A post based on a recent chat with my roomie. I was talking about how hard it was to pass boarder control in the US and then into Canada. Well, not hard, but time consuming, an opinion based solely on the amount of questions you get asked when coming into the country.
Compare with Europe, where all they do is stamp your passport, no-one cares if you have a return ticket, or if you know anyone, or even if you've got a place to stay. In the US, they wont let you in unless they know you're leaving, you need to present evidence that you're not going to overstay your visa. The reason being quite simple, they don't want you to overstay your visa.
Canadians take a different approach. They want to know that you're leaving too, but the exit tickets are not 100% required. Canada is a huge country, the second largest in the world. And with one of the most relaxed immigration policies. Or so I've heard. It's easy to disappear in Canada, so the focus of boarder control questions is more like 'If you do end up staying, are you the kind of person we would want in our country'. Take for example a story my flatmate told me, a woman's husband got a letter saying he will be deported in 48 hours, his visa had expired. He moved into the local church for a week (they can't arrest you while you're in a church) but no-one ever showed up. He now has his citizenship.
Two very different approaches, from two of the most amazing countries I have visited. I can easily see myself living in the States, or in Canada, and being a very happy little vegemite while doing so.