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[dupe] US Government Tracking Journalists and Immigration Advocates (nbcsandiego.com)
196 points by vinnyglennon 14 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 52 comments




Lots of flagged comments here. :)

If I read the assertions of the article correctly, isn't the issue that the border patrol is collecting information (i.e. acting as an intelligence agency) as opposed to its fundamental mission of protecting the border (which is strictly reactionary to breaking the laws).

Is the issue that border patrol is shifting into new territory as an agency? Regardless of the obvious issues around any USA based agency collecting information on its own citizens, is the biggest question just whether this is legal for them under their charter?

Or, am I misreading the issue under argument here?

[edit "USA" to say "USA based agency"...]


It's not just the border. ICE is also keeping lists of protestors in NYC.[0]

0 - https://www.thenation.com/article/ice-immigration-protest-sp...


Their response gave some light on the action, they say they didn't create the list until after the violence broke out. Seems pretty logical that they would attempt investigate who was there at the time. Not sure it's justified, but logical.

"CBP told our colleagues at NBC News that the names in the database are all people who were present during violence that broke out at the border in November. The agency also said journalists are being tracked so that the agency can learn more about what started that violence."


>Seems pretty logical

There will always be explanations for such lists. And they will always be criminal activity or terrorism. That no such lists were made in the past is always considered irrelevant. That identical circumstances elsewhere produce no such lists is glossed over.

>Lots of flagged comments here...USA collecting information on its own citizens is the biggest question

The biggest question is why so many people are perfectly happy with this along side "press is the enemy of the people" and an arbitrary declaration of emergency. Perhaps by questioning and studying why a population suddenly accepts things they never would in the past, other counties will adjust.

And it's not really a question, it's really just observing another country following the path of Hungary, Poland, Turkey, Venezuela, Philippines, Russia and India all at various stages along the same trajectory.


[flagged]


Why?


[flagged]


You can be as sorry as you like, however:

1. The original HN mission was to discuss “anything that piques our intellectual curiosity.” That is often technology business, but not necessarily.

2. The very word “hacker” implies a certain culture that has ALWAYS been highly interested in anti-authoritarian subjects. News and politics involving freedom of speech, freedom of journalism, and so forth are nearly always close to the heart of the traditional “hacker culture.”


I disagree. We should have conversations about how our software is used, even if it's a divisive topic.


You could argue that the divisive topics are those most desperately in need of discussion...


It’s too bad that even on hacker news, opposing viewpoints are often times downvoted into oblivion so that only one side of an argument is presented.

I’ve often found that the people who preach tolerance and say they are accepting of differing viewpoints are in reality, those who practice it the least.


HN isn't restricted to tech stuff, it's anything that gratifies intellectual curiosity. This doesn't post doesn't qualify.


Why?


Click the "Guidelines" link at the bottom of the page

---

What to Submit

On-Topic: Anything that good hackers would find interesting. That includes more than hacking and startups. If you had to reduce it to a sentence, the answer might be: anything that gratifies one's intellectual curiosity.

Off-Topic: Most stories about politics, or crime, or sports, unless they're evidence of some interesting new phenomenon. Videos of pratfalls or disasters, or cute animal pictures. If they'd cover it on TV news, it's probably off-topic.

---

So, with respect to politics, is this a new phenomenon? If we think, "No, this has been going on forever," then this story would be inappropriate. But if we think it's something new that is part of a very new phenomenon in the form of the Trump Presidency, then this would seem to be just fine.

It's a judgment call.


[flagged]


> One photojournalist said she was pulled into secondary inspections three times and asked questions about who she saw and photographed in Tijuana shelters.

You're going to have to point out to me where the lawbreaking is here.


Not that I support this, but it's not unreasonable to ask for information to stop illegal immigration or human trafficking. Some advocate groups have been an accessory to and/or aiding and abetting these crimes.


> not unreasonable to ask for information

It is unreasonable to state that being asked for information is the exact same thing as being accused of a crime and found guilty. OP comment stated unequivocally that these journalists are criminals.

That's just False as far as we can tell. Being asked for information has nothing to do with actually being a criminal, but you are conflating the two.


Involuntarily locking up and interrogating someone for 13 hours isn't "asking for information," and yes, it is unreasonable. In the land of the free/home of the brave that is known as an "arrest," and it can only be done if there's a charge. This is simply using passport flagging and ports of entry to persecute the political enemies of the current administration.


Normally, I'd be on the upboat train to upvote town for your comment but there's a caveat that you've overlooked:

When you're at a border crossing, the protections that you believe that you have are actually lessened or non-existent.[0]

[0] - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Border_search_exception

Feck it, have an upboat, anyways, just on principle.


I feel that its unreasonable to demand such information, however, asking is an entirely different story. If an otherwise innocent citizen's movement out of the country is being restricted (as described in the report) for no evidenced reason, I view that as an infringement of their personal liberties.

When people re-enter the country, I can see it as a bit different and investigation could be more warranted, but I still don't agree with it. The fact these border zones are not considered US soil and you, as a citizen, immediately have some subset of rights is absurd and I doubt the founders of this country would agree with as being legal at all. I understand how such measures are justified through the idea of increased security, but it does so at the cost of liberty, which is never a good trade off.

Frankly, the US immigration services I've interacted with at the airport make you really feel like you're entering a police state when you return. Japan for example was a breeze and not at all intimidating and they have far stricter immigration policies than the US.


Then they go through the witness interview process, not the criminal interview process.


Aiding and abetting a criminal is itself a crime, following that reasoning leads to a criminal interview, regardless of whether you think the original crime should be considered criminal.


>Aiding and abetting a criminal is itself a crime...

Bold move there, Cotton, got anything to back this claim up? As far as anyone's aware, these are just reporters who were reporting on the story.


Bold move there cotton? I've heard the phrase before, but could you explain what it means in this context?

I didn't say anyone was a criminal or what is a crime, what I am saying is that if you follow this particular train of thought:

1) You consider the action of Person A to be a crime. Note: The situation at hand at the border is so controversial, that many people DO consider it a crime, and many people consider their act as a RIGHT. I'll let you decide whether it is a crime or a right. But lets say you consider it a crime for the sake of this thought exercise. 2) You consider that the actions of Person B has aided Person A in the act in ANY way. 3) You reason from this that Person B has taken a partial role in the criminal act in 1) based on the legal doctrine that is Aiding and Abetting, which means: "aids, abets, counsels, commands, induces or procures"

So can we agree that a person who believes it is a crime, and believes that journalists HELP the ones performing the acts, that that someone would also reason that those journalists are committing a crime?


Journalism is one of the most popular covers for intelligence operations, because of the obvious overlap of responsibilities and the 'moral' cover of being a journalist.


>intelligence operations ...

This dodges the point: The journalists were suspected of political activism, not of intelligence gathering for a foreign power.


So, photojournalism and practicing law are illegal now?


>Government tracks people breaking the law. Backhanded activism at its finest, this article is.

Is this the fox news talking point? This exact sentiment is slathered all over those hateful vile Facebook comments at the bottom of the article.


[flagged]


[flagged]


> The migrant caravan is very obviously being accused of breaking the law

By whom? I've never heard this!

> (at a minimum, conspiracy to commit a crime)

What crime? What are you talking about?

> Is this hard to grasp?

Yes, because none of it is true. It looks like it's all made up to me and you have offered no evidence of your claims. You just state that you are "very obviously" right, but I think you are lying.

What law is so obviously being broken, that would lead to individual people being very obviously accused of breaking it? Having "ties" to something is not a criminal accusation anyway, so I'm really super confused about this.

AFAIK, none of the journalists or activists are accused of committing any crimes, much less convicted of it already as suggested by OP.


Crossing the boarder without going through customs is illegal. As an example from a news report on one of the migrants "... the man traveled from Honduras and had MS-13 gang tattoos, as well as a felony conviction for weapons misconduct in Maricopa County...". However we should be careful not to condemn the entire group do to just few criminals being present. That being said reporters should be allowed to report on crimes or criminal behavior, that is an essential part of their job. Unless there is specific data pointing to a reporter being engaged in helping a criminal then this reporter profiling is something that is in poor taste. The stopping at the boarder for extra questioning may constitute harassment which might be getting closer to illegal behavior. I would ask you when you say "...I'm really super confused about this". Is that really the case or do you just very strongly disagree or strongly disagree with the writers "facts"? A great way to win someone to your views is to make sure they understand that the are being listened to even if you disagree with them. Pretending not to understand, as an argument style, may be really unhelpful.


I feel like this is mostly a pedantic argument around being a suspect vs being officially accused. The migrant caravans are obviously intending to violate US law by entering the country illegally. Entering the country illegally is itself a crime. It's a misdemeanor, but a crime nonetheless.

Participating in the illegal transport of a person from one country to another is called human trafficking. These people are suspected of participating in human trafficking under the guise of journalism, so they are being questioned even though there is not enough evidence to officially accuse/charge them.


If historical patterns have anything to show us, it's that the migrant caravans intend to show up at the US border and apply for asylum in the legally proscribed process. It's only because certain factions in the US government have, through defunding and Kafkaesque regulation, made it virtually impossible to apply for asylum without already being in the US that people already at the border find themselves desperately seeking to cross into the US illegally.


https://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-45951782

Even the BBC acknowledges that members of these caravans openly admit their intention to enter the country illegally.


> Many of them say their goal is to settle in the US despite warnings by US officials that anyone found entering the country illegally will face arrest, prosecution and deportation.

I assume you're talking about this quote, because it's the closest thing I can find to saying that? I would suggest a closer reading, because nowhere does it have anyone saying they plan to do something illegally. It say that they plan to do something (that there are, in fact, legal ways to do), and have been threatened over doing it illegally.


If they aren't planning to do something illegal, then the threat doesn't apply to them. Are you just arguing that the BBC is doing sloppy writing here? Here's some more examples that have the explicit language you seem to be looking for.

https://www.theepochtimes.com/migrant-caravans-prove-a-succe...

- has multiple specific examples

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/at-the-us-border-migran...

>The caravan also includes single men who say they will attempt to cross the border illegally and others who plan to stay in Mexico.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2018/11/09/migrant...

> but 122 quit waiting and entered the country illegally to request asylum, according to data from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2018/nov/28/migrant-car...

“The standard wisdom [that] it’s all about violence could not be supported by our data,” said Detlof von Winterfeldt, a researcher at CREATE.


>The migrant caravans are obviously intending to violate US law by entering the country illegally.

It's not obvious at all. Presenting oneself at a port of entry is the legal way to seek asylum. What's your evidence that they planned to enter illegally? How is that even possible when there is so much attention on them?


Do you remember the reports/videos a while back that showed caravan members being gassed as they broke through the Southern Mexico border? Many of these people are not even legally in Mexico, so they're already criminals and anyone helping them is already participating in human trafficking even if the caravans never got to the US border.

The BBC reports here that:

>Many of them say their goal is to settle in the US despite warnings by US officials that anyone found entering the country illegally will face arrest, prosecution and deportation.

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-45951782

They openly acknowledge their intent to break the law.

With regards to your last question, my understanding is that historically as these caravans near the US border many people disperse and find various illegal ways across the border. Yes, many also apply for asylum in an orderly fashion.


> The migrant caravans are obviously intending to violate US law by entering the country illegally.

Citation need. I think it is the exact opposite situation, so regardless of the final truth, it's clearly not obvious that the people in caravan were intending to break the law. I've literally never heard of that accusation and I've been following this story.

The idea that these people are all intent on crossing the border illegally is a lie.

> Entering the country illegally is itself a crime. It's a misdemeanor, but a crime nonetheless.

Did any of these people do this? Did this happen already? Did they state they were planning on it? It is my understanding that they stated the opposite! That they were coming to apply for asylum completely legally.

> Participating in the illegal transport of a person from one country to another is called human trafficking

Okay but how is this relevant? Who is travelling illegally? This is literally the first time I've heard this was a potential issue here; the caravan is operating legally and its members were asking for legal asylum.

> These people are suspected of participating in human trafficking under the guise of journalism, so they are being questioned even though there is not enough evidence to officially accuse/charge them.

By whom? Where is this stated? I find absolutely no evidence to support this claim.

I'll go out and say it: This whole thing reeks of racism to me, of racist policies and racist prejudices all playing out in the real world. The reason so many comments are buried here is because there is so much racist dog-whistling on HN. It's so loud here it hurts my ears.

---

I'm no longer allowed to post on HN this morning, the site has some (temporary?) ban placed on me. But I can edit this post to say that you are LYING about the post below with the BBC link. That articles does not state that anyone has admitted to illegal things. You are lying, please stop.


This account is rate limited, like your other one, because you keep breaking the guidelines. Eventually we ban accounts that do this, so could you please review them and start posting only civilly and substantively?

https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html


Even the BBC acknowledges that many of the people in these caravans openly admit their plan is to enter the country illegally.

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-45951782

>Many of them say their goal is to settle in the US despite warnings by US officials that anyone found entering the country illegally will face arrest, prosecution and deportation.

Since the basis of your argument is demonstrably false, please try again.

Edit: Parent post accused me of lying, so I added the specific quote. Members say their goal is to settle in the US despite warnings that they may face arrest, prosecution, and deportation. If they were all going to apply for asylum in an orderly fashion they would not face arrest or prosecution.


>Many of them say their goal is to settle in the US despite warnings by US officials that anyone found entering the country illegally will face arrest, prosecution and deportation.

You're conflating the word "goal" with the idea of "malicious intention".

Let me give an example: I have a goal to travel to space but I'm not building my own unlicensed rockets with unlicensed materials to do it. This doesn't implicitly mean that I mean or intend to break the law, whatsoever.

Secondarily, as another post already pointed out, asylum can be granted for people who enter illegally, as codified in the US Code[0]:

Any alien who is physically present in the United States or who arrives in the United States (whether or not at a designated port of arrival and including an alien who is brought to the United States after having been interdicted in international or United States waters), irrespective of such alien’s status, may apply for asylum in accordance with this section or, where applicable, section 1225(b) of this title.

If you're going to argue the merits of violating the law as reasons to deny them asylum, (and deport them) then you should, at the very least, be aware of the law's allowance of such action, which they're leveraging to seek asylum, yeah?

In other words, your argument is specious because it entirely discredits the "law of the land", as it were. Not mention, of course, that you fail delineate betwixt "goal" and "intent".

[0] - https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/8/1158


It is black letter law that, if you are seeking asylum, your place or method of entry are irrelevant. Asylum claims can even be offered as a defense at criminal immigration hearings.

"Since the basis of your argument is demonstrably false," indeed.


I will say quite plainly that if I were on a jury where a person is on trial for human trafficking, and the person reasonably believed they were only helping asylum seekers, I would find them not guilty. I don't know the letter of the law in this area, but I would find them not guilty regardless of the letter of the law (jury nullification).

More than likely, I suspect the evidence would support this study out of the University of Southern California who found that the asylum narrative is largely a myth and most caravan members are economic migrants:

https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2018/nov/28/migrant-car...

“The standard wisdom [that] it’s all about violence could not be supported by our data,” said Detlof von Winterfeldt, a researcher at CREATE.


First, the Washington Times is a notably biased source.

Second, let's please remember that we (the US) fucked those countries up profoundly, to the point that people are fleeing en masse and forming migrant caravans. Fearing for your fucking life because of a puppet government who massacres dissenters is unambiguously grounds for asylum, as far as I'm aware.

Finally, economically-motivated migration and asylum-seeking are absolutely not mutually exclusive. Anyone who has ever tried to claim that these people's motivations are strictly one or the other is selling a narrative, not studying the phenomenon.

EDIT: Also: I don't know the letter of the law in this area...

Then maybe educate yourself before applying fingers to keyboard. You have access to every single source I do on this matter, including the relevant treaties and statutes. Those are the primary source material here, not an opinion piece in a rag whose own masthead proclaims, "The Right Opinion..."


[flagged]


Personal attacks will get you banned here. Please don't post like this again.

https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html


If this was true, you wouldn't know about it.


Oh, so sort of like how all that stuff Edward Snowden revealed wasn't true, huh?


>For each person, the documents show their photo, often from their passport but in some cases from their social media accounts, along with their personal information. That information includes the person’s date of birth, their “country of commencement,” and their alleged role tied to the migrant caravan.

Awfully inconvenient of NBC San Diego and/or the leakers not to release the documents so we could see examples of "their alleged role tied to the migrant caravan". Would probably be helpful context.


> not to release the documents

I'm quite certain the crime here would be releasing these documents and doxxing innocent people who are doing their normal, okay, not-illegal jobs.


Wouldn't that involve releasing people's personal information? I don't think that's a good idea at all.


Yea I don't really see how you can support or dismiss this either way without knowing what the 3 letter agencies think the people in this list are doing.

For all we know they could have been in contact with cartel or cartel associates in an official capacity just investigating things which of course might put them on a list.


The documents are literally linked to from the article. The roles listed are things like "Journalist", "Media/Photographer", "Organizer", "Instigator", "Unknown", "N/A", etc


From The Fine Article:

> To view the documents, click here or the link below.




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