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 European Border Crossings Today (As Seen By an American)

Travelthebeat writes "I recently went on a three-week jaunt of the old continent and had a chance to visit France as well as Switzerland. I had a wonderful time and was accompanied by my girlfriend and my daughter. Here is what I have noticed as an American viewing Europe in the post-9/11 era (but before the recent London bombings).

As I entered Europe through the Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris...

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I was given a choice of two doors, "Nothing to Declare" with its VERY distinctive green light sign, and "Something to Declare" with its equally distinctive red light sign. Gone were the long lines of "Citizens and resident aliens only" and "All foreigners," which are seen at all US ports of entry. Europeans could care less where you're from and more what you're carrying in. The passport check is a mere formality that they do as you debark the plane. If you don't have the proper do*****entation after flying for over 10 hours across the pond, then you need more help than the Immigration Department can give you, trust me. We all chose the "Nothing to Declare" doors (go figure) and just like that, we were in France and well on our way to a glorious vacation.

For nearly two weeks we stayed in France in a small village known as Thoiry. It is right up against Geneva, and I have many friends there. We crossed the border between the two countries twice daily, and were never stopped in either direction. In fact, we never saw one car stopped during that entire time. Not only that, I noticed that on the weekends and in the early morning hours, the borders weren't even regularly manned. I also found out that there were backroads between the two countries that don't even have any control whatsoever.

Anyone would have a pretty easy time smuggling people between countries over there. But that's just the point, they don't!! People smuggling ISN'T a problem in Europe. Even though there are plenty of countries where the desire is big for the citizens to seek a change in Europe, the problem is relatively minor and kept that way. They do not waste millions of tax money on idiotic border crossings that catch all of the legal trade, and ignore all of the illegal trade.

Of course, we're talking about the old continent. They've been around the block a few times. They know the ropes real well, and understand the issues at hand. The US plays more like an old western desperado who just shantied into town is hankering on tasting some action (whatever the hell than might be).

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