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Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy

WELCOME TO AMERICA

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This article has been linked in the comments, but it really merits raising the profile of the often horrible way tourists are treated by our immigration officials. Heavy handed, overzealous, rude CBP officials have done serious damage to the American economy and have also seriously damaged the image of our country abroad. Sure we need to be on the lookout for security threats. But that is just an excuse for intolerable behavior and a lot of the abusive behavior has nothing to do with protecting the country.

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Comments

  1. Alix's Avatar
    Hate to say it but I am almost glad that it happened. As more and more Europeans get caught in this mess, may be the outcry and lost business will force a change in the situation
  2. immi's Avatar
    Italian government should be protesting this behavior LOUDLY!! that should throw some light on these problems..
  3. JV's Avatar
    Moral of the story: You want to come to America, learn English. Or bring a dictionary. Preferably printed in the US of A. You think anything is going to change because of this fiasco? Nothing. You guessed it - I'm a cynic.
  4. George Chell's Avatar
    There are many folks who say if Obama wins communism will come to America. Soviet style communism is already here.

    Americans, especially minority Americans are treated like crap in other majority white countries.
  5. USC's Avatar
    "Moral of the story: You want to come to America, learn English."

    Yes, yes and when you want to go on a holiday/pleasure visit to China/France you need to learn Chinese/French.

    "You guessed it - I'm a cynic."

    You are too kind to yourself. I could enlighten you but then I might suffer the same fate as RL.

  6. Joe Frazier's Avatar
    I dont think citizenship or learning the language makes any difference. A few months ago a top government official in one of the departments that deals with immigrants and foreign arrivals, an African American, was detained and harrassed by ICE at Dulless airport. They said that they did not believe the diplomatic passport that the individual was carrying and that it was a fake. They interrogated the person for nearly an hour before release. Needless to say ICE officials were told to behave in the future. Seems like they dont care and sever action needs to be taken against these officials including suspension and dismissals.
  7. Dan's Avatar
    Moral of the story: It may happen to you!
  8. hmm's Avatar
    The story presented in the article sounds like a half truth, because surely if this Italian asked for an asylum, then he would have to sign a paper to that effect, namely to fill out Form I-589: http://www.uscis.gov/files/form/I-589.pdf . I find it hard to believe that he was jailed without signing the form. Probably he signed the form without understanding what he is doing, and later changed his mind. So the real question is how fast the Government must act when an asylum seeker changes his mind and just wants to go back home.

    The assertions that his English was inadequate to follow what is going on sound fishy too considering how many times he's been to the US, and that he had an American girlfriend.
  9. immi's Avatar
    hmm,

    "I find it hard to believe that he was jailed without signing the form. Probably he signed the form without understanding what he is doing, and later changed his mind."

    That does not mean it didn't happen that way!! I am surprised that people trust the government so blindly. The whole point of the story is immigration officials are taking law into their hands.

    If he signed the form without understanding? How can you say he changed his mind??? And what makes you think he would seek asylum in US?

    "The assertions that his English was inadequate to follow what is going on sound fishy too considering how many times he's been to the US, and that he had an American girlfriend."

    May be he does not know English!! Do you know how many people in US does not know English. He does not need to know English to have an American girlfriend.. Remember there are other languages...
  10. hmm's Avatar
    immi: I am of course just guessing but in this country jailing someone normally requires a paper trail, so there must be a formal reason as to why he went to jail. They do not admit people to jails without paperwork, don't they? The only reason mentioned in the article is that he asked for an asylum. This is done via Form I-589, and it is common to fill it out at the port of entry. There is a signature at the end of the form. Note that this guy later had competent attorneys who chose not to comment for the article? Why? If this were a clear cut violation of the law, they would comment. But I am guessing that he just did something stupid, and the border officials only followed the rules (that do not specify that Italians are to be treated differently from other asylee). Yes those rules are harsh and I know other similar stories and in each one there was stupidity involved. For examples there was an eldery grandma who mentioned at the border that she plans to overstay her visa for a month. She was jailed for 3 days.

    As for the language if you do not speak English well, do not speak it to immigration people when anything mildly serious is happening. They have interpreters at the border for most common languages and anyway you do not have to speak at all. This is the best policy. I always follow it when I go to non-English speaking countries.
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