This article will cover 3 reasons that “if you don’t like it here then leave” is an ignorant statement and a poor attitude with which to build immigration policy.
1 – Leaving costs time, money, and more
Leaving is easier said than done. Leaving costs money. The people worst off in this country, the poor, are both the most likely to want to leave and also the group worst affected by this problem.
Think it only costs a small amount? Think again. Transportation costs, job search costs, social costs, and then there is the whole learning curve in a new society which may be the largest cost. There are also legal requirements to renounce citizenship which may make renouncing your citizenship impossible.
There is also a fee to renounce citizenship which has increased over 400%. It’s now over $2,000. The fact that the US continues to raise this fee while claiming “if you don’t like it just leave” is outright hypocrisy.
2 – Expatriots have less rights than other non-citizens
Let’s say I said something along the lines of “I wish I was born in Mexico.” Now that’s not true, but let’s say I said it. You might respond, “Then why don’t you go to Mexico if you like it so much?”
This response doesn’t work because renouncing US citizenship and gaining Mexican citizenship would put me in a different and worse situation then if I had been born in Mexico. First, the fact that I am not born in Mexico gives me fewer rights than others in Mexico. Secondly, renouncing US citizenship gives me even less rights than a natural born US non-citizen.
Take Roger Ver for example. He renounced his US citizenship. He then tried to travel to the US for a speaking engagement but he was denied. Why? The US decided Ver didn’t have sufficient evidence that he would return to the foreign country after the speaking engagement.
He was locked out of the US. Saying you don’t want to live under US law doesn’t mean you might not like to visit, just as citizens of other countries are able.
3 – Criticizing the US doesn’t mean we want to leave
I’ve saved the best for last. “If you don’t like it here then leave” is the slogan of those who think the US can’t be improved. Even if you think the US is the best country in the world, which is something I believe to be true at this point in time, that doesn’t mean the US is perfect.
It’s not merely that we should be free to criticize the US, it’s that when we stop criticizing the US we will no longer be able to grow. Next time someone criticizes the US try asking something like, “So how would we improve that?”