Nash wrote "Immigration Man" about an unfortunate moment he had with a U.S. Customs official when he tried to enter the country. The customs official held him up interminably, and soon people started coming up to Nash for his autograph. When that happened, Nash was allowed to go through, but he remained angry with the treatment he received.
"I'm not against local colour," Nash explained in discussing the song, "but why should you fight me just because you speak differently than I do?" Nash also explained why he chose a picture of the earth from space for the cover of the sheet music for "Immigration Man." "When you look at a photograph of the earth you don't see any borders. That realization is where our hope as a planet lies." Nash himself became a naturalizedU.S. citizen in 1978.
The first verse of "Immigration Man" refers to Nash going through customs and getting stopped by the "immigration man", who tells Nash that he's not sure if he can let him in. The second verse tells how Nash was given trouble over various documents, and the third finds him filling out a form that Nash humorously describes to be as big as a blanket. Crosby joins Nash on the next line, offering a warning to would-be global travelers: "So go where you will / As long as you think you can / You better watch out, watch out for the man / Anywhere you're going." The choruses, with harmonies from Crosby and Nash, are pleas for the immigration official to let Nash into the country, with a slight rewording at the end in which the immigration man is referred to as an "irritation man."