I immigrated to Canada after studying and working in the US for 9 years. Here are two absolutely real conversations that happened to me. I hold an Indian passport and I was working with what was then ranked as the best company to work in the US.
Fun fact : Me and my wife together paid more taxes than the average family income in the state of North Carolina. Anyways getting back to the topic
Place : Raleigh Durham Airport Immigration
Date : November 2014
Me and my wife are returning from a family visit to London. At the airport there are signs which are fairly ambiguous. Visitors on one line and residents on the other. We figured , hey we are residents right. We pay taxes and we have been here from the last 6 years in NC. So we stand in the residents line
Immigration Officer : Passport or Green Card are please. I tell her I am on an H1B and that Raleigh is home for me for the last 5 years. She looks at me and says and I will never forget this
“ You have no right to stand in this line. This is reserved for US Citizens and LPR’s. This is the only time I will allow you to enter thru this lane. You are a LONG TERM visitor and this is not permanent home. Your home is your country of origin.”
She then asks me when I am leaving the country. I again remind her that I work in NC full time. She again asks me, this time again reminding me that my last date is the one indicated on my I 797.
Fast Forward to today : March 2017 ( moved to Toronto in Nov 2015 as a Permanent resident)
Place : Toronto Pearson Immigration
I enter the country and look around. No officers for Permanent residents. I use a machine that asks me nothing but my Maple Leaf Card ( I call my PR the Maple Leaf Card). Not even my passport. The machine spits out a paper.
At the exit an immigration officer takes my paper, looks at me and says
Officer : Welcome Home sir. How was your trip?
Those words “Welcome Home”, something I never heard in a US Airport make you feel so special. It just makes you feel accepted and you feel a warm invisible blanket of embrace when you come in. Something I only feel when I go back to India. The first sight of a Canadian flag in Pearson reminding you that you are home and safe is indescribable in words.
I love Canada, my wife who questioned the rational of leaving a fairly stable life in the US and moving to Canada now loves this country.
Canada really is the “ True North, Free and Strong”, the last bastion of true freedom in the world, the most amazing country in the world.