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Lorien Lowe
10-02-2007, 10:22 PM
the following is a letter written by the son of a co-worker of mine, an American citizen, about his arrival with his wife at SFO from Japan.

September 6, 2007
To Whom it may concern:

On September 5, 2007, my wife Haruna Suzuki and I arrived at San Francisco International Airport around 8:30 am on flight UA 0830.

When we reached immigration, I sent her to the foreign visitor section and I went to the U.S. citizen section. We are legally married in Japan, but she is a Japanese citizen and holds no green card.

Once we had gotten all of our luggage, we walked to the customs area. I was told to walk through, although I misunderstood at first and got into the line for inspection. An officer told me that I could leave, so I left the inspection line, but came up to the exit of the area as Haruna was in line there.

A customs officer (surname Choi) asked me what I wanted and I told him that Haruna is my wife and that I was just waiting for her. He asked me for my passport, which I was holding in my hand, and I immediately gave it to him.

The entire time this was happening, I was translating what he was saying into Mandarin Chinese for Haruna. She speaks very little English, and up until this point no one was speaking Japanese to her.

Showing more and more suspicion, the officer told us to wait and then made a phone call to another officer. I was told to speak to her and she informed me that it was illegal to obtain a green card from within the U.S., that we would have to do it from outside. I explained to her that we already were aware of this and that I appreciated her help. I also explained that although we wanted to visit the immigration bureau, we had no plans at this time to apply for the green card because we didn't have time before leaving the U.S. again in a month to a month and a half. It was around this time that we told the officers of our plans to buy round-the-world passes in order to travel and study for a year.

Officer Choi told me again that Haruna could not get a green card while visiting the United States, and I again assured him that we had no intention nor the time to do so.

Before he made the phone call, the officer had asked us if any of the luggage on my trolley was Haruna's, and I told him that it was all mixed as we were married and had come to the U.S. for a month to a month and a half. Now he asked me again if any of it was Haruna's, and I gave him the same answer, including the length of stay of our visit.

At this time, I was approached by another officer and told to leave. I also informed him that Haruna was my wife and that I was just there to help if I could. He said he understood, but that I had to wait outside. I told Haruna of what I planned to do, and then waited in the corridor between customs and the exit. Within a couple of minutes, the same officer approached me and told me that I had to exit the area and wait in arrivals. I told Haruna and she apologized for taking a long time. That was the last time I talked to her for roughly 20 hours.

I waited in the waiting area for close to two hours before I became a bit worried and asked a woman working at the information booth if there were any way I could check on my wife. She gave me the extension *1138 which I called. I was only informed that perhaps she had wandered into the flight transfer section instead of the arrivals.

Over the next two hours, I spoke with three customs officers who I intercepted walking out of the immigration/customs area and called the extension three more times. I was given the number 650-837-2878 by one of the officers and told by the person on the other end of the extension that Haruna had been moved back from customs into a "secondary" room in immigration.

Four hours had passed at this point and this was all I had been told.

I called the telephone number two times. The first time was unsuccessful, but the second time I was given to the supervisor in charge of Haruna's interrogation. He informed me that because our stories did not "match up," that she would almost assuredly be deported immediately. He told me that she was giving a sworn deposition, that she was with an interpreter, and that they suspected her of wanting to enter the country for illegal purposes because she didn't have the intention of using her return flight (I told him that I didn't know if she planned to use it or not). This was all he told me and then informed me that he would compare what I told him with what Haruna had said. I told him where I was exactly so that he could send an officer out to keep me informed.

Another 20 minutes later, an officer went to a crowded area about 200 feet from myself and yelled out my surname. I immediately ran down to him and thanked him at which point he told me that my wife was to be deported within the next 5 minutes because they didn't want to hold her any longer than that. I pleaded with him to ask his supervisor to reconsider: we had just gotten off a long flight, we were exhausted, we only planned to stay in the U.S. from a month to a month and a half, and that any inconsistency on our parts was due to the fact that we hadn't planned the next year fully yet. I pleaded with the officer (who was uncooperative and argumentative) to finally ask his supervisor to reconsider. His supervisor refused, so I begged the man to please not deport my wife, but instead book her on a flight an hour later so that I could buy the round-the-world tickets we planned on obtaining in the U.S. to prove that we had no intention of staying longer than the before mentioned, and repeatedly mentioned, month to month and a half.

They refused, and without letting me see or talk to her once, or even send her a message, without giving me a chance to catch a return flight with her, they packed her onto the next flight out.

I was finally able to talk to Haruna this morning after about 20 hours. She was exhausted after two consecutive flights of 9 hours and 11 hours. After her flight to Tokyo airport her train was delayed due to a typhoon. She finally arrived at a friend's house exhausted and in very poor health, towing a bag that was too heavy for her to safely carry. She was treated like a criminal on the basis of a far-fetched suspicion.

Here is what Haruna related to me, which I had not been aware of before:
1)She was not informed of why she was being questioned and what the problem was.
2)She was provided with a translator only over the telephone. The translator was not aware of what the situation was.
3)She was told to answer only with yes or no and give no other explanations or answers.
4)She was not allowed to ask any questions of her own.
5)After her deposition, they refused to answer any of her questions, allow her to see or talk to me, send me a message or in any other way communicate with me.

I realize that the role of customs and immigration is a stressful and potentially dangerous job; however, the methods used by the staff at SFO amounted to a gross abuse of power. My wife and I were helpful, friendly, non-aggressive, and cooperative the entire time. The officers involved gave no impression as to the magnitude of the consequences my wife faced, and their handling of the situation was neglectful, inept, cruel, redundant, and completely lacking in common sense.

Their vague accusation against my wife potentially planning to illegally reside within the United States was based on poor evidence:

1)Our stories didn't match up - our plans for the next year are loose, and we haven't yet planned as to where we will definitely travel, when and from where we will apply for her green card, or from what company we will buy our round-the-world passes. To assume that we will break laws in doing any of this is absurd and unfounded based on our records.

2)Haruna said she didn't plan to use her return ticket - our plan is (possible "was" due to the current situation and a tight budget) to buy round-the-world passes from the U.S., possibly Japan. In the case of the latter, Haruna and I may have flown back to Japan to make the purchase there. Had she been informed of what case was being brought against her clearly, had the officers in charge been willing to listen to our situation, they may have understood this. However, they refused to listen, espoused laws they themselves were admittedly not clear on, and deliberately kept me removed from the situation entirely. Because Haruna didn't plan on using her return ticket is not indicative of planning to stay illegally in the U.S. Ticket can easily be cancelled or refunded.

3)Haurna shipped many of her belongings to the U.S. - this is only true if you consider my and her possessions as solely hers. We are a married couple and plan to eventually settle in the U.S., most likely sometime within the next two years. If we choose to leave our belongings here in preparation for our eventual move, I hardly see how this amounts to criminal intent.

The deportation of my wife, Haruna Suzuki, a registered nurse with absolutely no criminal background, was based on assumptions she was guilty because of suspicions of a potential crime. This is neither constitutional nor maintaining with professional conduct.

Sincerely,
Colby L. Dahlstrom

Colby's and Haruna's stories could have easily been verified with phone calls to his family here in California or her family in Japan; however, no attempt to verify their stories was made. Both Colby and Haruna had passports; according to the U.S. State departmet website, Japan is a Visa-Waived country, meaning that Haruna did not need a visa to visit for 90 days or less: http://travel.state.gov/visa/temp/without/without_1990.html#countries . Further, it is appalling that SFO did not have customs or immigration agents on hand who were capable of speaking either Japanese or Mandarin, both of which Haruna is fluent in.

The customs agents jumped to a conclusion based on some unusual aspect of Colby's and Haruna's presentation - because they got married in Japan? Because the spoke together in Mandarin, rather than in Japanese or English (he does not speak much Japanese, she does not speak much English)? Whatever the cause, once they formed their impression they neither sought nor accepted any evidence to the contrary.

I find it shameful that this sort of bullying, deliberately ignorant behavior is condoned in the United States.

-Lorien

HL1978
10-02-2007, 11:05 PM
Immigration is always screwy. This whole story makes no sense given that Japan is a visa waiver country and you don't need a green card for stays less than 90 days.

Taliesin
10-03-2007, 07:22 AM
Unfortunately that is a totally unsurprising story - certainly inthe UK getting things right and treating people fairly hardly ever even makes onto the list of things an IO considers (although there are the few odd exceptions)

SeiserL
10-03-2007, 07:47 AM
You disagree with a policy, so you feel ashamed?
I disagree a lot, but never do I feel shame for being an American, rather I am proud.

Ron Tisdale
10-03-2007, 08:23 AM
I may be proud of where I am a citizen...but I am definitely ashamed that my fellow countrymen so easily discriminate, harm and casually dismiss the lives of others.

I have some first hand experience with customs folks because my fiance is French. Sometimes you get kind, considerate and informed customs officials. Sometimes you don't. It is shameful that sometimes people are treated in the manner described above.

It is shameful that Canadian citizens are shipped off for torture to the middle east, even though they have committed no crime. It is shameful that justice here is unequal.

Maybe when enough people feel and share that shame, things will change.

Best,
Ron

Mattias Bengtsson
10-03-2007, 10:15 AM
This has nothing to do with Americans but rather incompetent airport security. Before 9/11 they were to lax, and now afterwards everyone is treated as a potential security threat. And they're to stubborn to admit that their initial reaction might be wrong... (that's the incompetent part, if someone can't admit they've maybe made a mistake...)

Anyway, its not exclusive to USA.

Friend of mine usually gets or used to get stopped in customs because he got that "look", whenever he travels and he's been to USA several times on vacation.
This little incident however happened in UK where he did a transfer and appearantly the officers thought it strange as he was taking off from Copenhagen in Denmark instead off any Swedish airport.
The fact that for a swede to travel to other Scandinavian countries like Norway and Denmark is no more complicated than for a American to get from one state to another or a English to go to Scotland or Wales was unexplainable to them, and that the Danish airport was much closer to him than any Swedish airport of equal size.

And as the interrogation went on and on, they asked "then how come he was so nervous" with the answer that "of course he was nervous, as his plane was leaving in 20 minutes and he was worried he might miss it....."

Makes me think of Benjamin Franklin:
"A state which sacrifices a bit of freedom for a little bit of security, will deserve neither and lose both"

Hogan
10-03-2007, 12:01 PM
T...and now afterwards everyone is treated as a potential security threat. ...

We have to; if we didn't, then we would have to resort to profiling, and if we did that, the ACLU would be up in arms suing someone or another.

Ron Tisdale
10-03-2007, 02:22 PM
We have to; if we didn't, then we would have to resort to profiling, and if we did that, the ACLU would be up in arms suing someone or another.

Ah, so you would rather people that look like me get all the inconvenience, and you don't have to worry about it?

I assume I mis-understand what you are saying.

Best,
Ron

Mattias Bengtsson
10-03-2007, 04:09 PM
We have to; if we didn't, then we would have to resort to profiling, and if we did that, the ACLU would be up in arms suing someone or another.

I think you missed where I said treated, not viewed.

James Davis
10-03-2007, 05:14 PM
The twin towers falling will probably make things horrible for people who travel for a long time to come. The security personnell don't want anything bad to happen "on their watch", but they were really being a bunch of jerks in this case. I'm sure that there's no policy that states they have to separate someone from their spouse for twenty hours! I can't even imagine how pissed I would be!

I'm still proud to be an American, but stories like this really sadden me. I, for one, will take note of this person's experiences and not let go of my wife's hand until they make me.

If we're so worried about terrorism and people entering the country illegally, why is it probable that they could have flown into mexico and strolled across the border?:crazy:

Luc X Saroufim
10-03-2007, 06:02 PM
i like being an American citizen because it's easy to travel and the opportunities are good to raise my future family; however, i disagree with our collective reaction to being attacked.

Taliesin
10-04-2007, 04:38 AM
Given the lady in question had got off a plane - the argument about security doen't stand up. This was an Immigration Issue - although again if it's anything like the UK IOs take pride in the fact that they've never had to learn, let alone obey any of the Immigration Rules.

Hogan
10-04-2007, 10:17 AM
Ah, so you would rather people that look like me get all the inconvenience, and you don't have to worry about it?

I assume I mis-understand what you are saying.

Best,
Ron

Huh? My point is that we have to treat everyone as a threat because if we didn't then that would mean we had to partake in 'profiling', and that if we did THAT, then the ACLU would sue. This is why we do what we do, because the authorities don't want to deal with the fallout of 'profiling'. Do I agree? No, I'd rather 'profile' so you & your grandmama aren't inconvenienced.

So, getting back to your original comment, why would I not have to worry about it?

Hogan
10-04-2007, 10:19 AM
I think you missed where I said treated, not viewed.

??
No, I got it. You said treated, I agreed - that we DO have to treat all as threats.

odudog
10-04-2007, 01:21 PM
[QUOTE=So, getting back to your original comment, why would I not have to worry about it?[/QUOTE]

Most likely you are white and 9 out of 10 times white people are not profiled. That is why you don't have to worry about profiling. On the other hand, people who are not white are profiled 9 out of 10 times hence the hassle.

Lorien Lowe
10-04-2007, 01:25 PM
The twin towers falling will probably make things horrible for people who travel for a long time to come. The security personnell don't want anything bad to happen "on their watch", but they were really being a bunch of jerks in this case. I'm sure that there's no policy that states they have to separate someone from their spouse for twenty hours! I can't even imagine how pissed I would be!

Twenty hours, and the breadth of the Pacific Ocean.

Haruna is still in Japan; Colby is still in California; they are trying to decide what to do with their limited funds, given the cost of flying Haruna to the U.S. again (would she just be detained and sent back one more time?) or Colby to Japan.

9/11 had nothing to do with this. What Haruna was suspected of was the intent to over-stay her 90-day limit, nothing else; they put her back on a plane to Japan, which they certianly would not have done if they thought she was any sort of potential terrorist threat.

Neil Mick
10-04-2007, 01:26 PM
You disagree with a policy, so you feel ashamed?
I disagree a lot, but never do I feel shame for being an American, rather I am proud.

A couple of thoughts:

Regarding the incident itself: I find it sickening that the poor woman was profiled. Sorry, but this sounds exactly what happened. I've personally seen at least two cases where ppl were pulled out of line for no apparent reason other than their ethnicity.

This sort of thing happens a lot on US airlines, recently. Consider the case of Raed Jarrar (http://www.northcountrygazette.org/news/2007/08/10/discrimatory_tshirt/) and JetBlue, which discriminated purely on his ethnicity and the Arabic writing on his T-shirt:

NEW YORK—A federal civil rights lawsuit charging that a Transportation Security Administration official and JetBlue Airways illegally discriminated against an American resident based solely on the Arabic message on his t-shirt and his ethnicity has been filed by the New York Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU.

JetBlue and the TSA official, identified as “Inspector Harris,” prohibited Raed Jarrar from boarding his flight at John F. Kennedy Airport until he agreed to cover his t-shirt, which read “We Will Not Be Silent” in English and Arabic script. According to the complaint, Harris told Jarrar that it is impermissible to wear an Arabic shirt to an airport and equated it to a “person wearing a t-shirt at a bank stating, ‘I am a robber.’”

“It is a dangerous and slippery slope when we allow our government to take away a person’s rights because of his speech or ethnic background,” said Reginald Shuford, a senior staff attorney with the ACLU’s Racial Justice Program. “Racial profiling is illegal and ineffective and has no place in a democratic society.”

Jarrar, an architect and political analyst of Arabic descent, has lived in the United States since 2005 with his wife, who is an American citizen. On Aug. 12, 2006, Jarrar attempted to fly on JetBlue from New York to Oakland, California, where he lived at the time. Although Jarrar successfully cleared two security checkpoints, he was approached by Inspector Harris while waiting at the boarding gate. Harris brought Jarrar to the JetBlue counter and told him that he would have to remove his shirt because other passengers were not comfortable with the Arabic script.

(after I heard about this story: I went out and bought the same T-shirt. Guess what my apparel will be, on my next air-flight? Will I get pulled off the line...? Probably not: wrong ethnicity).

There are also, of course, more obvious cases like Yusuf Islam, (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yusuf_Islam) formerly Cat Stevens:

On 21 September 2004, Yusuf Islam was traveling on a United Airlines flight from London to Washington, en route to a meeting with singer Dolly Parton, who had recorded "Peace Train" several years earlier and was planning to include another Cat Stevens song on an upcoming album. While the plane was in flight, the Computer Assisted Passenger Prescreening System flagged his name as being on a no-fly list. Customs agents alerted the Transportation Security Administration, which then diverted his flight to Bangor, Maine, where he was detained by the FBI.

The following day, Yusuf Islam was deported back to the United Kingdom. The United States Transportation Security Administration claimed there were "concerns of ties he may have to potential terrorist-related activities". The United States Department of Homeland Security specifically alleged that Yusuf Islam had provided funding to the Palestinian Islamic militant group Hamas. However, he was admitted without incident into the United States in December 2006 for several radio concert performances and interviews to promote his new record.

Now, what are the driving emotions for these regressive policies? Fear. Fear of the unknown.

Finally, there are the shameful conditions at Hutto Detention Facility, (http://www.aclu.org/immigrants/detention/hutto.html) which had kept kids detained in prisonlike conditions:

On August 27, the ACLU announced a landmark settlement with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) that greatly improves conditions for immigrant children and their families in the T. Don Hutto detention center in Taylor, Texas.

The settlement was the result of lawsuits brought earlier this year on behalf of 26 immigrant children detained with their parents at Hutto. The lawsuits contended that the conditions inside the detention center violate numerous provisions of Flores v. Meese, a 1997 court settlement that established minimum standards and conditions for the housing and release of all minors in federal immigration custody.

Since the original lawsuits were filed, all 26 children represented by the ACLU have been released. The last six children were released days before the settlement was finalized and are now living with family members who are U.S. citizens and/or legal permanent residents while pursuing their asylum claims.

Conditions at Hutto have gradually and significantly improved as a result of the groundbreaking litigation. Children are no longer required to wear prison uniforms and are allowed much more time outdoors. Educational programming has expanded and guards have been instructed not to discipline children by threatening to separate them from their parents.

All these cases are indicative of a deep, deep problem in the way the US relates to the rest of the world.

Now, regarding whether one feels "shame," or "pride," being an American...

Consider "shame." The idea of "shame" being a negative emotion is curiously American (others share it as well, no doubt). The Japanese culture, for instance, views shame in a different light:

Shame and the samurai: institutions, trusthworthiness, and autonomy in the elite honor culture. (http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G1-112943747.html)

ALTHOUGH shame is a complex notion in any culture, it has strong negative connotations in modern Anglo-American usage. It also often implies experiencing a passive emotion in a private space. Imposing such an image onto other cultures' usage of shame, however, may obscure the complexity and dynamics of the concept. Premodern Japanese samurai culture indicates that the notion of shame can be a powerful public concept even while rooted in the innermost depth of an individual's dignity.

Although anyone can experience emotions related to shame and honor, social usages and the degree of social influence wielded by these concepts are considerably different if the ruling elite place them at the core of their collective identity. The Japanese concept of shame was closely connected to the rise and transformation of the samurai elite and their political institutions. Yet, a sense of shame was a criterion of honorific autonomy and trustworthiness of individual samurai as well as the inner source of their self-esteem. Interestingly, haji or shame can be described in Japanese by a kanji (Chinese character) that consists of an ideogram composed of two root characters representing "ear" and "mind." As this way of writing implies, by serving as a bridge between individual aspirations and social expectations, shame in the samurai culture is a case study in the complexity of the interactions between the self and society.

And so, shame can be a means of internally examining one's morality in relation to the dominant culture (as, opposed to "embarassment," which is always public).

Frankly, if you're at all aware of the effects of the US upon the world for the past 40 years: I cannot see how you COULDN'T feel shame. Abu Ghraib, the folly of the Iraqi occupation, our lead-up to war with Iran; Blackwater; our complicity in the bombing of Lebanon; locking up Arab-American's en masse right after 9-11; Guantanamo; extroadinary rendition...and that's only within the last 3 years, or so. The list goes on.

IMO, in considering US foreign policy and Customs alone, if you're NOT feeling ashamed on some level, then you're either unaware, apathetic, not being honest with yourself and your feelings, or you support these shameful policies (which, in my book: means that you are out of touch, on some level, with the founding principles of this society).

However, I believe that one CAN both feel pride in one's country and shame on the effect our country has upon the world. The two are not mutually exclusive.

Lorien Lowe
10-04-2007, 01:27 PM
It would have been so easy - a matter of minutes - to verify their stories, but no one tried.

Hogan
10-04-2007, 01:48 PM
Most likely you are white and 9 out of 10 times white people are not profiled. That is why you don't have to worry about profiling. On the other hand, people who are not white are profiled 9 out of 10 times hence the hassle.

Ah, got it. See this is why we don't have profiling - everyone is treated as potential threat, otherwise, people profiled will get inconvenienced & offended & then ACLU comes in. So we continue on the road that EVERYONE is inconvenienced, even grandmama's & baby's.

But my question was to Ron, who most likely is white, too, no? Ron, was this what you meant?

Flintstone
10-04-2007, 02:19 PM
John, you see... that's why I promised to myself not to go back to the States until you change your mentality. While I was there last time, I was driving from Dallas to New Orleans with an Irish colleague (me being a Spaniard) and we were stopped, scanned and questioned just because we were... well, a Spaniard and an Irishman. Not funny, you know. I am not a potential threat to nobody. Period.

Maybe you want to be treated like that when out of your country?

Steven
10-04-2007, 02:33 PM
Ron, who most likely is white, too, no?

W H A T ? R o n's W h i t e?

Dang .. after all this time ......

:rolleyes:

Neil Mick
10-04-2007, 02:40 PM
W H A T ? R o n's W h i t e?

Dang .. after all this time ......

:rolleyes:

Wait...he ISN'T??? :D :D

Ah, so you would rather people that look like me...


Gee...I thought he meant big guys over 40, who are losing their hair...(*looking worriedly at mirror, and my passport...*) :D :D :D :crazy:

Marc Abrams
10-04-2007, 02:46 PM
Alejandro:

There have numerous times in different countries where I have been pulled over by police in various countries in order for me help them out with their petty cash fund! I still go to many of those various countries (some of which are Spanish speaking- go figure!). I simply figure that in as a "cost of doing business." I would much rather experience what you experienced, rather than the common bribe system that exists in many countries at this time.

The Unites States do a piss-poor job at securing it's borders. What happened to that young lady was both unfortunate and in many ways, ridiculous. I wish we spent the money we have wasted in the "sand box" securing our own borders and developing effective ways of handling people's entering in, and leaving our borders. The threats in the world today are real, and I would sleeper better at night if we could actually fix the mess that occurs at our borders, crossings, etc..

I am not ashamed or embarrassed to be an American. I use my rights as a proud American to demand that the US do a better job at what is is suppose to be doing.

Marc Abrams

Flintstone
10-04-2007, 02:55 PM
Marc, believe me that I'm too much used to the bribe system having traveled Turkmenistan, Turkey, Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore... for quite a long time. But in some developing countries this is to be expected, so take it or leave it.

The point is, we are talking about the States, not about Turkmenistan. And we are talking about being treated like a potential threat, not as another source of income. Me, I prefer to be asked for a three-euro bribe in Indonesia rather than to be stopped, scanned and questioned in Louisiana.

dps
10-04-2007, 03:20 PM
Showing more and more suspicion, the officer told us to wait and then made a phone call to another officer. I was told to speak to her and she informed me that it was illegal to obtain a green card from within the U.S., that we would have to do it from outside. I explained to her that we already were aware of this and that I appreciated her help. I also explained that although we wanted to visit the immigration bureau, we had no plans at this time to apply for the green card because we didn't have time before leaving the U.S. again in a month to a month and a half. It was around this time that we told the officers of our plans to buy round-the-world passes in order to travel and study for a year.

Officer Choi told me again that Haruna could not get a green card while visiting the United States, and I again assured him that we had no intention nor the time to do so.


Did the couple involved in the story check with the U.S. Embassy or Consulate before leaving for the U.S.. The trouble may have been avoided if they had.
David

Hogan
10-04-2007, 03:29 PM
John, you see... that's why I promised to myself not to go back to the States until you change your mentality. While I was there last time, I was driving from Dallas to New Orleans with an Irish colleague (me being a Spaniard) and we were stopped, scanned and questioned just because we were... well, a Spaniard and an Irishman. Not funny, you know. I am not a potential threat to nobody. Period.

Maybe you want to be treated like that when out of your country?

MY mentality? I am reporting how it works here. We 'can't' profile because of the controversy, so we have to treat everyone as a potential threat, but then everyone's grandmama's & other folks complain. Between a rock & a hard place, my man. By the way, yes I have been out of the country many, many times & lived in various countries. Guess what? I am stopped & questioned occasionally because I am American. But I understand why. Does it offend me? Not in the least. Do I boycott those countries? HA!

Hogan
10-04-2007, 03:34 PM
...The point is, we are talking about the States, not about Turkmenistan. ...Me, I prefer to be asked for a three-euro bribe in Indonesia rather than to be stopped, scanned and questioned in Louisiana..

Yes, we are talking about the States - a sovereign country that needs to control its borders, esp. now in this day & age. This is not an area where the rest of the world can feel it can come over & just travel willy nilly because we are 'the States'.

And you would really rather be in an area where you have to pay a bribe, & perhaps find yourself in whole kinds of trouble, rather than being questioned in the US??? Paying a bribe doesn't offend you but answering questions does? Glad to hear you would rather support corruption of another nation rather than a country trying to protect its borders & inconveniencing you.

Fred Little
10-04-2007, 04:36 PM
W H A T ? R o n's W h i t e?

Dang .. after all this time ......

:rolleyes:

Wait. Let's consider the evidence:

1) Ron speaks at least two, perhaps three languages.

2) Ron reads and writes English better than 90% of the American population.

3) Ron has a French significant other.

4) These facts don't answer the question of Ron's relative whiteness, but they present a compelling case that he's clearly more European than American, since he's multilingual, literate, and not xenophobic in his personal relationships.

5) Given 4, he's likely to be profiled anyway.

Sorry Ron, that's just the way it is.

BTW, Larry Wilborn called and asked me to tell you that he knows exactly what you're going through....

Best,

FL

Flintstone
10-04-2007, 05:23 PM
Do I boycott those countries? HA!
Sorry, I don't feel I'm boycotting your country.

Yes, we are talking about the States - a sovereign country that needs to control its borders, esp. now in this day & age. This is not an area where the rest of the world can feel it can come over & just travel willy nilly because we are 'the States'.
Did you ever give a though on WHY "esp. now in this day & age" you need to control your borders?

Oh! Did you check your problems between your borders first, before treating outsiders like the real threat? How many of the "problems" come from outside and how many from between?

And you would really rather be in an area where you have to pay a bribe, & perhaps find yourself in whole kinds of trouble, rather than being questioned in the US??? Paying a bribe doesn't offend you but answering questions does? Glad to hear you would rather support corruption of another nation rather than a country trying to protect its borders & inconveniencing you.
Well, I don't inconvenience your country. I don't expect it to inconvenience me. But your country (sorry, facts are facts) are inconveniencing many other countries. Bah, never mind... when it's about petrol then it's ok.

Do you really think it's even close to normal than this lady had to be expelled back to Japan, while her husband was not informed at all during the whole process? Honest.

Now back to Aikido. Politics are just not my cup of tea. No offense intended, anyway.

Ron Tisdale
10-05-2007, 09:49 AM
Ah, got it. See this is why we don't have profiling - everyone is treated as potential threat, otherwise, people profiled will get inconvenienced & offended & then ACLU comes in. So we continue on the road that EVERYONE is inconvenienced, even grandmama's & baby's.

But my question was to Ron, who most likely is white, too, no? Ron, was this what you meant?

Nope, definately not white (not that there's anything wrong with that :D). Others seem to get my meaning just fine.

Best,
Ron

Hogan
10-05-2007, 11:05 AM
N... Others seem to get my meaning just fine.

Best,
Ron

I don't know what race you are; had I known, I would've gotten your meaning.

Ron Tisdale
10-05-2007, 11:06 AM
;) No worries.

Best,
Ron

Hogan
10-05-2007, 11:11 AM
...

Did you ever give a though on WHY "esp. now in this day & age" you need to control your borders?...
Yes; possible terror attacks, illegals crossing over to earn money while getting free health care, education, etc., drug running, etc...

But your country (sorry, facts are facts) are inconveniencing many other countries.
Umm, so? What country does not inconvenience another? That gives you a right to come to our country & expect a certain type of behavior from our authorities?


Do you really think it's even close to normal than this lady had to be expelled back to Japan, while her husband was not informed at all during the whole process? Honest.
Don't know the whole story - if she/they failed to follow proper procedure then I have no sympathy. Not informing her husband, if this was indeed what happened, should not have happened.

Ron Tisdale
10-05-2007, 11:46 AM
That gives you a right to come to our country & expect a certain type of behavior from our authorities?

I think everyone has a right to expect professional behavior from our authorities. Period. The ones who aren't professional should be fired. The same as I would be fired for not being professional on my job.

Best,
Ron

James Davis
10-05-2007, 11:49 AM
I think everyone has a right to expect professional behavior from our authorities. Period. The ones who aren't professional should be fired.


There you have it. These guys didn't take the steps to figure out what was going on. They didn't inform the interpreter about the situation, so what the hell good was having an interpreter?:crazy:

Marc Abrams
10-05-2007, 11:50 AM
Alejandro:

I respectfully disagree with you position. I am much more comfortable in having a country that pays it's law enforcement officers well enough that routine bribery is not part of daily life.

The comment of why we have to protect our borders is simply ignorant. Your country has been the victim of terrorist attacks as well as here. I support the "inconvenience" of profiling. Much more efficient and effective than random search. I support the "inconvenience" of some sort of identity card (drivers license, national id card, etc.). I support the minor "inconvenience" of having anybody in a security/enforcement position questioning me, even subjecting me to a search. I gain far more freedoms by these inconveniences, than I would living with the greater fear of rampant crime, terrorist attacks, etc.. We do not owe an apology to anybody within or outside of our country in trying to make our country a safer country in which to enjoy our freedoms in. I do think that our leaders owe it's citizens an apology for being deceitful to us, not making our borders safer, intentionally devaluing the us dollar, wasting our young people's life is a sandbox that we do not belong in, etc.....

Marc Abrams

Ron Tisdale
10-05-2007, 12:04 PM
I support the "inconvenience" of profiling. Much more efficient and effective than random search.
Profiling leads to much more than "inconvenience". I almost lost my first job in computers due to profiling. Pulled off a train, searched without probable cause, couldn't afford to wait for them to get a search warrent, because then I'd miss my first day at work. And that was a minor case. Profiling has led to deaths. People shot 40 some times when they reach for a wallet to identify themselves. Profiling is part and parcel of discrimination.

I support the minor "inconvenience" of having anybody in a security/enforcement position questioning me, even subjecting me to a search.
Unfortunately for your pespective, our constitution forbids unreasonable search and seizure.

I gain far more freedoms by these inconveniences, than I would living with the greater fear of rampant crime, terrorist attacks, etc..
I disagree...I think we all lose when we cede our constitutional rights because of a momentary panic.

We do not owe an apology to anybody within or outside of our country in trying to make our country a safer country in which to enjoy our freedoms in.

No apology needed if we do so professionally, and according to our own laws and constitution. But when the behavior is outside of that, bigotted and biased as well, of course we owe an apology. That's the minimum of being civil. And isn't this supposed to be a civil society? It's not so hard really...watch...

I'm sorry.

See? Easy.

Best,
Ron

Hogan
10-05-2007, 12:09 PM
I think everyone has a right to expect professional behavior from our authorities. Period. The ones who aren't professional should be fired. The same as I would be fired for not being professional on my job.

Best,
Ron

Professional behavior includes asking questions to folks you suspect of something, regardless of whether the person being asked questions feels offended.

Since my original comment you are responding to was in response to Alejandro & his treatment by the professionals in the US who questioned him, he did not say when he was 'questioned' that the people who asked the questions were unprofessional, just that he was offended by being asked. Being offended does not mean the people were unprofessional.

Ron Tisdale
10-05-2007, 12:13 PM
Wait. Let's consider the evidence:

1) Ron speaks at least two, perhaps three languages.

English, used to speak Swahili, used to speak German, dojo Japanese... I can say hello in chinese. :) Having a really hard time speaking French. Ask my fiance. :D

2) Ron reads and writes English better than 90% of the American population.
Aw shucks...now you're just flirting with me...

3) Ron has a French significant other.
And she can cook, too!

4) These facts don't answer the question of Ron's relative whiteness, but they present a compelling case that he's clearly more European than American, since he's multilingual, literate, and not xenophobic in his personal relationships.
:D

5) Given 4, he's likely to be profiled anyway.

Sorry Ron, that's just the way it is.


Yeah, well, Life is Good. Just gotta get better at living it. ;)

Best,
Ron

Ron Tisdale
10-05-2007, 12:17 PM
Professional behavior includes asking questions to folks you suspect of something, regardless of whether the person being asked questions feels offended.

Sure, you can be professional and do that job, and sure, sometimes people will be offended no matter how professional you are. But this entire thread is about a time when that *didn't* happen.

Since my original comment you are responding to was in response to Alejandro & his treatment by the professionals in the US who questioned him, he did not say when he was 'questioned' that the people who asked the questions were unprofessional, just that he was offended by being asked. Being offended does not mean the people were unprofessional.

Of course not...but again, look at the situation that brought this thread about...were THOSE officers unprofessional, if the situation was as described? If they were unprofessional, do the people hurt by that situation deserve an apology? I think they do deserve an apology.
Best,
Ron

Hogan
10-05-2007, 12:47 PM
....but again, look at the situation that brought this thread about...were THOSE officers unprofessional, if the situation was as described? If they were unprofessional, do the people hurt by that situation deserve an apology? I think they do deserve an apology.
Best,
Ron

I'm afraid I can't answer that since I only know one side of the story.

Flintstone
10-05-2007, 01:14 PM
Since my original comment you are responding to was in response to Alejandro & his treatment by the professionals in the US who questioned him, he did not say when he was 'questioned' that the people who asked the questions were unprofessional, just that he was offended by being asked. Being offended does not mean the people were unprofessional.
No, I was not offended by being asked. I was offended because they stopped us for being a Spaniard and an Irishman. We were profesionally scanned, questioned and retained. But for no reasson at all.

Neil Mick
10-05-2007, 04:06 PM
If they were unprofessional, do the people hurt by that situation deserve an apology? I think they do deserve an apology.

I'm afraid I can't answer that since I only know one side of the story.

But, assuming that you DID know the whole story (as in, the facts given here); and assuming that they WERE behaving unprofessionally (as in, people getting needlessly hurt and waiting in uncertainty for six+ hours, when it could all have been resolved in a 3 minute phone call)...THEN, don't you think that they deserve an apology?

Hogan
10-05-2007, 05:19 PM
But, assuming that you DID know the whole story (as in, the facts given here); and assuming that they WERE behaving unprofessionally (as in, people getting needlessly hurt and waiting in uncertainty for six+ hours, when it could all have been resolved in a 3 minute phone call)...THEN, don't you think that they deserve an apology?

You DO like hypotheticals, huh?

Hogan
10-05-2007, 05:30 PM
No, I was not offended by being asked. I was offended because they stopped us for being a Spaniard and an Irishman. We were profesionally scanned, questioned and retained. But for no reasson at all.

Well, as long as they said 'thank you'.

But I doubt very very seriously, in fact I wholeheartedly say, that the law enforcement officials did not stop/question you because you were a 'spaniard' or that your friend was an 'irishman'. Do you think cops can see a person & say, "AH HA! A Spaniard, GIT 'EM!" Or "Save da' feller dat looks like an Irishman, for me!" Or, "Looks like I need one more Irishman to fill my profiling today... hey, he looks like one!"

You gave no details of why you were stopped, where you were, what time of day, what area were you in, i.e., bar, sports arena, hospital, etc., how you were bahaving, what other things were going on around you, what you were wearing as compared to those around you, etc. Not having both sides of the story, it is hard to decide with one biased viewpoint.

Neil Mick
10-06-2007, 11:45 AM
You DO like hypotheticals, huh?

What I like, is some sort of definitive answer, at least so I understand your position. Can you please just answer with a yes or no question?

Well, as long as they said 'thank you'.

But I doubt very very seriously, in fact I wholeheartedly say, that the law enforcement officials did not stop/question you because you were a 'spaniard' or that your friend was an 'irishman'. Do you think cops can see a person & say, "AH HA! A Spaniard, GIT 'EM!" Or "Save da' feller dat looks like an Irishman, for me!" Or, "Looks like I need one more Irishman to fill my profiling today... hey, he looks like one!"

NOW look who's into hypotheticals! :crazy: And yeah: I can see this as a possibility.

Lorien Lowe
10-06-2007, 12:21 PM
Did the couple involved in the story check with the U.S. Embassy or Consulate before leaving for the U.S.. The trouble may have been avoided if they had.
David

The checked with the U.S. state department website and made sure that all of their paperwork was in order. They have both been in and out of the U.S. before (post 9/11) and had no problems before this one.
Hundreds or thousands of Japanese and American citizens fly in and out of the country every day without having to pre-arrange things with their respective embassies; Japan is a visa-waived country. Theoretically, our friend.

They shipped Haruna back because they suspected her of intending to violate paperwork protocols, not because they were profiling her as a terrorist or thought she was dangerous. Not because she had done anything wrong, or even that they had any evidence that she intended to do anything wrong; all they had was the suspicion that she would overstay her 90 days in the U.S. Nothing else.

Anybody know the cost of a flight across the Pacific?

Flintstone
10-06-2007, 05:29 PM
You gave no details of why you were stopped, where you were, what time of day, what area were you in, i.e., bar, sports arena, hospital, etc., how you were bahaving, what other things were going on around you, what you were wearing as compared to those around you, etc. Not having both sides of the story, it is hard to decide with one biased viewpoint.
I think I already gave those details, but just in case: we were driving from Dallas to New Orleans. They stopped our car. That's all. No speed up. No "messing with Texas". No nothing. Six cops (three cars) hands in holsters.

Marc Abrams
10-07-2007, 09:25 AM
Ron:

You Said: "Profiling leads to much more than "inconvenience". I almost lost my first job in computers due to profiling. Pulled off a train, searched without probable cause, couldn't afford to wait for them to get a search warrent, because then I'd miss my first day at work. And that was a minor case. Profiling has led to deaths. People shot 40 some times when they reach for a wallet to identify themselves. Profiling is part and parcel of discrimination."

Profiling is part of normal human behavior. It can be a very effective and efficient way of engaging in inductive reasoning. I think that you would want law enforcement, intelligence, and military people to engage in this type of cognitive processing, rather than inefficient, indiscriminate thinking. The FBI has a great behavioral profiling department, which does a remarkable job in effective and efficient profiling. If in the course of our daily life, how many mistakes do we make? If the officers, in their best efforts to catch a wanted person sought to determine if you were or were not that person, then that is a VERY SMALL price to pay to live in safe society. In my view, our society is not safe enough. To say that profiling has led to deaths is like saying that rainfall has led to deaths. The incident that you were referring to had almost nothing to do with profiling and more to do with the situation and the people involved in the situation.

When we analyze information, we "discriminate" between meaningful and non-meaningful information. What else is new! I love how people who are so interested in being politically correct that they simply lose contact with common sense. Example- If it was known that most drugs smuggled up the eastern corridor of the US on I-95 in cars were done in cars with two Hispanic males (make that Hasidic males, or any other descriptive for that matter) with overly tinted windows, then you would want the police to profile and selectively pull-over cars that fit that profile. Unfortunately, when a similar tactic was employed by the New Jersey State Police, it was considered to be racially discriminatory! That went under the "NO SH*T SHIRLOCK" category. The police did not look to create a racially discriminatory profile, they simply analyzed REALITY and worked within what the statistics on REALITY told them.

We have become accustomed to thinking of freedom as devoid of our own personal responsibility; instead we focus in on an escapist version of "freedom". Freedom from something is escapist. Freedom to do something implies a personal responsibility that goes along with that. If a police man pulls my car over and asks to look inside my trunk, based upon some reasonable suspicion. FINE- I HAVE NOTHING TO HIDE! Let that person do the job to make my community safer to live in.

I DO NOT ADVOCATE GIVING UP ANY OF OUR CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS! Our need to live in a safe society does dictate that we allow the government to protect us. That does not mean that they can do what Bush has allowed to happen. I do not support the use of unreasonable search and seizure. If a reason can be brought out into the open to be debated and decided upon, that we should allow the government reason to search based upon real threat, real analysis, real profiling, then fine. I would much rather live in a safe world, than one in which I believe my rights have been preserved while our government runs around like a chicken with it's head cut off trying to "protect us." I frankly feel that our government has scr*wed up it's efforts to really make our country safer so that we can continue to play in a sandbox which we should not be in.

When we label behavior as bigoted or biased, we first have to look closer at that behavior. Was the intent based on some bigotry? If emotionally neutral analysis of information yields certain profiles, that "bias" may be entirely justified. I DO NOT SUPPORT BIGOTRY! I do support using information in a manner that leads to more effective and efficient decisions and behaviors. For example, I live in a suburban community having moved out of a growing city over thirteen years ago. This was based upon the growing threat of crime. I did not care which "group" was responsible for the crime. my decision to live in an area which was safer for my family would have been the same regardless if the group associated with the violence were pygmy Hasidic Jews, WASP rapppers, Hispanic gang-bangers, African-American Crips, etc... My responsibility to myself and my family was to analyze the information and make a decision that was in my family's best interests.

I will continue to speak out against bigotry. I will continue to speak out when our government violates our rights, lies to us, etc. I will continue to speak out so that our government works in a manner that both protects us and protects our rights. Here is an interesting paradox. In Singapore, you can walk in a park at 4am. without any concern about violence. We cannot do that in Central Park in NYC. Which citizen is safer, which citizen has it's rights protected? There are no easy answers.

Marc Abrams

peacewarrior
10-07-2007, 06:10 PM
As an American who has been living in Asia for several years I think it should be noted that incidents regarding USA immigrations officials, as described in the original post are not uncommon. Even before 911, I have heard similar stories from friends traveling to the USA. Unfortunately, they have left a bad taste in many peoples mouths about going to the States.

I personally, am often embarrassed by the way I see international travelers treated while passing through US customs and immigration. The level of confrontation and negativity is so high compared to other places I have been.

Every country in this day and age need to be on the lookout for potential terrorist threats. This is an unfortunate fact, however from my personal experience I know that it is possible to go through security checks and immigration and still be treated with the respect that every human being deserves. I have been through many country's security and immigration without being belittled and made to feel I am a criminal.

An important point that we should be looking at is how Aiki was not used in this situation.

How different this situation could have been if the immigration officials would have treated this couple with respect instead of authority and conflict.

Would it had been so difficult to keep her husband informed on what was going on. Wouldn't we all have appreciated that little bit of respect. Why couldn't the authorities take the time and effort to look for the truth in their story. Is it fair to assume that because they were a young newlywed couple, they wanted to immigrate to the USA illegally. All of the legal paperwork was in order. If someone does not speak the language well, shouldn't there be more of an effort made to find proper translation or at least allow the woman in this case to properly explain herself in her native language. Speaking a foreign language is difficult, how easy it is to be misunderstood. The immigration officers should be aware of this even if other government officials are not.

Starting off with confrontation by assuming at the onset that they were going to break the law. Then continuing with a closed mind by not trying to find the truth. Followed by using force through authority by not allowing contact or explanation of what was going on. Only resulted in a whole bunch of hurt and negativity.

Seems to me there is a good Aikido lesson to be learned here.

Ron Tisdale
10-08-2007, 08:55 AM
If the officers, in their best efforts to catch a wanted person sought to determine if you were or were not that person, then that is a VERY SMALL price to pay to live in safe society.

Unfortunately, the officers SHOULD have been looking for a young hispanic male with long straight hair. Instead, the people searched when they couldn't find said hispanic male were all african american, including an elderly couple who were not in good health. 50 swat officers mobilized to stop and search a train...but when they came up empty handed, they went to the dark side of profiling...grab everyone black on the train and harrass them. Sucks doesn't it? Problem is, if you aren't black or hispanic you wouldn't know about it.

The incident that you were referring to had almost nothing to do with profiling and more to do with the situation and the people involved in the situation.

Sorry, but almost doesn't cut it for me, since I am likely to be at the end of one of those guns. Almost could get me killed. For nothing. Not good enough.

When we analyze information, we "discriminate" between meaningful and non-meaningful information. What else is new! I love how people who are so interested in being politically correct that they simply lose contact with common sense.

What is new is when the State then applies what would be normal common sense across too wide a sample, and takes actions that result in the deaths and false imprisonment of WAY too many people who were innocent.

Frankly, I have NO interest WHATSOEVER in being politcally correct. I think this is a strawman arguement thrown in to make people feel badly about the fact that they speak out against injustice. And I find it insulting.

We have become accustomed to thinking of freedom as devoid of our own personal responsibility; instead we focus in on an escapist version of "freedom".

I have no interest in freedom without personal responsibility. But personal responsibility applies to EVERYONE. Elected officials, public employees included. This, of course, has NOTHING to do with the topic at hand...it is another strawman.

There are no easy answers.

Here we absolutely agree.
Best,
Ron

Marc Abrams
10-08-2007, 11:27 AM
Ron:

You and I agree more than we disagree. If the "state officials" do the profiling correctly and STICK TO IT, then incidents like that would be at a minimum (we must always account for Murphy, human error, people who should not be allowed to wear uniforms, etc...).

To state that people would not know what profiling was like unless they were black or hispanic is simply insulting and reverse discrimination. We can discuss this at great length if you wish, but I think that it is suffice to say that being singled out is not comfortable to begin with. Less so when it is done out of error, ignorance, hatred, etc...

As to the incident with the "40 shots" that you chose not to look at from other perspectives, please shoot me (so to speak :D ) a private message and I would be more than happy to explain many of the facts and the underlying problems surrounding the facts).

We absolutely agree that the State has overdone it (in my view, the executive branch has blatantly violated our laws). Beyond that, I agree with the other posters about the abuses that can occur at customs. Having done my doctorate in San Diego (Many Years Ago) I have a legion of stories regarding back and forth to Mexico.

I disagree with you regarding your assertion regarding your strawman assertion. Legitimate profiling has had to be stopped because it was not politically correct to single out a particular age group and ethnicity (along with some other variables). The analysis of the information was not based upon preconceived biases, the results spoke for themselves. The lack of being able to continue that effective course of investigation has significantly hampered cutting down on drugs being driven up the eastern corridor of the US.

Personal responsibility with freedom is essential. Many people within certain communities REFUSE to accept personal responsibility for what they can do to make their communities safer and better to live in. Instead, the police are insulted, attacked, ignored, and not helped to do their job. Those very same people are the ones to complain when the police do their job in a professional manner. People cannot have it both ways.

I am for living in a safe community that respects the rights of all of it's law-abiding citizens. I take my responsibility to help make my community safer seriously. I help in many ways and donate time and money in other ways. It is a small thanks for living in this country.

Marc Abrams

Anne Fournier
10-08-2007, 12:34 PM
I am quite puzzled by the way this thread has evolved. It seems to me that the first case at hand had much to do with a specific aspect of immigration law that the Americano-japanese couple seemed to ignore. Regardless of the fact that this law is 'fair' or not, it is rather simple : either you don't want to immigrate, and hence should have all the proofs that you have no willing to do so (this applies to all foreigners and includes most importantely round-trip tickets and a clear declaration 'I don't want to immigrate' to the officer), or you want to immigrate, and as a 'mixed' couple married abroad, the foreign spouse should have asked for the green card OUTSIDE of the US. This law is very strict, and has to do with the fact that your marriage abroad has to get verified. I don't understand why this couple thought they could just get by without following the requirements.
Being a French citizen married to an American, I found myself several times in the situation of the couple described in the letter and I must confess I am baffled by the fact that they didn't take the time before coming to the US to check about the requirements for a foreign spouse to settle in the US.

Ron Tisdale
10-08-2007, 01:14 PM
Hi Anne...I think it is because (as they stated) they weren't at the stage where they were ready to do that. It seemed to me they were clear they weren't trying to get her to emmigrate (right one? I always mix those up) at that point.

Best,
Ron

Ron Tisdale
10-08-2007, 01:32 PM
Hi Marc,

Sorry, but not interested in debating the Amadu Dialo case again. Made up my mind on that already, and considered everything I want to about the gang that couldn't shoot straight.

Not interested in debating anything really...you are of course welcome to your opinion. I just think that to blame the people in the neighborhoods (who surely do own their own portion of responsibility for the situation) when they are often the least able to do anything is weird.

On one hand: educated politicians, social workers, the state, the fed. government, people with enough money to fly loads of cocaine into the country, etc.

On the other hand: people who have generations of poverty and social ills behind them.

Gee....who do YOU think is going to be better prepared to shoulder some of this work???

Anyhoo...these discussions never really get anywhere.

Best,
Ron

Fred Little
10-08-2007, 02:21 PM
Ron:

As to the incident with the "40 shots" that you chose not to look at from other perspectives, please shoot me (so to speak :D ) a private message and I would be more than happy to explain many of the facts and the underlying problems surrounding the facts).



The single most important fact about the Diallo case is that the officers who shot Diallo were under the command of Chief Bruce Smolka, an infamously brutal NYPD officer who resigned in January of this year under a legal cloud and now works for Revlon. Let's hope that the gig includes a free makeover:

http://iwitnessvideo.info/images/smolka-189-01.jpg

Best,

FL

Anne Fournier
10-08-2007, 02:50 PM
Hi Ron -

i understand that - I am just quite astonished by the fact that although any foreigner at the immigration border is asked to show a certain number of documents, this couple had never considered that yes, of course, it also applies to the japanese woman, married or not to an American citizen. It is also a quite common piece of knowledge amongst foreigners who cross the American border (and a piece of information available on any immigration-related website) that any ambiguous answer to the question "do you intend to immigrate" makes you suspicious to the point where the immigration officer is legally entitled to prevent you from entering the territory. "Not being sure about your future plans" is NOT an appropriate answer for the immigration officer. If you are married, you are twice as supicious (as any official American website about immigration states forcefully). Hence the deportation, which quite frankly was a mere implementation of the law, and not some overzealous manifestation of an officer. Yes,they could have treated them better and be more considerate, but the letter of their official instructions didn't force them to.
My point here is not to be on the side of "authority" or not to show empathy for this couple - I just find this case way less scandalous than so many others that happen everyday at the border. Man, if the thousands of foreigners daily at the border were behaving like them ("oh, yes, I don't have a return ticket although I plan not to stay in the States"; or "I do not know at this stage of my life whether I want to stay here or not", or "I have an appointment at the bureau of immigration but that's just for fun, as i don't plan to immigrate"), there would be massive deportations of an unprecedented scale. Thank God, most foreigners are clever than that.
I guess I feel sorry for the Japanese wife who obviously relied on her husband, although he, being American, was not quite clear about the refined art of speaking to an American immigration officer. However, I have the feeling we should keep our forces to discuss real cases of unfairness and about real problems that immigrants in difficult situation have to face. I think if you read this story to any immigrant, they will just tell you frankly that this couple behaved in such a naive way than even a savy six-year old would know better.

OK- maybe my tone is more polemical than I actually mean it. Yes, it does suck for them, and yes any such situation is a real trauma for the person who lives it. Rereading the story, I also clearly realize that she was unfairly treated because of her lack of understanding of English which prevented her to clearly present her case.

Hope I didn't hurt any feeling on this issue,
Anne.

Ron Tisdale
10-08-2007, 04:17 PM
I understand what you are saying, my fiance has been around the block on this one. I hope the couple works it out over time.

Best,
Ron

Hogan
10-09-2007, 08:13 AM
I think I already gave those details, but just in case: we were driving from Dallas to New Orleans. They stopped our car. That's all. No speed up. No "messing with Texas". No nothing. Six cops (three cars) hands in holsters.

Sorry, but that is not the whole story. Night time? Day time? Driving in an area known for drug dealing? (I once was stopped in a city where I lived many yrs ago because I was driving in an area where I shouldn't have been - i.e., known for people driving into to buy drugs - I had not known this, but simply got lost & was trying to get back to highway after taking the wrong off ramp). Highway driving? Improper lane change? So, you are saying that while driving at the speed limit, what 35 or 65?, some cop saw that you were a 'spaniard' & had an 'irishman' in your car & stopped you? Don't think so.

Hogan
10-09-2007, 08:25 AM
...
I personally, am often embarrassed by the way I see international travelers treated while passing through US customs and immigration. The level of confrontation and negativity is so high compared to other places I have been.....

Works both ways; once, a colleague was brought into the 'back room' & interrogated - among the questions asked, why wasn't she married? Another was told to go through a strip search or be put put on a return flight right then. She took the flight. And where did this take place? Canada! Canada - the country where terrorists have no problem getting into & through to the US, but apparently they are very wary of American tourists.

Flintstone
10-09-2007, 02:50 PM
Sorry, but that is not the whole story. Night time? Day time? Driving in an area known for drug dealing? (I once was stopped in a city where I lived many yrs ago because I was driving in an area where I shouldn't have been - i.e., known for people driving into to buy drugs - I had not known this, but simply got lost & was trying to get back to highway after taking the wrong off ramp). Highway driving? Improper lane change? So, you are saying that while driving at the speed limit, what 35 or 65?, some cop saw that you were a 'spaniard' & had an 'irishman' in your car & stopped you? Don't think so.
Know what? I don't have any idea if the area was known for drug dealing. I'm from Spain, live in Spain, travel the world because of my job, don't know the drug-dealing-factor of every and all the places where I put my feet (of wheels) on. I repeat that it was a highway, so an improbable choice for drug dealing. And yes, it was evening. No, no improper lane change. No, no driving at the speed limit, but under. It that was the case I would have stated it. As I say, no nothing, JUST driving.

Canada! Canada - the country where terrorists have no problem getting into & through to the US, but apparently they are very wary of American tourists.
Oh my! Your prose is becoming stubborn and insolent. He could have said "The States! The States - the country that invades countries to control the oil and/or gas, and makes wars to revitalize its economy, apparently very wary of all not like them" but he didn't.

Please...

Neil Mick
10-09-2007, 04:17 PM
Oh my! Your prose is becoming stubborn and insolent.

I'm not quite sure what you expect from John, Alejandro: when he makes statements like

I wholeheartedly say that the law enforcement officials did not stop/question you because you were a 'spaniard' or that your friend was an 'irishman'.

Judging from this statement, according to John, there IS no more discussion...you were wrong, and the police who stopped you, were right. I have to say,,,I wish that I could be so confident, about events which I didn't witness, and wasn't present.

But this might be a good time for both of you to respectfully agree to disagree. Just a thought.

I've personally heard and experienced enough profiling to know that (John's assurances to the contrary) yes, Virginia: profiling DOES occur, based purely upon race and nothing else. Some people here seem to think it a logical, necessary alternative to stopping and inconveniencing everyone. Funny, how almost all of the proponents of this notion are white men, who will suffer the profiling the least.

The general discussion theme of this thread seems to be a concern for the wellbeing for emigrants travelling into the US, versus a contention that a little loss of personal wellbeing and liberty is a necessary sacrifice against potential terrorists.

Taking a cue from Michael Ricca's excellent post, I like to think that both policies are possible.

Every country in this day and age need to be on the lookout for potential terrorist threats. This is an unfortunate fact, however from my personal experience I know that it is possible to go through security checks and immigration and still be treated with the respect that every human being deserves. I have been through many country's security and immigration without being belittled and made to feel I am a criminal.

An important point that we should be looking at is how Aiki was not used in this situation.

How different this situation could have been if the immigration officials would have treated this couple with respect instead of authority and conflict.

Would it had been so difficult to keep her husband informed on what was going on. Wouldn't we all have appreciated that little bit of respect. Why couldn't the authorities take the time and effort to look for the truth in their story. Is it fair to assume that because they were a young newlywed couple, they wanted to immigrate to the USA illegally. All of the legal paperwork was in order. If someone does not speak the language well, shouldn't there be more of an effort made to find proper translation or at least allow the woman in this case to properly explain herself in her native language. Speaking a foreign language is difficult, how easy it is to be misunderstood. The immigration officers should be aware of this even if other government officials are not.

Starting off with confrontation by assuming at the onset that they were going to break the law. Then continuing with a closed mind by not trying to find the truth. Followed by using force through authority by not allowing contact or explanation of what was going on. Only resulted in a whole bunch of hurt and negativity.

Seems to me there is a good Aikido lesson to be learned here.

Aikido is not just a pretty notion that we like to practice a few times a week: it is a living, guiding principle. Even non-aikidoists can demonstrate a principle of aikido (cf, Terry Dobson's story of the drunk on the train). It seems to me that it's not so hard to instill a little customer service in Customs...they certainly could use a few classes in interpersonal relations, just from what I've experienced, in travelling just within the country.

James Davis
10-09-2007, 04:49 PM
But this might be a good time for both of you to respectfully agree to disagree. Just a thought.
I can agree with that; I don't think anybody's going to change their minds.


I've personally heard and experienced enough profiling to know that (John's assurances to the contrary) yes, Virginia: profiling DOES occur, based purely upon race and nothing else. Some people here seem to think it a logical, necessary alternative to stopping and inconveniencing everyone. Funny, how almost all of the proponents of this notion are white men, who will suffer the profiling the least.
I don't have to worry too much about profiling, as I've only flown a couple of times, but I was certainly familiar with the concept when I was a teenager. I know what it's like for someone to look at me and pass immediate judgement about what kind of person I am, and I don't wish that on anyone.



It seems to me that it's not so hard to instill a little customer service in Customs...they certainly could use a few classes in interpersonal relations, just from what I've experienced, in travelling just within the country.


There is the remote possibility that they were doing exactly what their boss told them to do. I myself work in a facility that treats people with cancer, and work with a boss that uses phrases like, "Don't waste your time explaining anything to the patients.":crazy: The get 'em in, get 'em done, and get 'em out way of doing business is getting more commonplace.:disgust:

Neil Mick
10-09-2007, 05:31 PM
There is the remote possibility that they were doing exactly what their boss told them to do.

Good point. :cool:

And, do you know something, just from a personal perspective? I live in California: was raised in Maryland. My last living parent (living in MD, still) won't come to visit me, ever. Why? All the horror-stories about Customs' treatment of passengers puts him right off flying.

Lorien Lowe
10-10-2007, 12:48 AM
If a police man pulls my car over and asks to look inside my trunk, based upon some reasonable suspicion. FINE- I HAVE NOTHING TO HIDE! Let that person do the job to make my community safer to live in.

The young woman I referred to in the first post also had nothing to hide. The immigration officers who deported her were not trying to make anyone safer; they were avoiding a potential paperwork violation.

Anne-
the couple in question did (as I believe I already stated) have their paperwork in perfect order, ready to present. They checked the state department website before they came across to make sure that what they had was fine. They have both flown across the big pond and back again before this, without any trouble. They were both perfectly honest in their answers to the immigrations people. They have (at least until this point) been planning to settle in the U.S. someday, but that's hardly an excuse to stick someone on an 11 hour flight to their home country, with no attempt to check their story, when getting back again costs hundreds of dollars.

Ok- several people have written that this is business as usual for immigrations, both in the U.S. and in other countries. That does NOT make it even remotely ok.

Hogan
10-10-2007, 08:18 AM
Know what? I don't have any idea if the area was known for drug dealing. I'm from Spain, live in Spain, travel the world because of my job, don't know the drug-dealing-factor of every and all the places where I put my feet (of wheels) on. I repeat that it was a highway, so an improbable choice for drug dealing. And yes, it was evening. No, no improper lane change. No, no driving at the speed limit, but under. It that was the case I would have stated it. As I say, no nothing, JUST driving.
So, driving on the highway at night at what, 50-55, and you STILL claim you were stopped because the cops saw, again at night, that you were spaniard & an irishman? Sorry, but I call bull.


Oh my! Your prose is becoming stubborn and insolent. He could have said "The States! The States - the country that invades countries to control the oil and/or gas, and makes wars to revitalize its economy, apparently very wary of all not like them" but he didn't...

Hahah... you're funny. If you were asked to submit to a strip search during your stop on the highway, you'd be screaming bloody murder. "They stripped me because I'm a spaniard & I was driving, nothing else.... Really! I'm offended!"

ahahah...

Marc Abrams
10-10-2007, 09:48 AM
I would appreciate it if some law enforcement officers on this site chime in regarding the use of profiling. Those who make the assumption that it is simply bigotry and related to ethnicity/non-white are simply wrong about their assumptions.

Based upon what Lorien described, it does sound like an over-zealous person over-did it at customs. I have personally seen customs people act inappropriately. They can! You are not officially on US territory until you have cleared customs. They are a power onto their own.

We are lucky to have certain rights in the US which we can exercise. I have always treated law enforcement officers with respect. When they have been in the wrong, I have stuck to my guns (so to speak) and let the system work for me, protecting certain rights that I have.

I think that many people miss a larger issue. If being pulled over to clear a suspicion makes it safer for you to live in an area, WHAT IS THE BIG DEAL! It has happened to me and I still seem to be living just fine. I am a white male. I am also Jewish. I have experienced anti-semitism, "reverse discrimination", and other kinds of "unfair" life events. I have the maturity to weight the issues. I can work against injustice, but I can also entertain certain inconveniences as long as the result is my community being a safer community to live in.

A growing pet peeve that I am developing is a tendency to be annoyed at egotistical whining. People are so quick to demand that others go out of their way to understand how he/she is thinking, feeling, acting, etc., yet these very same people do not think that they have any obligation to reciprocate their own demands. How many people have ever considered what it is like to work as a law enforcement officer. They are human like we are. They want to come home at the end of their work day and be alive to spend time with their families. They are typically underpaid for what they do, routinely disrespected, insulted and attacked for trying to make our communities safer. I am not justifying police brutality or other unethical, illegal, or otherwise inappropriate actions on their part. I am just asking people to consider what the experience of a law enforcement officer is like. Maybe, just maybe some of you may befriend an officer, volunteer to assist (community watch, auxiliary police, etc), do anything to gain some awareness of what it takes to make our communities safer. Less than one year ago, two auxiliary police persons (unarmed volunteer) in New York City were shot to death when trying to assist to stop a crime. THESE PEOPLE PUT THEIR LIVES ON THE LINE ON A DAILY BASIS TO MAKE OUR SOCIETY SAFER FOR US TO LIVE IN! Step back and gain some empathy for their experiences before you apply standards to them that you would not want to apply to you in their circumstances.

Marc Abrams

Ron Tisdale
10-10-2007, 10:02 AM
Hi Marc.

Personally, I have friends and training partners that are LEO. I have nothing against them as a group, and I do not view standing up for my constitutional rights as whining or being immature.

I too am willing to accept a *certain* amount of inconvenience for safety. Getting shot, getting harrassed because of my race, getting beaten...these things do not fall into that category.

I myself simply COULD NOT DO the job that LEOs do every day. Just not up to the task. But I couldn't be an Air Traffic Controller either.

I still expect my plane to take off and land safely. I still expect LEOs to be professional, and to police their own the same way they police us. I do not believe there is anything wrong in asking for, and even demanding that.

And I find it currious that people would denigrate me for doing so...(see the whining and immature references in your post above.) Again...if you have not lived on this side of the fence...please do not be so quick to judge our response to injustice.

Best,
Ron

Marc Abrams
10-10-2007, 10:39 AM
Ron:

I have NEVER personally denigrated you, nor do I have any intention to do so in the future! I was making a generalized reference.

As to what side of living on a fence are you referring to? Let me see:
1) not gotten jobs because I was a white male
2) People have tried to physically assault me because I was Jewish.
3) Insulted too many times to count because I was Jewish.
4) Lost a close personal friend in a terrorist attack (Israel)
5) Most of one side of my family exterminated in Holocaust.
6) Other side of family- expelled, some killed in Russia's 1/3 plan.

The list goes on and on.

I have no problem demanding professionalism in the work place. We can assist those professionals in setting higher standards for conduct. Training officers in Aikido is an excellent way of contributing. I am not an idle watcher, but someone who puts time and effort into making our world a better and safer place to live in based upon overcoming ignorance, prejudice, etc...The sad reality is that many people contribute nothing but complaints instead of personal responsibility and contributions towards making their world a safer place to live in. Many of those same people then site some special circumstances, history, appearance, etc... as to why they should be treated differently and not held accountable to the standards that they want others to be held by.

Once again, I think that you and I are actually on the same page:)

Marc Abrams

Ron Tisdale
10-10-2007, 10:42 AM
Kool.

Best,
Ron

Neil Mick
10-10-2007, 01:52 PM
So, driving on the highway at night at what, 50-55, and you STILL claim you were stopped because the cops saw, again at night, that you were spaniard & an irishman? Sorry, but I call bull.

Yes, of course, Alejandro: you MUST be lying. After all, everyone KNOWS that American officials NEVER improperly detain, harass, or torture internationals.... :freaky:

...not without a good reason, of course (and, everyone ALSO knows that the ends justify the means). :freaky:

Uh huh. :hypno:

Hogan
10-10-2007, 01:58 PM
Yes, of course, Alejandro: you MUST be lying. After all, everyone KNOWS that American officials NEVER improperly detain, harass, or torture internationals.... :freaky:

...not without a good reason, of course (and, everyone ALSO knows that the ends justify the means). :freaky:

Uh huh. :hypno:

Here, Neil, do this:
Park on the side of the highway, much like a cop would do. Wait for a speeding car (speeding in relation to you) to go by. Make sure it is night time, windows up, light reflecting upon the window surface. Now, tell me... what color/race/nationality were the occupants of the vehicle that just passed you, while parked, going 55-65? Now... this is important, can you tell if one or more of the occupants were Irish?

Didn't think so...

Ron Tisdale
10-10-2007, 02:15 PM
jeez louise...

:( Has it really come to this??

Marc, maybe you were right and I was wrong.

B,
R

Neil Mick
10-10-2007, 02:21 PM
Here, Neil, do this:
Park on the side of the highway, much like a cop would do. Wait for a speeding car (speeding in relation to you) to go by. Make sure it is night time, windows up, light reflecting upon the window surface. Now, tell me... what color/race/nationality were the occupants of the vehicle that just passed you, while parked, going 55-65? Now... this is important, can you tell if one or more of the occupants were Irish?

Didn't think so...

You are making several assumpations, and ignoring at least one of Alejandro's remarks:

1. He said it was "evening," not "night."

Night could be anywhere from 9PM, to 3 in the morning.

EVENING, could be just at dusk.

2. He said that he was driving UNDER the speed limit. You decided that that had to be 55-65 (not that I think it excusable for a LEO to stop a car, just for travelling safely under the limit, but since you do: I'm going to let this one go).

3. Most importantly, tho: you neglected to consider that he ALSO said

They stopped our car. That's all. No speed up. No "messing with Texas". No nothing. Six cops (three cars) hands in holsters.

Six cops, hands on holsters, for two guys driving under the speed limit...? I'd think, being charitable, that the cops thought Alejandro matched the ID of a perp: but you think the story is bull.

That's your right, of course: but shall I suggest that your evidence is...thin? Putting it charitably, of course... :freaky:

Personally, tho: I HAVE heard more than a few stories of people (from sources I trust) getting pulled over and given the 2nd degree, SOLELY based upon their nationality (and yes, in one such case: the persons were Hispanic).

Marc Abrams
10-10-2007, 02:57 PM
Neil:

We do not know the facts in this matter, only one side.

Other facts you might want to consider:

1) Low light conditions are the worst for eye-sight, highest likelihood for bad things happening, and most difficult environment to accurately assess.

2) Standard Operating Procedures: It has been proven FATAL for a single officer to approach a car. It is best done with at least two people, preferably more than one vehicle. Hands are not only suppose to be on the firearm, but the safety strap is suppose to be taken off before putting the hand on the firearm.

3) Note that Alejandro was not abused in any manner, shape or form.

4) LEO's have every right to do what is necessary to come home ALIVE from a day at work. That means safe, rather than deceased.

I am not defending government officials who abuse their position and power. I am also not rushing to judgment based upon one person's account as to the events in question.

Marc Abrams

Neil Mick
10-10-2007, 03:17 PM
Neil:

We do not know the facts in this matter, only one side.

That's right, Marc: this is my entire point.

I am not defending government officials who abuse their position and power. I am also not rushing to judgment based upon one person's account as to the events in question.

Marc Abrams

Neither am I. Alejandro gave an account: and John has categorically denied that it could have happened. Now, I'm not going to comment on this issue for much longer, as I think all that is necessary has been said.

But, I certainly CAN see how Alejandro and friend could have been profiled based SOLELY upon race. I can ALSO see how they could have been pulled over, the cops thinking that

Alejandro matched the ID of a perp

To me, both are possible. But, I'm not going to deny the possibility of unfair profiling (as if, it never happens in this country), either.

Neil Mick
10-10-2007, 05:22 PM
Here's an article that frames the argument well:

Unfair at Any Speed (http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/unfair_at_any_speed/)

African-Americans have been putting up with the “driving while black” thing for so long that we’ve become somewhat cynical. For example, nearly three-quarters of whites and Hispanics who were pulled over for allegedly running a red light or a stop sign were willing to concede that they had been caught dead to rights, while nearly half of African-Americans in that situation believed they had committed no infraction. About 90 percent of white drivers detained for some sort of vehicle defect, such as a busted taillight, thought the stop was legitimate, as opposed to 67 percent of black drivers.

Think that’s just paranoia? Then try to reconcile the counterintuitive fact that while blacks are much more likely than whites to be arrested in a traffic stop, they are also more likely to be released with no enforcement action, not even a warning. This looks to me like powerful evidence that racial profiling is alive and well. It suggests there was no good reason to stop those people.

“About one in 10 searches during a traffic stop uncovered evidence of a possible crime,” the report says. What could be wrong with that? Isn’t that what police should be doing—enforcing the nation’s laws, capturing criminals, making law-abiding Americans that much safer?

Of course, that’s what we pay our police officers to do, but not selectively. Whites, too, drive around with drugs, illegal weapons, open containers of alcohol or other contraband in their cars. The numbers in the report suggest that if white drivers stopped by police were searched at the same rate as blacks or Hispanics, police would uncover evidence of tens of thousands of additional crimes each year, doubtless putting thousands of dangerous people behind bars.

But, of course, we don’t want a society in which everybody is being patted down by police officers all the time. We don’t want a society in which people have to stand by the side of the road, fuming, while police arbitrarily rummage through the stuff in their cars—shopping bags, children’s toys, McDonald’s wrappers—on the off chance of finding something illegal.

If you’re black or brown, though, may I see your license and registration, please?

Flintstone
10-11-2007, 01:16 AM
So, driving on the highway at night at what, 50-55, and you STILL claim you were stopped because the cops saw, again at night, that you were spaniard & an irishman? Sorry, but I call bull.

Hahah... you're funny. If you were asked to submit to a strip search during your stop on the highway, you'd be screaming bloody murder. "They stripped me because I'm a spaniard & I was driving, nothing else.... Really! I'm offended!"

ahahah...
Yes, whatever...

Guilty Spark
10-14-2007, 11:30 AM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wniGFm_jgRI

David Orange
10-18-2007, 04:49 PM
Of course not...but again, look at the situation that brought this thread about...were THOSE officers unprofessional, if the situation was as described? If they were unprofessional, do the people hurt by that situation deserve an apology? I think they do deserve an apology.

This is a sticky situation all the way around and I've been in related situations, myself.

Just a couple of weeks ago, I was taking a flight over the Pacific and was pulled out of line because my driver's license was expired.

I had gone to the DMV to get a new license in May because I had moved and my license still showed my old address. But after standing in a long, long line for a long, long time, I was told I should wait until August because the license would expire in August, even if I got a new one that day. But come August, I forgot to renew the license. Come October, on my way to my wife's sister's wedding, the vigilant guard noted that my license was expired. So they separated me not only from my wife and child, but also from my bags and had me wait in a secure area while they searched my bags. I was patted down and searched with the wand and advised that if I attempted to go back to my luggage, the luggage would have to be searched again. Fortunately, I learned how to deal with LEOs from my upbringing under a County officer. So I stayed relaxed and waited patiently. It helped that we were about three hours early for our flight. Finally, they let me go and there were no more problems.

Four years ago, I had a worse problem when I waited a bit long to apply for a new passport. We were going to Japan for our wedding reception at a big, expensive hotel and as the date neared for departure, the passport had not arrived. Finally, I called and was advised that the passport would not be released because I owed tons of child support. I told them I had paid that (at one time, it did accumulate, but by this time, I had paid it almost entirely off, but the bullies in Alabama DHR had not reported that to Washington, so Washington was holding my passport). I finally got someone in DHR to send the Washingtonians proof of my paid-up status but the bureaucrats there said they didn't have to give me a passport because the travel was for "pleasure." My wife's family had paid for this big party and people were coming from all over Japan to attend.

I had to sweat blood and watch my language to get the bully bureaucrats to release my passport and let me go to my own wedding reception. So I think that the biggest problem is vindictive people in positions of bureaucratic power. They are the worst.

As to the Japanese wife and American husband situation, I have been married twice to Japanese citizens. The first time, I was married in Japan and applied for a green card a few months before scheduled departure. As the date approached and the green card still had not been sent (1995), I wondered if we couldn't just go on to the US and let Immigration send the green card there.

NO! I was told. "Since your wife has begun the green card process in Japan, if she even attempts to enter the United States before the green card has been issued, she will be put on the next plane back to Japan and she will be listed as inelligible EVER to come to the United States." Presumably, our two children could have entered and I could have entered, but my wife (and the kids' mother) would have to go back to Japan. Needless to say, we didn't try that.

Whoever suggested that checking with the US Embassy would have been smart was right. However, it's also a bit counter-intuitive. The wife had a valid Japanese passport and she was not violating any rules, didn't intend to stay in the US very long and didn't intend to apply for the green card while she was here....so who'da thunk it?

Apparently, however, Immigration is used to American/Japanese couples trying to get around rules and they have become extremely rigid in the way they handle them. In this case, it sounds like they ran across some First Class Jerks. I can really feel for Colby and Haruna. What a drag. Fortunately, she probably won't be "banned for life" from entering the US. And Colby should probably get a lawyer.

I did all the paperwork for my first wife's Green Card in Japan. Some years later, we divorced and some years later, I married another Japanese woman. I had sworn I would never do that again, but this one changed my mind. She was in the US on a student visa and I did all the paperwork for her green card after we married.

It was when we were going to our wedding reception that we had the problem with the passport. In that case, the Alabama DHR bully was a black guy I'd had some dealings with in the process of my divorce. He didn't like me on a personal level and the feeling was mutual because he was a bureaucrat who sat back and caused problems for people and didn't care. He was the one who told Washington I was in arrears on child support when it was not true. And it was a black woman in Washington who said that she wouldn't issue my passport even though I was not behind on the child support because she termed my trip "for pleasure." I felt like both those bureaucrats were working from racist motivations. But I finally got that straightened out.

The embassy person who warned me not to try to go to the US with my first wife, while the green card review was underway, was white. We did what she said and had not trouble.

The woman in Atlanta who gave my second wife her green card was black. Immigration had sent me a list of several items to bring to the interview, but just before the actual interview, they sent me a second list that was less extensive. I brought those items but neglected to bring several items from the first list. Those were the things the black lady in Atlanta wanted to see. She could have delayed the process by several more weeks or months, but she was simply a human being doing a job and was not racially biased and she ended up giving us the green card that day.

The people who pulled me out of line on my recent trip were all white and they all acted professionally, but what I underwent was a form of profiling. I was a person with an expired ID. They would have hit me with that if I had been black, white, Chinese, hispanic or any other race or color or religion on earth.

Profiling has been distorted by a lot of people who are against it. I think it's crazy to drag white grannies out of line for full, random pat-downs because of 9/11 when the truth is, the 9/11 terrorists were all Saudi men. But profiling is a very useful method of doing a lot of things. If you want diamonds, you have to look in certain types of soil and certain types of rock matrix. You won't find diamonds in certain other types of rocks, so why waste your time looking?

In health care, certain symptoms in a black man indicate certain types of possible health conditions while the same type of symptoms in white men make that diagnosis much less likely.

Credit reports were originally a type of profiling to show whether you were 'the type' who paid your bills on time or frequently skipped out on obligations. Now no one knows what they are. Which does show that profiling can get out of hand, but in principle it's a necessary and smart way to handle masses of any kind of information.

Alejandro wrote of being pulled over "because we were a Spaniard and an Irishman." But did the officer really know that before he pulled them over? Very unlikely. He probably pulled them over because of some strange driving behavior or an anomaly of their car's condition, like a burned-out tail-light. Once he found that both passengers were foreign nationals, we don't know what processes led to a more thorough search. But he wasn't put in jail for being a Spaniard, so that shouldn't cause great agony. Remember that one of the 9/11 hijackers was stopped for speeding but released because the officer had no "probable cause" even to look further into the guy's background and he went off and helped kill 3,000 people.

I've been searched by police for being parked in the wrong place. Sometimes, it's profiling. Sometimes, under the same conditions, "anyone" would be treated the same.

Because of the incident with the passport four years ago, I had to take a separate flight from my wife and arrived in Japan a day or two after she did, just in time for the ceremony. I count that up to racist bureaucrats, but not to "profiling."

The world is much different after seven years of the Bush presidency. In most ways, it's much worse. We all do well to watch our step all the time. Like it or not.

Best to you.

David

Luc X Saroufim
10-18-2007, 07:49 PM
The world is much different after seven years of the Bush presidency.

just wait 'til Guliani (sp?) takes office. you ain't seen nothing yet.

David Orange
10-18-2007, 07:52 PM
The checked with the U.S. state department website and made sure that all of their paperwork was in order. They have both been in and out of the U.S. before (post 9/11) and had no problems before this one....all they had was the suspicion that she would overstay her 90 days in the U.S. Nothing else.

Actually, this reminds me of an incident I heard about while I was living in Japan. One of the teachers at our school told a female friend of his to "come on over" and get a job, but he failed to tell her how necessary it was to be discreet. She came over knowing very little but intending to follow the law. Most Americans who live in Japan for awhile come over on a landing permit with the right to stay 90 days. If they intend to stay longer and work legally, the first apply for jobs, get hired and sponsored, then leave the country within their ninety day window, and get their visa issued, on the basis of employment sponsorship, at the Japanese embassy in Korea or Thailand. Then they come back into Japan with a work visa good for a year.

This particular young woman wasn't terribly clear on the details but when she landed in Japan and hit customs, the officer asked her how long she intended to stay and she told him "One year."

She was back on a plane to the states the next morning. My friend went up to Tokyo and was able to visit her, but there was no recourse. They sent her packing. In her case, she "invested" a good chunk of money to go overseas and get a good-paying job, but wound up making about a 36 hour trip to Japan and losing the cost of the trip.

And that was about 1994.

A drag all the way around.

David

David Orange
10-18-2007, 08:01 PM
Unfortunately, the officers SHOULD have been looking for a young hispanic male with long straight hair. Instead, the people searched when they couldn't find said hispanic male were all african american, including an elderly couple who were not in good health. 50 swat officers mobilized to stop and search a train...but when they came up empty handed, they went to the dark side of profiling...grab everyone black on the train and harrass them. Sucks doesn't it? Problem is, if you aren't black or hispanic you wouldn't know about it.

Ron, what you have described is the opposite of profiling. If they were looking for a young hispanic male, but they searched all black people, including an elderly couple, then profiling had gone out the window.

Best to you.

David

David Orange
10-18-2007, 08:14 PM
...I find it currious that people would denigrate me for doing so...(see the whining and immature references in your post above.)

Ron...I don't think he was referring to you. I don't think anyone would connect the word "whining" with your posts. Must have been referring to someone else.:D

Hang in there, pal.

David

Josh Reyer
10-19-2007, 02:31 AM
I for one am in favor of random searches of elderly grandmothers. I've known too many bad-ass and mean-ass old women to give them the benefit of the doubt. The minute we give old women a pass, that's when some disgruntled granny is going to blow up a plane.

I was lucky enough to attend a seminar at the Twin Cities Aikido Center conducted by Norio "Mike" Mamura of Milwaukee Aikido Club back in 1994 or 95. Short, slight, little old gentleman, in street clothes he looked like he wasn't even capable of hurting a fly, much less being willing to. He had some dynamite aikido, though. Underestimate the elderly at your own risk.

David Orange
10-31-2007, 01:49 PM
Lorien,

Any developments for Colby and Haruna?

Let us know if you learn more!

Thanks.

David

Lorien Lowe
03-30-2008, 02:20 PM
Colby and Haruna are currently on vacation in China, spending lots of tourist dollars and having a fine time.

anyone catch this week's edition of "This American Life"?

Buck
03-30-2008, 08:55 PM
Wow, I just got done reading what everyone said. Boy am I tired. It really wasn't enjoy to read. David Orange's first contribution was clean.

Random thoughts as I chugged everyone's contributions.

1. I don't know anyone in the world who isn't always fair, correct, or nice. America the melting pot- be it from any of the world's countries, tribes or ethnic background, region, there is an another against your countries, tribe ethnic background, or region.

2. America isn't a black and white.

3. Human's really are not nice creatures to each other. We have proved it over and over again.

4. The US has really improved in the way we treat immigrants, we are better then most.

5. The first agent contact wasn’t a white guy- sign of relief.

6. Hispanics have all sorts of skin color and looks; blacks, browns, Asian (don’t like saying yellow-that is only if you have jaundice, its inaccurate), whites, mixed, and tanned.

7. Not all cops are white.

8. It is a uncomfortable feeling to be detained in anyway.

9. Profiling is controversial now because we are not being frequently threatened or attacked like other countries are by an enemy. If and when we are than profiling will not be an issue. That is just the way we do things. I think it helps us work out the kinks. It gives us a chance to tweak it. Once we work all the bugs out all before we have to use it. I think it is a good process.

10. The name Choi mentioned in the letter where does it come from ethnically ?

11. I was profiled allot when I was a kid, I am short, geeky, bit over weight, played in band, wore glasses and not handsome. Ideal targets for the bullies. That is why I was on the computer allot, drank and train off and on in Aikido. I took Aikido because I was bullied so much. An opportunity to get some free therapy and get it off my chest. Ya, I admit it. I was looking for a little love and sympathy. Then got married and had a family. As an adult, I still suffer from profiling at work, and in social life. Guess I am still looking for a bit of love and sympathy. Getting free therapy doesn't hurt either.

dps
03-31-2008, 08:02 AM
Colby and Haruna are currently on vacation in China, spending lots of tourist dollars and having a fine time.

anyone catch this week's edition of "This American Life"?

Did they have any problem getting into China?

David

SentWest
04-04-2008, 01:27 PM
Hi Anne...I think it is because (as they stated) they weren't at the stage where they were ready to do that. It seemed to me they were clear they weren't trying to get her to emmigrate (right one? I always mix those up) at that point.

Best,
Ron

Ron,

In the original post the husband apparantly made this statement:

"[they told me] that they suspected her of wanting to enter the country for illegal purposes because she didn't have the intention of using her return flight (I told him that I didn't know if she planned to use it or not)."

I'm no immigrations expert, but not being sure how long you're going to stay in the country and being unclear as to whether you will be using your return ticket throws up a lot of red flags.

I got yanked out of line at Heathrow when I last visited the UK, was accused of a bunch of interesting things, was told I was going to be deported, and was interrogated for a few hours due to a similar misunderstanding. Unlike this couple, I politely insisted I was only vacationing and had definite plans to return to the US on the exact date shown on my return ticket. I also offered proof of US obligations I would need to return to. They eventually let me go about my business.

I'm sure the couple didn't do it intentionally, but it seems to me like they said a lot of the exactly wrong things.

Note: I received no apology from the UK customs officials either, despite being relatively mangled at the hands of the world's rudest customs lady. They just kind of kicked me out of their office in the direction of the luggage carousel and told me I had better be on the plane leaving in two weeks. Welcome to London!

Lorien Lowe
04-06-2008, 01:46 PM
Did they have any problem getting into China?

David

No. But then, they both speak fluent Mandarin (they met in China).

I guess what got me about the initial situation - what still gets me - is that Haruna is Colby's wife. They're legally married, so what does it matter how long she stays in America? She has a right to be here anyway. I recognize that there's paperwork to be filed, but to be freaked out that the spousal paperwork won't be done properly and thus the possiblility that Haruna might technically be here 'illegally'... it's a little like a murderer getting off scott-free on a technicality because the arresting officer didn' t mirandize him. Justice is not being served, regardless of what the paperwork says.

the 'this american life' program
http://www.thislife.org/Radio_Episode.aspx?episode=353
has a section on spouses who are being kicked out because their husbands died before their scheduled interview with imigration. I can see the point - we wouldn't want foriegn spouses to be able to murder their partners and still get into the country - but, as with Haruna's case, I think that they should at least be able to present a defense.

Taliesin
04-09-2008, 11:26 AM
Just to get things clear can we not confuse a refusal of leave to enter with 'deportation'.

Can you also point out that in the UK, Refusal of Leave to Enter - means as we say over here "exactly what it says on the tin"

Removal - also means exactly what it says on the tin

Deportation means removal plus a lawful decision preventing re-entry.

I'd also check whether being married to an American Citizen automatically entitles a person to remain in the US.

I ask because in Britian being married to a British Citizen is not itself sufficient for someone to be granted permission to remain.

PS - UK Immigration Officers are not known for their courtesy, fair mindedness or even knowledge of the Immigration Laws they are supposed to be upholding (except those that say they can refuse leave)

Lorien Lowe
04-19-2008, 02:30 AM
IIRC, the marriage by itself is not grounds to stay, hence the requirement for an INS interview to make sure that a foriegner isn't just paying an American to marry them so that they can get into the country.
However, I think that the benefit of the doubt should be given to the couple - sort of an 'innocent until proven guilty' thing, you know?
At the very least, they should be allowed to present evidence in their own defense.

Somehow I don't think that marrying American citizens and then sneaking in to stay with their parents is really a popular terrorist method.

Marc Kupper
04-21-2008, 05:37 PM
the following is a letter written by the son of a co-worker of mine, an American citizen, about his arrival with his wife at SFO from Japan.

September 6, 2007
To Whom it may concern:


This thread is really far off topic and looks more like one disgruntled person spreading the word about their own point of view on an incident. Within my immediate family about half of the people are married to "aliens." Sometimes there are snafus when we have arrived in the USA, including a couple that were stressful but overall, the system works and the people involved continue to enter and leave the USA as needed.

Marc

Lorien Lowe
04-28-2008, 12:47 AM
Marc, you're welcome to your own pov, but fyi this 'disgruntled person' was not 'spreading his view.' I copied the letter with permission after it was shown to me because *I* was disgruntled, and Colby himself did not show the letter around beyond his immediate family and friends.

Perhaps I'm still terribly naiive, but I still think both that 'justice' has to do with Justinian ideals like 'innocent until proven guilty,' and that the United States should hold justice as a high ideal.

P.S. yes, it is indeed off-topic; that's why it's in the 'Open Discussion' forum.