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View Diary: Border Agent Saves US from Volunteer Ski Coach (255 comments)

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  •  it seems like stuff like this happens too often (45+ / 0-)

    the first time I started to worry when my non-citizen spouse travelled to the US without me was when the stories of extraordinary rendition were coupled with stories like this one out of the airport we most frequently use:

    U.S. Detains IMF Economist in Terror Mix-Up
    U.S. officials admitted Wednesday it had accidentally detained a Spanish economist with the International Monetary Fund because his name matched an individual on a federal watch list....

    ...handcuffed him and then detained him for three hours before realizing they had the wrong man. After an hour of questioning, the man asked to make a phone call to his wife who was eight months pregnant, but he was not allowed. At the time he was carrying a special U.S. visa identifying him as an employee of an international organization and a United Nations passport issued for official travel as well as a Spanish passport.....

    ...."It will be hard for me to ever view the U.S. as ‘home, sweet home’ when coming back from a mission."

    Quite.   This particular story doesn't mention he also had work documents on the plane, was travelling with colleagues who asked what was going on, etc.  I mean really - I understand them checking, but it's hard to justify treating someone so poorly when there is so much to indicate that the likelihood is very high it's a mixup.

    The story you linked to is far worse - the gloating guards, the lack of sleep, etc. - these things cannot be justified in the name of national security - there's just no excuse.

    •  Sleep deprivation is torture. They tortured the (25+ / 0-)

      man. Nothing more. Nothing less. This is the trickle down from Gitmo...

      We all rise to the the level of our incompetence. Unfortunately, some arseholes go too far.

      by Clive all hat no horse Rodeo on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 05:46:20 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Close to what happened to a friend (15+ / 0-)

      Non-citizen spouse traveling with two small children to meet her husband here for a vacation (they live in the UK). Hours of questioning, threats of detention. Kids there for the whole thing. For NOTHING. Her papers were in perfect order, as were theirs.

      And she is "English English" - that is, of Anglo-Saxon ancestry. Not that that should mean she's treated better. But given the current atmosphere, what's happening to people with dark hair and skin? No, don't tell me, I know.

      You can tell you have created God in your own image when it turns out that he or she hates all the same people you do. - Anne Lamott

      by javelina on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 06:17:34 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Unfortunately, that is the law (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mattman, javelina, Jagger

        Non-citizen spouses are not allowed to visit their US citizen spouse; they only have the option of applying for a Green Card (and in some cases waiting six years).

        Sometimes, Border Patrol reverse-discriminates for Europeans and admits them anyway. Non-Europeans basically would always experience what the British lady in this case experienced.

        Army 1st Lt. Ehren T. Watada, Lt. Cdr USN Matthew Diaz, SPC Eli Israel: true American heroes.

        by sdgeek on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 07:53:34 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Visa waiver (5+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mattman, mmacdDE, javelina, Spoc42, kyril

          Any citizen of an EU country has, or had until very reciently, a visa waiver for three months in the USA. SAme for Americans in Europe in the EU, you just need your passport no visa.

          •  Visa waiver is still in effect (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            javelina, Iberian, kurt, Cassandra Waites

            EU citizens from all of the older states can visit the US at any time without a visa for up to three months--BUT not if you will do anything that they regard as work or study, and you have to have a return ticket. An arrest record can also bar you, including for things that are considered very minor under EU law.
            The UK is actually getting quite horrible in this regard also. I have managed to avoid ever giving any biometric information other than a thumbprint to anyone ever; my daughter had to have an iris scan and full fingerprint check plus an interview--and spend a LOT of money--to come visit us this year, as she had been refused entry previously. She never actually tried to leave the US, she had simply applied to join us in the UK to live and the UK said no by refusing to give her the kind of visa she needed.
            I would spend any amount to get her over here permanantly but they keep tightening up the rules even more.

            "America is the only country that went from barbarism to decadence without civilization in between." -- Oscar Wilde

            by expatyank on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 10:23:58 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  asdf (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              My friend's sister is still trying to get into the UK to be with her husband two years after their wedding. They made it to Heathrow, he went through, she was going through customs. The guy at customs saw her husband waiting for her, asked her if she knew him (husband), she said yes, the customs guy went to speak to her husband, came back and started yelling at her, saying she lied to him and didn't tell him that the man was her spouse. They walked her to a US-bound plane and told her she wouldn't be welcomed back to England. They wouldn't let her take her carryon luggage, which had her purse in it, which had her inhaler. They've gone through both consulates on both sides of the pond, but nothing has come about.

              •  That would be totally unlawful in Germany. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                Regulations say that you should get a (family) visa to join your German husband/wife. But in case of a few countries, including the USA, even that´s not necessary. An American citizen married to a German citizen could come to Germany using a tourist visa and start the proceedings here.
                Hopefully with all the legal documents available. :)

                •  Didn't Germany severely curtail family visas? (0+ / 0-)

                  I thought that Familienzusammenfuehrung was very restricted nowadays.

                  Army 1st Lt. Ehren T. Watada, Lt. Cdr USN Matthew Diaz, SPC Eli Israel: true American heroes.

                  by sdgeek on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 02:59:01 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

            •  Part of it might be EU regulations. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              I´ve read that the UK - despite opting out of some EU regulations - tends to enforce the ones adopted even more rigidly than some "Old European" countries.

              IIRC the EU made it a lot harder for adult (over 18) "foreign" children to live with their parents in the EU.
              In Germany it´s a discretionary decision of the local authorities. They can agree but don´t have to. Though I imagine they might be more favorable to an American than to a Turkish citizen.

              That said, I don´t quite see us adopting that kind of checks you´re describing just for a simple family visit.
              Iris scan, full fingerprints plus an interview?
              And they call us Germans bureaucratic?

              •  Germany was among the first, actually (0+ / 0-)

                The German passports had the biometrics chip before American passports did.

                Army 1st Lt. Ehren T. Watada, Lt. Cdr USN Matthew Diaz, SPC Eli Israel: true American heroes.

                by sdgeek on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 02:59:46 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  Getting an over-18 relative into the UK (0+ / 0-)

                is an effing nightmare. tried it four years ago and failed miserably,with results that could have been tragic. Even with our MP calling the Home Office on our behalf, help from a sympathetic HO insider, and all our paperwork ducks in a row.
                Visits may be a problem in future as well, they have recently floated a proposal that any non-EU family visitors would have to have a £1000 (app. $2000) bond posted to guarantee their exit.

                "America is the only country that went from barbarism to decadence without civilization in between." -- Oscar Wilde

                by expatyank on Tue Mar 04, 2008 at 05:20:24 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

          •  Visa waiver does not apply (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            Visa waivers are only available for tourists and for business visitors.

            Spouses of US citizens are deemed to be intending immigrants, the presumption is that they will remain in the USA with their family. That is why they are usually unable to come to teh USA as tourists.

            Army 1st Lt. Ehren T. Watada, Lt. Cdr USN Matthew Diaz, SPC Eli Israel: true American heroes.

            by sdgeek on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 01:03:39 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Interesting. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              According to German regulations spouses of German citizens face much the same hurdles.
              Except for citizens of a few countries including the USA. (Not counting EU citizens of course.)
              If German federal government websites are to be believed, US spouses can enter Germany on a tourist visa and start proceedings here.

              •  Chilean citizens, too (0+ / 0-)

                Germany is much more lenient towards intending immigrants, in part because actually immigration to Germany is so difficult as to be nearly impossible anyway. So they are not too concerned about tourists trying to use that as a jumping-off point and bypassing the regular procedures at the consulate.

                Army 1st Lt. Ehren T. Watada, Lt. Cdr USN Matthew Diaz, SPC Eli Israel: true American heroes.

                by sdgeek on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 02:57:42 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

            •  Well (0+ / 0-)

              You have the alien fiance visa or if you are married you must be working of the paper work to obtain your permanent residency, a period in which travel out of the country is nearly forbidden (long as period with the present delays in ICE) and can apply for expensive valid for one time travel permits.

              In any case the spouse of a citizen can still use the visa waiver meanwhile it does not work or overstay. In the border with the visa waiver if you say travel purposes tourism no one will normally stop you, I don't know what happens if you say "to meet my spouse".

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