. BUT, they refuse you for not having them. I mean I know it's standart procedure, I always did that when applying for visas in Turkey. But now I was applying from Italy and as I said, nowhere on the application did it mention such a thing. So I saw no reason for proving my financial status.
2- Having limited employment prospects in the country of residence.
Yes, the consul was perfectly right in claiming I have limited employment prospects in my country of residence. I am sorry that some people have to be employed and go to jobs that they do or do not like but I do not need to be employed. Writing is an occupation that you can do in any place in the world and I can sell in my own country.
Besides... Why did I need to be employed? What if I were a simple housewife?? Did the fact that I was not working, not making any money imply that I could not travel any place with my husband??
3- Having weak family ties.
It's true that my born-in family ties are not so strong and I would have liked to cut those ties if I could. However, my tie with my husband was and is pretty strong and I can never think of being without him. Maybe one day I'll grow tired of him, maybe "Love will be finished" as some say. But that day seems far for now. I love him deeply... From the abyss of my heart.
Other than him and my daughter now, I have weak ties with anything in the world. The consul may see his country as an exquisite place. And even though Canada is selected to be the best country to live in the world, if I was to live some place else I would go to South America or Africa. The only reason I am staying in Italy is that my husband has a life here, has been employed here for the last thirty years.
I saved the best for last.
4- I was refused a visa because of my travel history!
I could not help but ask "Sorry but what do you know about my travel history??" There was nothing on the forms asking for my travels. If they were interested in a person's travel history to “grant” a visa and considered it as a criteria, they should have put that on the forms besides asking for the name, date of birth, place of birth, marital status, address and occupation of my half brothers and sisters AND step brothers and sisters. It took me a minute to figure out what they meant by that. Half-siblings are those you share a common parent with, step-siblings are the children of the spouse of one of your parents from a previous marriage. I have filled in so many visa application forms in my life and in none do I remember any country asking me all those!
Now, I have not spoken to my father for I don't know how many years. He is married and I know the woman has two daughters and a son. I know the name of the daughters, but nothing else about them. And I don't know even the name of the son! What did I do? I of course did not fill it in. Left it blank as if I did not have any step-siblings. But I signed the form saying that all the information I gave was correct and I would be liable if found out it was not.
To be fair to the consul, my passport was empty. But the fact that I have an empty, a blank passport does not mean that I have never travelled anywhere, it only means that I have a brand new passport! I would have expected a consul to know that much! I have five old passports including visas for countries like England, Australia, New Zealand, US and Canada. I have a valid US visa until August 2018. I have done two round-the-world tours. And when I mean round-the-world, I mean literally I have gone around the world twice. Once west by land and air, second east by land and sea. I have been to around 100 countries.
What's more, as I know the visa procedures so well, I had sent all my old passports with my husband for the application. And he came back saying the girl pushed them back through the counter saying they did not want it.
The travel history also connects to assets. You bet I travelled cheap. But you must accept that you don't get to travel that much without any funds.
Plus, I am married to an Italian. Had it not been for the Italian bureaucracy I would have already got citizenship, I was entitled to it. In any case, I was going to get it in a year's time and would not be needing any visa to go to Canada after that anyway. So there was no reason for me to try to sneak into their precious country right then illegally.
At the Canadian Embassy in Rome, I also met a Mexican girl who was going to Alaska and was refused on the grounds that she did not have sufficient funds. She was a young girl in her early twenties. Obviously from a rich family. As they were going to Alaska as a family and they were able to send their daughter to Italy for the summer. But she naturally did not have any money on her name in a bank. She was studying in Florence at the time and as she wouldn't have the time to apply later on had come to Rome only for the sake of getting the visa. All the other members of her family had got a visa from the Canadian Embassy in Mexico. She was saying they were going to cancel the trip now that she was refused the visa. I don't know what they did in the end.
Now... Coming to the best ironical part of the story... My "loco" neighbor who does not speak even a word of English -I doubt she knows hello, yes or no. Well, I guess she can figure out the no as it is the same in Italian- could have just bought a ticket and flown to Canada if she had felt like it.
She talks of her plans to kill her husband when he says he will move out. Because he then will be cutting the money he contributes to the house expenses and she will not have the money to pay for the cats and dogs foods. I guess that explains you the amount of her assets.
As for her family ties... She has cheated on her husband early in their marriage. She claims he was a bad man. But she never left him as they had a son. She's been living with the man for 21 years and not talking to him. The husband addresses her as “Whore.” She used to cook for him but not anymore.
As for her employment prospects in Italy... I'd say they are much more limited than mine. As I at least have an education in engineering -and a high education at that,- have qualifications, and am capable of driving and moving around etc.
As for her travel history... She ventured about 200 kilometers from Velletri where she was born and still lives. They were going to Venice for their honeymoon. Halfway, she said they should return and buy a car with the money they were to spend. So that's what they did.
Again, let me repeat. This woman could have just bought a ticket and flown to Canada if she had felt like it. No need to bother for a visa at all.
Tell me... How does this make sense?
Don't say that Italians are rich, do not abuse their visa rights etc. What is my neighbor's merit?
Being born in a “privileged” spot in the world, being born from a womb that was born on a privileged spot in the world, or being born from a sperm that came from a man born in a privileged spot in the world. Doesn't this sound funny to you?!
And now, I have an Italian citizenship and I can fly to Canada along with many other countries without a visa. What is my merit?
I got myself a husband that was born on a privileged spot in the world. Ah let me not be unfair with myself either. I also did some stupid paperworks they ordered me to do and endured the Italian bureaucracy. Oh how blessed and holy I am now! At least holy enough for the Canadians to allow me in their countries without being hassled.
I believe this is against human rights. Denial of a visa. Or even the existence of the need for a visa to go, to move to some spot in the world. I am not going to tell you all the trouble this caused us, all the running around I had to do, the stress I suffered with a baby in my belly.
Of course I do not complain on my behalf given the extent of human rights violations go in this world... But I DO complain on behalf of whatever kind of migrant that is blocked to move around freely in this world.