A self-reflective critical poesy examining the cost of immigration, inequalities on crossing borders, and the flattening down of identities through passports.

As an international student, I’m always thinking about papers and IDs -- my passport, my visa, I-20, tax forms, OPT, CPT, and many many more. This mental load is pre-occupational, and constantly serves as a reminder that before I am anyone else, I am an “alien authorized to work” in the US.

Before crossing the border to study in America, I always thought that traveling was the same for everyone -- everyone has to go through the long lines at the embassy to give an interview, showing them evidence that they will return home -- to get a visa. During planning for a study abroad program, I found that my American friends didn’t need a visa to travel to the Netherlands. 

Passport Power 

On researching, the hierarchy of passports was imminent. It is a booklet that holds power. It doesn’t say much about us -- just our name, date of birth, and nationality -- yet it brings so many assumptions about us when we cross borders.