US Immigration Controls

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starbug
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US Immigration Controls

Post by starbug » Jan 27th 2005, 7:12 am

I thought I'd put this here because while it's not overtly political, it's pretty interesting.

US immigration controls are becoming a reason genuine visitors do not want to visit the USA, IMO.

Recently I have heard of a couple of incidents which shocked me slightly.

Firstly, a friend of mine lives in Peru and she flies back and forth to the UK about once a year. She usually goes through Miami. However, the last time she was due to go, she was advised by the travel agent to check out the US visa situation because she's technically not a tourist. the purpose of her journey back to Peru is because she lives and works there, so this is what she has to declare to US authorities (apparently). So, she rang the embassy, who told her that yes, she needed a visa to enter the USA. But, she pleaded, I'm in transit. I'm in your country for 4 hours, and I have a through air ticket I can show you, to Lima. I have always done this in the past and it's never been a problem. No, she is told, she needs to get a visa because she's entering the states other than as a tourist. Fortunately she refused to believe them, went to the US embassy in London and eventually found someone at a desk who knew what she was talking about, who told her that no, she didn't need a visa. Fortunately she asked for documentation confirming this, because she had to show it to the immigration officials at Miami.

Second, my parents just came back from a trip to the US to visit family. For those who don't know, my parents used to be US Citizens. However, they renounced citizenship in the 1980s. At the time dual nationality wasn't an option. So, anyway, the sharp-eyed immigration official spotted my mum's very obvious US birthplace on her British passport, and started questioning them about whether they'd ever been US Citizens. So they told the truth, and that they'd renounced citizenship, and gave the reason as the unavailability of dual nationality at the time. The immigration official said he could not recall a time when dual nationality was not available (!), and then proceeded to stamp their passports with a stamp saying they were renounced US Citizens. This bothers me because:
a) is it relevant to their admission to the USA as a visitor, from a country which participates in the visa waiver scheme, that they were once US citizens? surely all that matters is that they are british now, and have the correct documentation.
b) they now each have a stamp in their passport which announces to the world that they used to be American. The fact that passports are used in more than the USA (my dad travels all over the world) and as identification for many purposes, means that every time my parents need to show their passport to anyone official, for whatever reason (and this includes, in the UK, financial purposes) it's immediately clear that they used to be American. this, surely, is nobody's business but their own, and may well potentially cause problems at other borders etc, as well as being a gross invasion of privacy, the way I see it.

They were also fingerprinted and photographed on entering and leaving the country, which I understand is now standard.

I'm flying through LA in a few weeks and I have to say, I'm not at all looking forward to touching down on US soil, where civil liberties and freedom apparently have no meaning. Mr. S is from NI, which is now worrying me.

I'm pointing this out I suppose because most members of this forum are from the US, and so wouldn't ever encounter the (and I say this through experience personally too) downright arrogance, incompetence, rudeness and general ignorance of US immigration staff. it's not so much 'welcome to the USA' as 'we don't want you here and you're all under suspicion'.
It's upsetting.

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Nostradamus
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Post by Nostradamus » Jan 27th 2005, 7:36 pm

Thanks for posting that Starbug, it is interesting if sad. I read something similar recently (and now I can't remember where, d'oh!) about foreign students studying at American universities. In the past, many thousands of bright, hard-working young people would come to America for their education. A lot of them stayed in country to begin their careers, and thus contributed to the economy. Now however, there has been sharp curtailing of the visas that they need if they are to stay for an extended time. The result? They are still getting their education here, but then must immediately return to the old country, thus ironically fueling many Americans' fears of losing jobs to international competition.

Now, personally, I'm not afraid of globalization; in fact I look forward to the shift away from industry and service towards the new information and creativity based economies. Still, I can understand why people would prefer a gradual change over a sudden one, and these immigration policies aren't helping. Change is coming, one way or another. Intellectual stagnation won't help, it will only put off the inevitable and make the transition more difficult.

Another, less tangible concern is the change in America's image. Time was when this was a haven where people from oppressed countries could come to build a new life. There was no gaurantee of success, but at least there was hope, which was a lot more than they got under despotism. Now, more and more, America is becoming like a forbidding castle which no one can enter and no one can leave. That's an exaggeration, of course; America is still very open compared to a lot of hell-holes in the world, but that's the way it's headed. So, even if it is more secure under the new policies (which is debatable), is it worth the price?

Anyway, just MHO.
I have never killed a man, but I have read many obituaries with great pleasure.
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I didn't attend the funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying I approved of it.
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lance
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Re: US Immigration Controls

Post by lance » Jan 27th 2005, 11:07 pm

starbug wrote: Second, my parents just came back from a trip to the US to visit family. For those who don't know, my parents used to be US Citizens. However, they renounced citizenship in the 1980s. At the time dual nationality wasn't an option. So, anyway, the sharp-eyed immigration official spotted my mum's very obvious US birthplace on her British passport, and started questioning them about whether they'd ever been US Citizens. So they told the truth, and that they'd renounced citizenship, and gave the reason as the unavailability of dual nationality at the time. The immigration official said he could not recall a time when dual nationality was not available (!), and then proceeded to stamp their passports with a stamp saying they were renounced US Citizens. This bothers me because:
a) is it relevant to their admission to the USA as a visitor, from a country which participates in the visa waiver scheme, that they were once US citizens? surely all that matters is that they are british now, and have the correct documentation.
b) they now each have a stamp in their passport which announces to the world that they used to be American. The fact that passports are used in more than the USA (my dad travels all over the world) and as identification for many purposes, means that every time my parents need to show their passport to anyone official, for whatever reason (and this includes, in the UK, financial purposes) it's immediately clear that they used to be American. this, surely, is nobody's business but their own, and may well potentially cause problems at other borders etc, as well as being a gross invasion of privacy, the way I see it.

They were also fingerprinted and photographed on entering and leaving the country, which I understand is now standard.
Very sorry to hear that they were treated so badly. I'd like to say that theirs is a unique case but from everything I've read this is not the case.
I'm flying through LA in a few weeks and I have to say, I'm not at all looking forward to touching down on US soil, where civil liberties and freedom apparently have no meaning. Mr. S is from NI, which is now worrying me.
Here'e hoping your brief trip here is blissfully uneventful.
I'm pointing this out I suppose because most members of this forum are from the US, and so wouldn't ever encounter the (and I say this through experience personally too) downright arrogance, incompetence, rudeness and general ignorance of US immigration staff. it's not so much 'welcome to the USA' as 'we don't want you here and you're all under suspicion'.
It's upsetting.
Thanks for sharing Starbug. As bad as this news is it does put a human face on statistics.

Like Nostradamus said their is a troubling trend (from a US economic prospective) of foreign students not coming to the US but instead going to Toronto, Sydney or London. On Marketplace (Public Radio International) a commentator recently said that if this trend continues the US could lose its technical edge.

On the domestic side of things I have heard rumblings of numerous Americans being placed on "No Fly List". These include American nuns who have engaged in civil disobedience. The result seems to be a growing list of Americans permanetly banned from flying because of their political differences with the GOP or because of their arabic sounding last names.

Also keep in mind that the Airlines as recently as 2002 wanted to use credit checks as part of a no fly list. Got bad credit, bankruptcy no problem, you can't fly with us. The plan got shelved, I believe it was called CAPS, but with the current bunch in power they may try and bring it back.

-LanceMan

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lance
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Post by lance » Dec 6th 2005, 1:16 am

:shock:

:evil: :evil: :evil:

See:

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/stor ... Id=5022866

"In each case, witnesses charge that some immigrants died after guards and medical staff failed to give them proper medical care. The incidents raise a question: Is there a pattern of medical neglect in Homeland Security's detention centers?"

The one that got me was the case of the immigrant who was in a room with his immigration lawyer when he threw up and collapsed. Guards outside refused to get help. The man died the next day.

Absolute power corrupts absolutely.

-LanceMan

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