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Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy

US APOLOGIZES FOR TREATMENT OF ICELANDIC TOURIST

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Some of you brought this case up in the comments and it is worth raising the profile of the discussion. The matter involves a tourist from Iceland who was barred from entering the US due to an overstay of a tourist visa ten years earlier. But the tourist,  Erla Ósk Arnardóttir Lilliendahl, was not merely politely declined entry and required to board a plane back home. She was shackled, jailed for 24 hours in a prison cell, barred from making phone calls, denied food and water, and, according to Ms. Lilliendahl, treated in a humiliating manner. What should be shocking about this case is not that it happened, but that it happens all the time and our media and lawmakers ignore the subject.

The good news is that Iceland's leaders did not let the matter go and demanded an apology and an action plan from the US. And they have gotten both.  Stewart Baker, the Assistant Secretary for Policy at the Department of Homeland Security has written a letter to Iceland Foreign Minister
Ingibjörg Sólrún Gísladóttir apologizing for the treatment and also stating that the incident gives DHS a reason to review work procedures relating to how foreign tourists are being treated in the US. Now let's see whether this is just talk or action will follow.

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  1. Lolo's Avatar
    Fascists usually have no respect for their enemies' human rights. They eventually apply the same treatment to foreigners and ultimately to their own citizens......
  2. USC's Avatar
    This is great news. LNLW, myself and another poster argued that INS had made a grave error and the US was being made to appear as an uncivilized nation. We were bitterly opposed by a handful of antis who used every excuse under the sun to condone the barbaric treatment this woman received. It is good to see that the DHS has finally agreed with the pros. Good for Iceland.

    Greg, on a seaparate note. What do you think of the DOS practice of gradually releasing EB & FB number so that they are available throughout the year? I think it is a good idea if the categories are current but when this system is applied to backlogged categories such as EB3 or any of the FB categories it has the effect of making some people wait as much as an extra year. If all the numbers for backlogged categories are made available each October the wait for some folks will be shortened by as much as year. Do you agree?
  3. hmm's Avatar
    "INS had made a grave error"

    what grave error? This kind of treatment is not unusual, especially when dealing with people from developing countries. It'd be nice if things change for the better... even though I am not optimistic.
  4. Anonymous's Avatar
    When will Mexico apologize for distributing maps that help people evade law enforcement as they cross the border?

    Not to mention, encourage people to walk through dangerous areas where they may ultimately die from exposure to the elements.
  5. Deb's Avatar
    When I first posted the link, some antis argued that the treatment was ok. Behaving in an uncivilized manner is not ok anywhere. Also, it is hardly newsworthy when people from less developed countries are at the receiving end of this sort of treatment, which I suspect happens more often than we know.
  6. 's Avatar
    Apologies are cheap. Lets see if any procedures change on the ground.
  7. USC's Avatar
    "what grave error?"

    From Greg's headline:

    "US APOLOGIZES FOR TREATMENT OF ICELANDIC TOURIST"

    "Behaving in an uncivilized manner is not ok anywhere."

    Absolutely. We have to stop housing tourists with criminals, in the local jail. If someone has paperwork errors send them on the next plane back, have adequate housing facilities at the airport or house the tourist, at his/her expense, at an airport hotel.

    "Lets see if any procedures change on the ground."

    We will have to wait till the Clinton administartion for that!


  8. bushforever's Avatar
    why should we care about this woman ?
    we don't need anyone else, in fact, the world needs us more than we need them. withous us, the world will collapse.
    still, we are obliged to save their a** from terrorist. shame on you japan, europe, arab, while we are protecting you all everywhere in the world.
  9. foreigner's Avatar
    Bushforever :
    Sadly you sound as idiotic as your name. I don't know any country thats called "arab" or "europe" for that matter. Care to get a little educated?
  10. USC's Avatar
    The reactions of the antis to this incident speaks volumes about the kind of human beings they are. This hapless lady wasn't an immigrant she was merely a tourist!
  11. 's Avatar
    "We will have to wait till the Clinton administartion for that!"

    It will be an Obama administration if anything :-). But seriously, I doubt things will change. For example, the US has been moving towards a Saudi Arabia style immigration system (labor without political rights) through both Republican and Democratic administrations, so there is a consistent long term trend towards immigration restriction.

  12. Sid's Avatar
    "It will be an Obama administration if anything :-). But seriously, I doubt things will change. For example, the US has been moving towards a Saudi Arabia style immigration system (labor without political rights) through both Republican and Democratic administrations, so there is a consistent long term trend towards immigration restriction."

    I know a thing or two about how things work in most countries in the Middle East. First of all, income is not taxed. For white collar jobs, the employers provide furnished accommodation, transport, one annual round-trip ticket back home, 1 month of paid vacation, etc.

    If the US is still the preferred destination for most skilled immigrants, it is because of the civil liberties and a path to permanent residency/citizenship. You take the second away and Canada/Australia/UK/Middle East would seem like infinitely better options.

    In the last few years the Middle Eastern countries are investing heavily on education/infrastructure etc. because they've realized that their oil money is not going to last forever. Try to read about what's happening in Dubai/Doha.

    Frankly, seeing the way EB reforms are being blocked by the antis and the pro-illegals, if I had not invested a significant amount of time here, I would have left by now. It looks like some administrative fixes are on the horizon. So, all hope is not lost yet.
  13. Greg Siskind's Avatar
    Hi USC - >>Greg, on a seaparate note. What do you think of the DOS practice of gradually releasing EB & FB number so that they are available throughout the year? I think it is a good idea if the categories are current but when this system is applied to backlogged categories such as EB3 or any of the FB categories it has the effect of making some people wait as much as an extra year. If all the numbers for backlogged categories are made available each October the wait for some folks will be shortened by as much as year. Do you agree?
  14. 's Avatar
    Right on cue someone started a thread that shows how things have been deteriorating through Democratic and Republican administrations. When people who originally got work visas in 1994 and 1998 are waiting, I know it's going to be a long wait. That last post on the thread about someone who's maintained non-immigrant status for 26 years seems rather incredible (originally a 1 year old who's now a 27 year old).

    http://immigrationvoice.org/forum/showthread.php?t=16302
  15. USC's Avatar
    "However, I'd rather just see the nonsense system we have now revamped for one with adequate numbers, no per country quotas, no counting of spouses and children to the annual limits, no quotas at all in occupations deemed by the Labor Department to have national acute shortages, and the ability to file an adjustment of status petition when a number is not available."

    Of course, I agree. But seems like we will have to take baby steps with immigration reform!
  16. bobzibub's Avatar
    "British visitors to the US will have details of their physical characteristics added to a new billion dollar database under plans drawn up by the FBI.
    Fingerprints, iris scans and even details of the way people walk, their scars and the size and shape of their ear lobes will be collected.
    British intelligence agencies and police will also be able to access the information - giving them potentially more biometric data on British citizens than the Government collects at home.
    Under the plans, revealed by the Washington Post, the FBI database will include details on everyone who applies for a visa to enter the US."

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2007/12/22/wfbi122.xml


    I was insulted when I had to get my fingerprints done. (First time.) And again, and again. Not because I did anything wrong, but because I came to the US, which, I guess is wrong.. Now ear lobes and gates? That is too much.
    Kiss business travelers & tourists good bye.
  17.       's Avatar
    Idiots. They should just skip ahead to microchipping everyone.
  18. USC's Avatar
    Illegals:

    http://www.eturbonews.com/478/eus-expanding-borderless-zone-spells-trouble-us-expats

    My personal experience in places like France, Germany, Scandinavia, Switzerland is that they don't stamp US passports either on entry or exit. So, you can stay in the EU indefinitely as no one knows when you arrived. I still remember the time that a middle aged tourist from the Mid-West spent her half day in Monte Carlo looking for someone to stamp her passport. That was more important to her than seeing the local sites. Finally, someone suggested that she try the local police station!
  19. Deb's Avatar
    Illegal US tourists? I wonder if the antis who justified the treatment of the Icelandic tourist will recommend the same to his/her fellow citizens?
  20. 's Avatar
    I think their entry procedures are lax because they are much more tolerant of suspicious/terrorist activities. All the more reason for the US not to follow their lead.
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