[Noisebridge-discuss] Might NB want to put up a warning somewhere to people wanting to travel to our great hackersoace from other countries? NB warning to US visitors? - Fwd: [BerkTIPGlobal] 63yo mother Pinay traumatized by "officers", horror trip to US. https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6520074
john_re at fastmail.us
Tue Oct 15 18:15:07 UTC 2013
Might NB want to put up a warning somewhere to people wanting to travel
to our great hackerspace from other countries?
----- Original message -----
From: "giovanni_re" <john_re at fastmail.us>
To: BTG <BerkTIPGlobal at googlegroups.com>
Subject: [BerkTIPGlobal] 63yo mother Pinay traumatized by "officers",
horror trip to US. https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6520074
Date: Wed, 09 Oct 2013 11:07:30 -0700
Pinay traumatized by horror trip to US (abs-cbnnews.com)
259 points by coolsank 9 hours ago | 146 comments
sneak 6 hours ago | link They do this to me regularly, and I'm a US-born
US citizen. My median time for being arrested and held with no food or
water or use of a communications device is around six hours.
...all because I politely exercise my fifth amendment rights.
This happens about 50% of the time I enter the country. I live abroad so
I enter the US about a half-dozen times per year. I think my file is big
enough now that they know not to ask me anything.
> CBP’s Pledge to Travelers
> We pledge to cordially greet and welcome you to the United States.
> We pledge to treat you with courtesy, dignity, and respect.
> We pledge to explain the CBP process to you.
> We pledge to have a supervisor listen to your comments.
> We pledge to accept and respond to your comments in written, verbal, or electronic form.
> We pledge to provide reasonable assistance due to delay or disability.
I often wonder which of these "threatening me with prosecution for
interfering with a border control point", "lying to me by saying I'm
legally required to answer their questions", "refusing to tell me the
name of the city I'm standing in" and "throwing me out of the border
control point (into the USA) on the highway in Vermont in February in a
snowstorm" fall under.
(It's the only time I've ever had to hitchhike in my life, as it'd been
hours since they'd sent the Montreal-Boston bus on without me.)
The one border cop in Detroit told me, after coming through the tunnel
from Windsor, that "[she's] just doing her job, making sure the country
is safe, and that [she's] there to prove [I'm] innocent and get [me] on
my way quickly." I waited until I was given the all clear to leave the
building before mentioning to her that "We're Americans, and this is
America. I am innocent until I am proven guilty, and those representing
our country would do best to remember that."
Despite my opinions about the lot of them, I am calm, polite,
professional, and courteous in my interactions with them. They respond
in the most unprofessional manner possible, short of physically
assaulting me. They've cost me thousands of dollars and caused me to
miss important business meetings. (Before you say it: it's not my fault
for exercising my basic rights or not "just answering the simple
questions" that I missed my meetings. I'd have left except for the fact
that men with guns on their belt arrested me after I'd already given
them my passport and they'd searched my possessions.)
Fuck the police.
PS: Their invasive searches of my belongings were clearly punitive, too.
I never travel with contraband but had I been doing so, they would not
have found any of it. They were clearly just fucking with someone who
had the nerve to tell them that his travel plans inside and outside of
the US were and are "none of their business".
MANILA - A Filipina's trip to the United States to attend the wedding
of her daughter turned into a nightmare after she was harassed,
insulted, and deported by American immigration authorities.
Carina Yonzon Grande, in a statement to ABS-CBNNews.com, recalled her
harrowing experience at the hands of US Immigration officers at the
Seattle International Airport on October 1.
Grande was traveling with complete valid documents -- a passport with a
10-year US visa valid until 2017, round trip plane tickets, and even
The 63-year-old, who used to work for the Asian Development Bank, is
well traveled and has been to Italy, Austria, Germany, Belgium,
Switzerland, Vanuatu, Fiji, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam,
Uzbekistan, Pakistan, Australia, Hong Kong, and Singapore.
It was her 13th time to visit the US in a span of more than two and a
She said, upon reaching the immigration area, she noticed a group of
immigration police officers directing people to where they should line
"I also observed police officers questioning, in a very loud voice, the
visitors about why they chose to travel to the US for their vacation,
the purpose of their visit, and even the amount of money they have for
this trip, which I found simply absurd!" Grande said.
"When it was my time to present myself to the immigration officer, he
asked me the usual questions i.e. purpose of travel and length of stay.
I gave him an honest answer: that the purpose of my travel to the US was
to visit my grandson Joshua at Everett and also to attend my daughter's
wedding on October 26 in L.A., and that I was staying for two months,"
She said the immigration officer looked at her passport and saw Grande
had visited the US many times in the past.
"I confirmed by saying yes, since the family could afford it," she
Held for 6 hours without food, water
Her nightmare began when the immigration officer told her to go to a
room where people were being held for more questioning.
Grande said she was confined in the small room for 6 hours.
"Questions about the purpose of my visit to the US were asked repeatedly
by Officer Keavid Mam (in a very arrogant manner). He then asked if I
have relatives in the US, which I answered in the affirmative. I was
asked to give names and corresponding contact numbers. I gave the
details of my daughter Steph and my grandson Josh, 21 years old. I was
asked for more names, so I gave the name and number of my Aunt Nerissa,
who is nearly 90 years old and the sister of my late Mother. More names
and numbers could have been provided to them had they allowed me to call
my daughter Steph but I was not allowed to make phone calls. They took
my celfone. Every time they placed a call to my aunt, my grandson Joshua
and daughter Steph, they shut the door so I would not hear their
conversations with my relatives," she said.
The immigration officer then returned to the room and accused Grande of
being a liar. He claimed that he talked to her aunt, who allegedly told
him that Grande will take care of her as a caregiver.
She said the immigration officer's allegations are not true because her
aunt didn't even know she was arriving in the US.
"While Officer Mam kept on repeating his questions about why I was in
the US, a fellow officer by the name of Chang, joined and shouted,
calling me a liar. He even searched my purse where I had wedding cards
(with money) for my daughter and future son-in-law, and a birthday card
for Joshua (also with money) and other stuff. He scattered all the items
in my purse on the table, asking why they should believe me, when my
aunt, according to him, seems to be the honest one," Grande said.
'Who is she, a TNT ?'
"While doing this, another officer passed and shouted 'Who is she, a TNT
?'" she said.
"I was already shaking, very tired, exhausted, and weak. I had not eaten
because of this interrogation," she added.
Their supervisor, a certain Mr. Caldwell, later joined the immigration
officers and warned Grande that she will suffer the consequences if she
didn't tell them what they wanted to hear.
"If I lie, they would have to arrest me and put me in jail. He even
showed me the jail cell. I said, 'I am telling the truth, and that they
can put me in jail because I will never ever admit doing the things I am
wrongly being accused of.'"
Caldwell gave Grande two options: be deported to the Philippines on the
next flight of the same day or be put in jail and barred from entering
the US for 5 years.
"Exhausted, hungry, and sleep-deprived, I chose option one," Grande
said. "It is disheartening that at my age, I didn’t receive any respect
from these officials. I was treated like a criminal. I was not allowed
to talk to my daughter and grandson and my celfone was taken away from
me. Even after the interrogation concluded, they did not give it back to
"It pains me so much that I was mistreated like this. I have never been
so humiliated and demeaned in my life! I am still hurting and hope other
people will not suffer the extreme humiliation I recently experienced,"
Ken Shaw, the fiancé of Grande's daughter, supported her statement.
"She was cruelly interrogated for 6 hours after a 15-hour flight and
held without food and water. Derogatory racial slang was hurled her way
and she was shown and threatened with a jail cell. Her belongings were
careless rifled through, wedding cards and gifts from relatives for the
couple plainly visible throughout this process," Shaw said in a separate
statement sent to ABS-CBNNews.com.
"She was repeatedly called a liar and laughed at by individuals who
seemed to believe that they have an exclusive license on the truth and
that tormenting an elderly woman, exhausted from a long flight, was all
in a day’s good sport," he said.
Shaw said an immigration officer even mocked Grande's daughter on the
"An arrogant official promptly addressed her by her first name and
cockily said, "Well hello, your mother is being deported."
"After piously stating their righteousness, the official ended the
conversation with yet another smirk and additional smarmy commentary,"
"I have tried a couple of times since then to get the full names of the
individuals who handled my future mother-in-law’s case, but apparently
they are special and do not need to disclose information to the American
public," he said.
"My fiancée is now heart broken – not only for her mother having to miss
her wedding but also for the cruel treatment she was forced to endure by
the government of the country she now calls home," Shaw said.
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