This is my dog’s passport. I was putting away my travel documents and since I keep her passport and mine in the same drawer, I just took it out and then it hit me: my dog has more rights and more travel privileges than any non European Union immigrant (myself included, of course).

All it took for her to obtain this travel document was to go to the vet, get a couple of shots (the usual, anti rabies and something against parasites, I think) and then she was granted free transit across the whole continent. No special provisions need to be made if she has to travel to, say, Belgium or France or any such country. Moreover, she doesn’t even need to be in my company to travel freely, even though I am appointed in her travel documents as her “guardian”. I could send her out with a friend or family member and she would still be entitled to free transit across borders.

Me, on the other hand, as someone classified as a “non Western foreigner”, if I want to acquire a Dutch passport, need to prove my “worth”. Which is to say, I need to prove that I am “integrated” into this society (through tests and interviews) and if the State finds me wanting, I would be denied the right to have a similar document issued to my name. Asylum seekers are not even given the consideration these days. Their applications are systematically rejected and they are quickly sent back to their countries of origin without further explanation. Undocumented immigrants are just invisible. Unable to travel across borders because a routine check would have them deported practically on the spot, they usually cannot leave the confines of the city in which they reside. Some of them cannot even go in the proximity of airports (not even to wave goodbye to family or friends) because being requested proof of identity (which happens often in European airports, whether you are about to travel or not, as security checks) would mean their status as undocumented would have them immediately sent to a deportation center.

And yet my dog is fully recognized as a “free traveler” across European borders.

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