A frustrated indie developer and creator of Victim of Xen, Sam Smolders was arrested in Detroit last week and is being charged with illegal entry into the United States. Belgium-born, Smolders had lived in the United States since he was 5 years old. Then at the age of 18 he was deported back to Belgium, penniless and homeless.
Before resorting to breaking immigration laws, Smolders attempted to re-enter the U.S. legally but there seemed to be a total black out. On April 26, 2013 he wrote on his Facebook page:
"The embassy officers refused to read my letters and stated that they do not believe me due to my having grown up in the US (which they say they must believe do to US law 214(b) requiring them to view everyone (outside the US) as guilty until proven innocent, they also claim that it is the right of any embassy staff to refuse to review evidence)."
Finally out of desperation, this developer decided to try to re-enter the U.S. by crossing the Detroit River from Canada.
According to the complaint Smolders was found "soaking wet and standing next to a night guard for the Detroit Princess cruise ship". Smolders initially stretched the truth, telling agents he was from Arizona (he lived in Arizona between the ages of 5 and 18). Then he outright lied, told them he was harassed by three men and that he only went into the river to retrieve his belongings. Agents retrieved the bag for him and discovered that it was wrapped in waterproof metal.
When the agents opened the bag they found his Belgian passport with a fresh Canadian arrival stamp. Smolders was then arrested. He is also being charged with lying to a federal official.
This only fuels the tech industry's message. They have been stressing the need for immigration policies that would make it easier for developers and engineers to get visas. That lack of progress has led this developer to take drastic steps in hopes of securing the "American Dream".
Smolder's concluded an interview he did with Develop earlier this year by stating:
“It’s all I really want to do, I want to contribute to this amazing industry. The entertainment industry, video games in particular, hit with me back in school, they really kept me motivated, gave me inspiration, got me connected with the rest of the world, and that's something everybody deserves.”