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British man banned from US because of text to American girlfriend (news.com.au)
79 points by r_singh 24 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 125 comments

I'm almost 100% certain at some point someone said that this would only ever be used to stop Bin Laden style terrorists, and now people are browsing through intimate text conversations to ban people on trivial technicalities from allied countries.

The problem is not that this person received a harsh punishment, but that we will continue sliding down this slippery slope. Next thing you know, this won't be limited to our borders. We'll have minority style report pre-crime punishments. This guy was essentially punished before he even committed his crime (overstaying in the US).

Not to undermine your point, but the entire visa-granting process is based on a pre-crime action. I'm unlucky to be from a country that still requires visas to the US(Poland - despite the fact that our government is literally crawling up the ass of the American government and participating in every single conflict America engages in for no reason other than to say we are great friends), and yeah, basically to be allowed to visit the US you have to visit the embassy and allow your whole life to be inspected - if there is any chance that you might stay - and it might be as minor as having a cousin already living in the US and being in vaguely the same industry you are in, which of course is an indication you will want to stay too /s - then you will be denied and told to try again in 10 years. It's absolutely brutal and yes, it's based entirely on officials guessing whether someone is likely to break the law or not - not whether the law was actually broken.

It is interesting that Poland looks to be the only EU country that is not on the list of US Visa Waiver program - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Visa_Waiver_Program#/media/Fil...

Good quote:

"The Adjusted Refusal Rate is based on the refusal rate of B visa applications. B visas are adjudicated based on applicant interviews; the interviews generally last between 60 and 90 seconds.[20] Due to time constraints, adjudicators profile applicants.[20] Certain demographics, such as young adults, those who are single and/or unemployed, almost never receive visas.[20] Adjudicators are evaluated on how fast they carry out interviews, not the quality of adjudication decisions.[21] The validity of B visa decisions is not evaluated."

It's 100% because in the 90s after the fall of communism a lot of people travelled to US on tourist visas and stayed permanently(illegally). It's still being used as an argument by US to exclude us from the US Visa Waiver program, even though nowadays in 2019 you'd be hard pressed to find any Pole interested in emigrating to the US for unskilled work. The risks are huge, the pay is not great, and you can hop on a 4-hour bus to Germany and work there visa-free for much better money, while having full access to healthcare, worker protections and essentially 90% same rights as a native citizen. Why would you risk going to US and overstaying a visa to what, pick strawberries? That made a lot of sense 25 years ago, when even the most basic of basic jobs would pay 50x better than any job in Poland, but that time is long gone now. Not only our salaries are better, but the entire EU market is open to us without limitations. It feels like US still lives in some kind of bubble where they believe that America is a dream land and the second Poles get access to the Visa Waiver programme they will come in droves and stay - I think they are hugely mistaken on that point.

Bulgaria, Romania, Croatia as well.

And Cyprus. But Croatia is the only EU country not on the "roadmap list" of countries considered to join the program.

That should only apply to a non-immigrant visa I would hope. For dual-purpose it shouldn't matter. For an immigrant one, you should be rejected if it appears you don't actually intend to stay.

The border control system is full of these gotchas and opportunities for arbitrary harsh punishments. Just off the top of my head, and a mix of US and UK:

* Be careful saying you are travelling for "business" or "work". The two words mean about the same in everyday use, but at a border check one is perfectly fine and one is a giant no-no.

* You apply for a 30-day visa and are granted a 90-day visa. If you decide to extend your trip to 90 days you can be banned for misrepresentation.

* The whole thing with "intention to immigrate" that is basically policing your internal mental state. It's perfectly fine to travel to America on a non-immigrant visa, decide you like it there and apply for a change of status or a new immigrant visa. Someone who planned to do that from the beginning is violating their visa, but of course it's impossible to prove unless they slip up.

* There are many situations where you are allowed to stay in a country, but if you go on any trip to an other country you will not be let back in. For example if you are waiting for an extension application. Not fun if a parent is suddenly sick in hospital and you want to see them before they die.

It is unacceptable that border police do search the messages in my phone. Never going to this country.

Canadian border patrol have done it too

This has to be the result of some incentive structure that rewards border personnel whenever any scrap of evidence for illegal intention is found.

No policeman I ever met was ever so thorough with their job. It's deliberate emigration policy at work.

Something similar, though much less extreme happened to me. My Australian girlfriend got a year long visa to stay with me in the US. The immigration officer detained her for 3 hours, and eventually told her she could only stay for six months. (This was a long time ago, late 99s, so I can’t remember the justification or how he had the authority to alter a visa she had already been granted. He may have been lying.)

He himself wasn’t born in the US, a detail which really pissed me off at the time.

How can someone whose job is to check your visa have any power to alter it?

> He himself wasn’t born in the US, a detail which really pissed me off at the time.

One thing that I constantly notice americans born in US don't understand about immigrants is that legal immigrants are one of the most anti-illegal immigration groups in the country. At least a lot of knowledge workers that got in through H1B or similar mechanisms are.

It makes perfect sense. I know a LOT of people who immigrated to US legally, and they see illegals as people who're trying to cheat at exactly the same rules that they have had to obey and spend a lot of resources and effort to do so.

You very wrong on the assumptions.

The person with the rubber stamp issues you the I-94 in the USA. That is the ultimate say on how long you are allowed to stay. The visa is only one of the many things they consider.

Welcome to the bureaucracies of immigration, usually duration of the visa != duration of the allowed stay

You can of course appeal (with various degrees of success and cost)

Can you imagine if the same attention and assumptions were payed to rich people's private money moves and communications?

Because most illegal immigrants are British, lol :)

Being an illegal immigrant in the US is extremely unattractive -- decent jobs require paperwork.

You know, you will be surprised that the charts of biggest illegal immigrant nationalities worldwide is topped by Swiss citizens.

Developed countries' citizens consistently outmatch people from undeveloped countries when in comes to immigration crimes almost everywhere

> Developed countries' citizens consistently outmatch people from undeveloped countries when in comes to immigration crimes almost everywhere

[Citation needed]

Just an example, it is assumed the US has around 11Mi undocumented migrants (rough number). Switzerland does not even have that many people.

Almost always, but not everywhere. For US, yes, other American nationals make ~50% of their illegal immigrants, and that's a phenomenon on its own.

But take a bigger sample. Swiss were biggest offenders in Hongkong, Macau, and dozen other tropical vacation destinations.

Few years ago, Singapore's biggest offenders after Malaysians happened to be US citizens.

India, complicated story... but if you not count Bangladesh citizens, and stateless, I think almost all of OECD members will get to the chart

Vietnam, heard that they struggle with US citizens in recent years as well, though mostly Vietnamese Americans

African countries, a known story - tourist overstayers

Wow really? Interesting! Citation needed please!

But still there are 10s of thousands pouring in every month.

The promise of a better life (in the future) for you and your family is a strong one.

It's pretty stupid. Moving can mean taking action. Not that it's any of their business. On the other hand, I can see why they would think that, but isn't it like, pretty easy to tell if this guy ends up overstaying his visa or whatnot?

Then I get distracted by the embarrassment I feel reading his meticulous reassurances to her banal insecurities.

Then I'm back to feeling bad for the guy, with someone like me reading his texts.

The article is somewhat misleading. The image of the texts provided by the man himself show an intention to "never be away from you again" in addition to "moving to be with you." We only have the man's word on what happened; we have none of the evidence that the border officials used. Did he have a return ticket? Did he have a home or a job to go back to? A lifetime ban seems a bit extreme, but I am completely unsurprised that he wasn't admitted.

Here's the text that caused this: https://imgur.com/O2SbNL8

a barrage of clingy text messages after a break up. Looks like border patrol was really trying to save the american person in this one case. /rimshot

Funny you say that. It would seem to be standard to call the girlfriend to check his story. If she said she didn't want to see him, that would cast a great deal of doubt on his stated reason for coming.

It certainly could be interpreted in a somewhat stalkery way. We have no idea what the girlfriend thinks about this. Calling her could have cleared up a lot.

Of course it's also possible they did call her and kicked him out exactly because of something she said. We only have his part of the story. It could be a complete misrepresentation.

He also seems rather eager to share lots of private photos of them together. Could be a red flag.

I think that this is very unkind way to judge a person.

Does the US _really_ have a problem with UK citizens overstaying their visa? I highly doubt it, this is insane.

Not likely, but US border officials can pretty much exercise arbitrary power in deciding who gets in, and they can’t get in trouble for denying entry to a non-citizen Joe B. Nobody.

Not British, but two Irish acquaintances of mine were rounded up and deported from the US in the early 2010s. I don't see a problem, they broke the law in illegally moving there. Such practices were common among Irish up until the 2000s. Doesn't happen so much anymore, but then again it is near impossible to legally emigrate there if you're from Ireland.

Yes, they do have issues with this. Whether UK or any other nationality. Funnily, I have a colleague who overstayed his entry visa by exiting a day late and frequently gets stopped and questioned when he goes back, which he does often as he had since married an American and probably entitled to US and UK passports by now!

Getting a green card would presumably reduce his border hassles. On the flip side it would require him to file US taxes as long as he retains it no matter where he lives.

In my case even with that I got hassled every time - multi hour delays on every arrival because of something screwed up in their records of me. Eventually I went so far as to get citizenship because of the hassle. That requires me to file US taxes for the rest of my life even if I choose to permanently reside outside the US.

A problem as in "people of that nationality causing problems" probably not as much.

A problem as in "it is against our current immigration rules" technically it is correct. Numerically it's probably around < 1% possibly around 0.1%

Reminds me of this news story about a 70-year old children's author detained at a US airport [1]. I'm led to believe that US customs/immigration is the rudest in the developed world. Nowhere else talks to visitors to their country in this fashion.

[1]: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-02-25/mem-fox-detained-at-l...

Aside from the fact that this article originally came from a sensationalist tabloid (the Sun), there is only the word of the one person, without even a quote from his girlfriend. The whole thing sounds fishy.

It doesn't sound fishy at all.

Border patrol routinely check through people's documentation to see if their stated reason for visiting is supported. This person claims to be visiting temporarily, but has sent text saying he is moving to be with this woman and never wants to leave her: this is enough for entry to be denied. This is not an uncommon experience.

Power tripping border officials.

Should have used WeChat. On a Huawei phone.

They can detain you indefinitely until you give up your password, so it doesn’t matter.

There are no laws at the border, even the constitution doesn’t apply for US citizens there.

To be completely accurate the Constitution doesn't apply anywhere within 100 miles of a U.S. border, which includes airports. This covers something like 60% of the population of the United States.



Just a nitpick, but the Constitution still applies (and worldwide between US GOvt and US Persons), but the courts have decided its rules against unreasonable search and seizure don't apply for customs and immigration purposes with certain distances of a port of entry.

Plenty of laws apply. They thing to remember is that you can't give up something you don't have. Use a blank dumb phone when crossing, restore afterwards.

The entry requirements aren't just "show me the phone you have", they include "give me your social media details".

Turning up with a burnder phone is a guarantee that you're going to spend hours in an immigration office.

I've not heard of demands for fb/twitter/email passwords. More of a concern for non-citizens -- don't post anything publicly I'm afraid.

Even if he did eventually want to live permanently in the US, why would that be a reason to ban him? Does the US only want people who hate the place? If so, they're doing a good job.

Why was he detained and his messages checked in the first place? The immigration officer must have had some suspicion even without the text messages.


Just wondering as to why people even bother with the US at all? What does the US give you that UK doesn’t, besides a fucked up government (even more so than the UK - see who’s in charge of the FCC or the tax filing situation), crazy & unreasonable immigration policies, etc?

This won’t change as long as people accept it. But if tomorrow tourism & business travel slows down to a crawl because of this you can bet you’ll see changes the next day.

I lived in the UK for two years (as a European), and I couldn't leave fast enough. Adjectives that I would use to describe British culture: miserable, passive-aggressive to the point of dishonesty, complaining, petty, distrustful of everyone to the point of paranoia.

There are obviously many great British people and not everyone is like that, but the overall way people treat each other? Yeah nah, not for me.

I'm not saying US doesn't have its problems, but they're of a very different nature.

Sounds like you were in London / South-East. I've lived all over the UK and your description perfectly describes why I left London (for another country), but my childhood/university life growing up in the north of England could not have be more different.

I lived in Bristol.

Even in my own little country of the Netherlands there are differences between regions, so I don't doubt that your experience in North England was better. I heard Scotland is a lot better too.

I do think many people are looking a bit envious towards the US right now. Not because of their primitive social systems or paranoid border checks, but their commitment to freedom. Is that enough? I really do think so.

I live in a state with very strong social security without too paranoid immigration laws, but I still would try to get a job in the US if I had no attachments or commitments.

I also do believe it is far easier to integrate in American society and be accepted than anywhere in Europe.

I'd agree if this were most other countries - but the man was British. The freedoms we get here, disregarding gun and drug law, are the same in my eyes. The only reasons I'd be able to think of moving there would be if I was keen on a big city life that doesn't == London, if I was looking to work for a FAANG company, or as in the case of the article, for a girlfriend.

I feel much more free travelling and living in many other countries besides the US. Everyone seemed on a knifes edge while I was there. Don't get me wrong I loved it - everyone was wonderfully friendly and incredibly welcoming to guests - but there seemed to be this underlying unease and I was forever being told not to do this-or-that-or-else. I suppose I've always thought it was a bit ironic that the 'land of the free' has the highest incarceration rate per capita in the world.

Personally, my envy is directed at those in the Nordic and Oceanic countries. They seem to have it pretty good over there.

EDIT: Just checking out some freedom index scores just to see whether my experience differs then that of the mean, but it seems to be about what I expected. The Freedom House report definitely covered it very well I think. Reference material below.

[0]https://freedomhouse.org/report/freedom-world/2019/united-st... [1]https://freedomhouse.org/report/countries-world-freedom-2019... [2]https://www.heritage.org/index/ranking [3]https://www.fraserinstitute.org/studies/human-freedom-index-... [4]https://rsf.org/en/ranking_table

In your country, a guy got in trouble with the law for making a comedy video with a little dog saluting Hitler. You literally can't take a joke.

Reporting on court proceedings can get you arrested. Rude comments made on the internet, not even involving actionable threats, can get you arrested.

Orwell was British, but "Freedom is slavery" was supposed to be fiction. It was not written as an instruction manual.

You've also gone past guns, now starting to confiscate dull butter knives. More importantly, it's not the nature of the weapon, but the right to use it. You are generally not permitted to defend yourself. This does vary in the USA, with places like Maryland being rather British, but in large areas here we are permitted to fight back.

Your examples are at least semi-valid except for this one:

> Reporting on court proceedings can get you arrested.

I assume you're referring to the case of Stephen Yaxley-Lennon. He was charged with contempt of court for violating a blanket ban on broadcasting of the proceedings of a specific trial. The ban was imposed by the judge as it was "necessary for avoiding a substantial risk of prejudice to the administration of justice in these proceedings".

Does your adherence to freedom trump the right to have a fair trial?

> Reporting on court proceedings can get you arrested.

No, interfering with trials will get you arrested.

> a guy got in trouble with the law for making a comedy video with a little dog saluting Hitler.

It wasn't the Nazi salutes that caused the trouble, it was broadcasting the repeated use of the phrase "gas the jews".

He tried to use the "it was just a prank bro" defence in court, and they rejected it because i) to show it to his girlfriend he didn't need to put it on youtube, ii) there's no evidence she even saw it and iii) "gas the Jews" isn't funny.

Also, you can own a gun legally in the UK.

The point is that the US has more freedom. His "it was just a prank bro" defense wouldn't even be needed. Because the US has freedom, people can make videos like that all they want. It doesn't matter if there is a girlfriend to show. It doesn't matter if you happen to think "gas the Jews" is or isn't funny.

Well, you'd best never have a thought that offends anybody ever in your rapidly-changing culture. Someday that could be you going to prison for your 2019-era wrongthink.

He got fined for it. He was stupid - in my eyes, the judgement was stupid too I agree - but that's it. Equating this to some Orwellian novel though confuses me though. That's some Fox News/Daily Mail level of pulling at straws. We're not living in the 1400s where speaking bad of the king could get you locked up or beheaded, or the early 1900s where that kind of joking was not only allowed but encouraged. It's not quite true classical liberalism, but it's also nowhere near Oceania Thought Police. It's certainly much closer to the former than the later.

What I'm struggling to understand is why we're trying to compare fining a person for a joke, versus the systematic imprisonment of four times as many people per capita as that in the UK, and exponentially more if you compare the US to the rest of Europe[1]. 46% of the population is in for non-violent crime. Hell, according to cut50, just under 1 in 100 Americans are behind bars, up 500% in 30 years. [2] More flag waving and anthem chanting doesn't change that, as much as that may upset the patriotic sensibilities of so many.

[1]https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_incarcera... [2] https://www.cut50.org/

Maybe they belong in prison. Crazy alternatives we could try:

a. We let them out, and this is fine because they are good people. LOL.

b. We let criminals run amok, pillaging our villages as they please.

c. We shoot them, then make their family pay for the cost of the bullet.

d. We send them to a prison colony like Australia.

e. We import better people. Maybe we could raid Japan or Iceland to get nicer people.

What I do know is that they aren't in prison just for being rude on Twitter.

The other commenters covered the first point. With regards to your 'reporting on court proceedings' comment, you could only be talking about Stephen Yaxley-Lennon (also known as Tommy Robinson to make himself more palatable to a certain demographic), as he's the only notorious one in recent memory that has been charge with this.

This law is fantastic in my eyes. Contempt of court laws are designed to protect the rule of law, ensure fair trials - and avoid trial by media.

Contempt can be committed by a broad range of people and organisations including the press, jurors, and - as we have learned in recent years - social media users.

He was asked multiple times to stop recording, over the course of the day. He even went as far as filming all the way to the court room. Don't get me wrong, the defendants were scum in this case, but that's for a court to decide. It sets an awful precedent if court trials start to become media frenzies like that of the US. Yaxley-Lennon is a bigot and if they didn't charge him on this law I'm sure he'd get arrested for assaulting someone soon enough, like he'd already done 12 months in prison for previously.

You're coming in very righteous, so here's something I find quite entertaining - "Reporter Zachary Siegel held in contempt of court and arrested after recording trial" Oct 2018 - https://pressfreedomtracker.us/all-incidents/reporter-zachar...

I might suggest that condemning British freedom of press looks questionable from a resident of a country that has a precarious situation at the moment with their press: https://pressfreedomtracker.us/arrest-criminal-charge/

With regards to your final comment, I agree that confiscating knives is extreme. But frankly, our gun laws have been excellent at stopping gun crime and mass shootings - the issue is that the government has extrapolated this to the nth degree and wants to do this for knives now too. It's a symptom of poverty in primarily the city residential areas, and the government wants to appear to be doing something about it. I don't agree it's the best way, but it's a way. It's selectively enforced, and getting charge will result in maybe some community service or a fine - a stint in prison for repeat offenders or those already with numerous misdemeanours; it's certainly no modern dystopia where people are getting gunned down in the street with their hands above their heads or getting beaten to death while pinned to the ground.

It was OK for Zachary Siegel to get video of the trial, and OK for him to report on the trial. There was in fact video being made available to him, via the media pool. His violation was of a decorum order -- essentially, being rude and making a scene. We don't generally prohibit reporting on a trial. Judges sometimes don't wish to perform on video, so that can be blocked, but reporting from outside the courtroom is always OK.

As I understand it, your situation is more like a general-purpose gag order on the entire trial. Part of ensuring fair trials is making them public. In secrecy, all sorts of bad things happen. Public trials are very much on purpose. Secret trials bring to mind the USSR, North Korea, and similar.

We don't have people getting gunned down in the street with their hands above their heads either. I think you refer to the August 9, 2014 shooting of Michael Brown. Evidence shows he was doing nothing of the sort. Instead, he was trying to grab the cop's gun. His fingerprints were inside the vehicle and evidence from his body shows that the gun was fired from very short range. Yeah, we do have criminals, I admit that, and it sucks.

You can also get a fucked up government and crazy and unreasonable immigration policies in the UK. There's no reason you'd have to move to the US to get those.

People who have lived in the UK for decades are suddenly getting kicked out or are being denied access to the country they live. Bizarre xenophobia, both from the government and from people, has been dramatically on the rise since the Brexit referendum.

Big market. 300 million people. Plus I'm here and I'd like to think I'm a pretty big deal.

Rather than attack the US as a whole, why not just attack the inane policies. We don't all support everything that goes on here. It's not as if elsewhere in the world there are no places with no problems.

Unmatched opportunities for science, entrepreneurship, education, and technology. Population that's more welcoming to immigrants than any other place in the world by far. Outdoors. Cleaner air and water. Cheap prices. Diversity. Optimistic, friendly, and humble people.

As someone who, like you, was born in Europe, I feel like half of those points are open for debate and the other half are nonsensical. Are you saying that the nation that is the home of the Flint water crisis and has a weaker Environmental Protection Agency than ever is something you move to in order to get "cleaner air and water"?

What do you mean when you say "diversity"? Have you been to the mid west? There are "un-diverse" and "diverse" areas of almost every country. People in the US are "optimistic"? "Friendly" and "humble"? The claim that Americans are "humble" when compared internationally is almost laughable (probably even by most americans), and I doubt that "friendliness" is really something you see drastic differences in around the globe. For the the last one there's no need to ask your gut because there are studies made regarding in what countries people feel the most optimistic about the future. As a matter of fact, most of them have pointed out China as the most optimistic country, which may make sense in a perspective of economical relative growth, but it doesn't on its own make me want to buy an apartment in Shanghai.

> I doubt that "friendliness" is really something you see drastic differences in around the globe

So, you have never been to Eastern Europe or CIS countries.

Does your definition or "friendliness" assume that you speak the local language? Because if the answer is yes, I have no doubt you can find equally friendly (and rude) people in Eastern Europe as you can in Beijing, London, Cairo or New York. You may have a different opinion but I believe that there is a basic level of humanity anywhere in the world, and that this level often has an inverse correlation with material wealth.[1] That being said, if you can't use mutually intelligible words for things, people tend to become a bit reserved. That's something that's true everywhere in the world.

If you assume an English speaker traveling around, I would argue it's not a fair comparison to equate the friendliness of a stranger in Russia with the friendliness of a stranger in the United States, for example -- not only because of pure language reasons, but also for simple reasons of historical, educational, and cultural context. Not that finding a rude American is hard, mind you. I'm speaking from experience as an ESL speaker who has been there several times :-)

(But, to answer your question, no, I have unfortunately not been to EE/CIS -- but I have been to China, which I think is a strong contender.)

[1]: https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/wealth/save/why-poor-pe...

I was born and live in Eastern Europe. I have also lived in Israel for a few years, and have visited other countries for significant period of time.

People here are much less trusting and are much more aggressive to others. It is actually LESS visible if you're a foreigner, because people are also concerned with self-image, and don't really perceive you as a threat or a contender for anything.

As an American who doesn't speak Russian, you'll get a much better treatment from stranger on a street than another Russian would.

> I believe that there is a basic level of humanity anywhere in the world, and that this level often has an inverse correlation with material wealth.

Every possible crime statistics contradicts this. Poor countries in general view violence as something more normalised than advanced ones.

I know someone that spent several weeks walking and hitch-hiking around Georgia. Everywhere he went, the locals welcomed him in, gave him a place to stay and invited him to dinners full of local food, local wine and raucous toasting. His single bad experience was in a hostel with another foreigner who turned out to be a racist arsehole.

As I answered to another reply, you would also get a much better reception as a foreigner than as a local. Especially if you're tourist with money. Not because they make a cynical decision to appear hospitable, they're sincere in their sympathy to you: you're not a threat or a competitor to them, unlike another local.

Fine, but this whole thread is about why someone would move from the UK to the US.

In the zoomed out view shown by default the air quality is visualized as almost identical in Europe and the U.S. so I'm not sure what you're trying to say. I'd also encourage you to think about the correlation between air quality and population density -- compare the Scandinavian countries for example with the large swaths of land in the U.S. that have excellent air quality: they likely have one thing in common which is the amount of people that actually live there.

It is entirely unclear to me what that map represents. Is air pollution the worst in the Sahara, where practically nobody lives?

When you say unmatched that implies that nowhere else in the world can give opportunities in those fields that are equal, and that is plain wrong, in fact the USA is slipping from being the top in those. When you say population that's more welcoming to migrants, as someone from Africa, my own and those I know, our perception of the USA has changed so much that many people I know would not even consider moving there due to your current attitudes towards Muslim, Latin American and African migrants. When you say outdoors with cleaner air and water, I hear of your fracking, of Flint, of mass open cast mines across your country, of your president leaving the Paris climate agreement. When you say cheap prices, I've been all over the Third World and the USA is not cheap at all. When you say optimistic, friendly and humble, most of what I know of the USA's international actions is warmongering arrogance, of your far-right movements, of mass shootings and crazy abortion laws. I have many lovely American friends but they are not representative of the country that pushes a gun-friendly, war positive, women controlling message. That's why I wouldn't move to the US as it currently stands.

I'm European. I've travelled a lot for work though.

I'm not disputing your heritage or what you do, I'm disputing the content of your comment. You can challenge any points I made but that is a Third World perception of the USA.

I dunno if you have been to Europe but we have plenty of all that outdoors, clean air and water. From my location, it's less than 3 hours to the alps if you need even cleaner air and water with triple the outdoors.

And lots of diversity there too, almost any place has somewhere around 2000 to 1500 years of history on the books, you can walk from your current location to another place with wildly different customs and traditions within an hour.

You can say similar things about other parts of the world as well, not just Europe and the US too.

Don't underestimate the rest of the world.

Interestingly, 'villages of people with wildly different customs and traditions going back 1500-2000 years' is basically the opposite of what's meant by 'diversity' today, which is a high population of newly arrived immigrants.

The former exists precisely because people historically didn't mingle much.

The diversity of the US is largely imported, througout it's history starting from the first colonists, the US didn't have that much time to create it's own, cultural diversity to the extend that europe has yet.

I don't think most people would qualify diversity as "lots of newly arrived immigrants", even those who champion diversity, they'll likely get closer to "people from lots of different life experiences".

I think the term is generally used to refer to a melting pot of cultures as opposed to a bunch of adjacent monocultures.

I'm not passing judgement on either.

Europe isn't really a monoculture or a set of monocultures either. Over it's entire history, cultures have mixed and seperated all the time. I don't think the "melting pot of cultures" is any different here than in the US other than the US has less history with it.

It's different because in Europe you have people whose ancestors have lived in the same village for hundreds or thousands of years. They walk the land where their language was invented.

Maybe their ancestors aren't really as pure as they think, but it's still fundamentally different from a country where everyone is an immigrant within the last few generations.

People didn't really stay in the same village all the time, there is plenty of mixing going on in history. Languages have moved as well, the german-french border can write you a long essay about that.

Considering the current political climate in the US, the difference isn't that large...

It's a different kind of diversity. But Europe has plenty of ethnic diversity too. If you were to believe American right-wing pundits (you shouldn't) we're being overrun by Muslim immigrants here. That's an exaggeration of course, but there are many European countries with significant numbers of immigrants and expats from all over the world. Amsterdam, not New York, is the city hosting the largest number of nationalities in the world.

I'm born and raised in Europe.

If you were, which I doubt, I would assume you didn't move around much or went to vacations in and around Europe. I would recommend doing that at some point, it's lovely.

This article suggests that its not "more welcoming to immigrants than any other place in the world by far" if a single private IM can get a guy banned for life.

Still a great place to visit, but I'll take a burner phone next time. Maybe a Huawei device :)

They are not wrong. I am Russian living in Europe, occasionally visiting the US.

Here in Switzerland, and to a lesser extent in the rest of the western Europe, I will always feel like an immigrant. It is cultural, there is always a divide of those who lived here before and those two came after. Perhaps only my children or their children will be able to fully integrate here.

In the US it is different. There are a lot of hurdles to overcome to get there, including very insensitive TSA employees who have arbitrary powers over you, but when I come out of the airport building — I am an American. A Russian American, yes, but still there are nearly no differences in the attitude compared to everybody else. People are friendly and helpful, no matter if I speak with some strange accent or don’t look like a local. This is amazing, it is something that Americans take for granted, but it is a very big deal.

It's probably not possible to have both these things together in the long term:

* A strong distinctive local culture.

* Treating immigrants just like locals.

Immigrants aren't going to learn the local dialect of Schwyzerdütsch unless you give them some kind of incentive, are they?

The way I see it based on atemerev's comment, the American treatment of immigrants is part of their strong local culture.

A phone without data is just as likely to raise suspicion. It's come up before.

You must be joking or have never left the US for more than a few days.

I was born and lived most of my life in Europe.

Actually no European would say that, it would be (for example) "I was born in France and lived there, but also in Germany and Portugal".

sarcastic comments should have ~s after them. yours must be sarcastic as everything you have listed is fiction.

-Says CareerAddict, “The average scientist in Switzerland receives an annual salary of roughly $95,000 (in Euros, of course), making Switzerland the country with the highest salary for scientists in the world. The best scientists can earn over $100,000 per year, though that is primarily in the private sector.”

-An Investopedia article uses a World Bank report to rank Singapore as the top country for entrepreneurs (source: Best And Worst Countries For Entrepreneurs | Investopedia).

-The UK has scooped the first spot in The 2019 Best Countries for Education, maintaining its rank from last year, according to a study by US News & World Report.

-Japanese researchers have won many Nobel Prizes. Japan’s particularity lay down in the fact that they achieved results in every fields : from bio-technology to robotics.

-The claim that the USA is the best for immigrants is hard to disprove in terms of study's. but, sociopolitical it is quite clear The USA isn't as welcoming as seen. cough trump cough

-"outdoors" another almost impossible metric to prove/disprove, but i know for a fact that NZ (New Zealand) is held as the best place for adventurous activities.

-Finland sits at the top of the list with a 90.68 EPI score.(EPI = Environmental performance index.) https://improb.com/top-cleanest-countries-in-the-world/

-do you know about the flint water crisis? Switzerland has the cleanest water levels in the water, to the point that many places don't even treat their water with chemicals.

-cost of living is what i'll use to debunk the claim that america is "cheap" most expensive is Switzerland at COI= 121.16, USA is 20th at 69.91. below the USA at 99 countries, including at 24th the United Kingdom at 65.28, at 48 is Fiji with 50.93 and plenty more. https://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/rankings_by_country.js...

-Papua New Guinea is the most diverse, There are thousands of ethnic groups in the country, each with their own languages and customs.

-supposedly china is the most optimistic, "The survey found that 94% of Chinese youth – defined in most cases as those aged 12-15 – were optimistic about their own country’s future, compared with 64% of their American counterparts. "

-Portugal is the most friendly "Friendly attitude towards expats: 94%, Ease of making local friends: 58%, Expats likely to stay forever: 47%" https://www.forbes.com/sites/jennysouthan/2018/03/21/the-wor...

-i couldn't find any stats or studies about humble, but if you have to boast about how humble you are, you probably aren't.


Now let's talk about some things America is the leader the way in:

-the US, Lesotho, Swaziland and new guinea are the only countries in the world that doesn't have paid mandate leave for mothers of newborns.

-also the only country to not require companies to have paid vacation.

-there is also no guarantee workers will get paid Sick days.

-The US's education budget is the largest, but the results are shocking poor.

-the US exports the most weapons in the world.

-have the highest incarcerate % in the world.

-highest healthcare costs, by a staggering amount.

-babies death rate is the highest than any other industrialised country.

-the wage gap between the "uber" rich and poorest is the biggest in the world.

no hate, just don't enjoy the spread of false information.

Money? Low taxes? Richest country in the world?

Bother with what? Living there?

Travelling there or thinking of moving there (if you have the possibility to obtain a work visa/green card/etc).

Well if it’s moving there for work, the upsides are significant for certain fields. Software folks are paid like peasants in London compared to SV.

What does the US give you that the UK doesn't? First and second amendment protections. Perhaps those are not an advantage in your book?

We're allowed to do most things in the UK except communicate privately or talk about David Furnish.

Apart from the right to bear arms, what is different? Many people even see that as a benefit to the UK.

You can "bear arms" here in the UK if you like. Just go down to the Post Office and buy a license. I'm not even joking - I live in a rural area and know multiple people with shotgun licenses. You'll be subjected to a criminal background check of course.

You cannot carry it in the public, and you are generally not allowed to use deadly force. Hand guns are not allowed for private ownership and there are about 20-30 gun related deaths yearly in the UK. In US numbers that would be equivalent to 120-180. The US number is around 40,000. Let that sink in for a while.

The problem with guns are virtually none existing in the UK.

That is only so you can shoot targets and vermin. You are not permitted to kill a person who intrudes into your home.

Also, what about a pistol, carried on your person as you go about your day? Here in the US it is generally possible to do that. (variation by state: concealed carry may need a license, open carry may need a license, some states prohibit using it unless you can't retreat, etc.)

The UK does not have freedom of speech; you can be prosecuted for verbally "causing annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety to another". In 2016, over 1500 people in the UK were fined or even jailed under this heinous law.

In the US, the 1st Amendment expressly prohibits this kind of authoritarianism.

1st amendment does not allow you do say whatever you feel like. Explicitly the following is not protected


But regardless, you've conveniently only quoted part of that law text. It's only about electronic communication https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2003/21/section/127

and for context the relevant parts read:

With 1a saying

   A person is guilty of an offence if he sends by means of a public
   electronic communications network a message or other matter that is
   grossly offensive or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character
and 2a saying

   A person is guilty of an offence if, for the purpose of causing
   annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety to another, he sends by
   means of a public electronic communications network, a message that he
   knows to be false
In other words, you're not allowed to lie for the sole purpose of "causing annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety to another" and you're not allowed to send messages that are "grossly offensive or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character". 1a is not allowed under 1st amendment, and we can argue about how the latter is allowed by the 1st amendment, but some of it surely isn't as obscenity, incitement, and fighting words and offensive speech are explicitly not allowed.

First amendment - yes, in most cases. Second amendment? Hell no.

UK has freedom of speech, as defined in ECHR. That right isn't total, it's balanced with other people's right to life and protection from genocide.


Let me make a list:

- Better TV.

- Much Better Food.

- Higher paying jobs.

- Bigger cars, bigger roads.

- Second Amendment.

- First Amendment.

- Lower Taxes (income and sales).

- Ability to not talk to the Police and not have that used against you.

- More likely to succeed if you start a business. Shark Tank > Dragons Den UK.

- More likely to get funding if you decide to get an Angel / VC and higher amounts with lower equity.

- More likely to have FFF rounds fund 6 figure seed for startup. Everyone I know in the UK is skint because of zero hours and high taxes and no savings.

- 325m vs 66m in population. Therefore a much higher population to sell a product to locally and regionally. Not the same in the UK. Small business more prevalent in the US also, easier time to sell B2B.

I've spent probably close to 4 years now in the US. Lived and worked in many states. The US outclasses the UK by many margins.

Here's one for you. I'm living in the UK now, it's actually detrimental to bootstrapping a business. Tell me, what does the UK give you that the US doesn't.

Oh that's right, healthcare is the biggest one. Yeah, I'll give you that one. Nothing else though!

I live in London, have visited the US and have friends that live there. Almost all of these are wrong or simply things I don't value. The only one I don't dispute is the likelihood of success in business. To be fair I'd rather take the healthcare (and slightly more sane political environment).

- Better TV. Who watches normal TV as opposed to Netflix?

- Much Better Food. Dispute this. US food standards are demonstrably lower than in the EU. You might be able to get bigger portions and a larger variety of junk food but so what.

- Higher paying jobs. In SF maybe, but the cost of living is correspondingly much higher.

- Bigger cars, bigger roads. Why do you need this if you can comfortably get places via modern public transport?

- Second Amendment. Unnecessary in a country where no one has guns

- First Amendment. We have comparable laws

- Lower Taxes (income and sales). I'd rather pay taxes to get healthcare free at point of service and a safety net for people who lose their jobs

- Ability to not talk to the Police and not have that used against you. We have comparable laws

I've lived in London for 10 years too. Visiting the US does not mean living in it...

- Netflix, in the UK due to licensing is a poorer subset of content.

- There are much better choices of food options available in the US compared to the UK.

- No, literally everywhere. I know many developers [around the US] who know either just PHP or Node and have $100k positions. Try living outside of London, you'd be lucky just to earn £30k.

- Outside of London a car is a necessity, the Tube does not exist outside of London. Not everyone wants to live where anyway. Try seeing the other parts of the UK for instance. You'll be shocked just how bad the public transport is.

- [Second Amendment] Nope, but how many stabbings have there been so far this year? Oh and gun crime is on the rise. Oh wait we don't have guns. Yeah I forgot.

- [First Amendment] We don't have comparable laws. Just how many times have Police interviewed people at their home for posting things on Twitter that [other] people found offensive. Even though they weren't.

- The safety net for a single man in the UK is a pittance. We don't all have mortgages and kids. Having a poor and highly taxed society means less opportunity for everyone.

- We don't have comparable laws when taking to the Police.

Happy you replied though. Much better than the downvotes for those in the UK and won't be able to understand how life is different elsewhere.

> but how many stabbings have there been so far this year?

In the latest figures, there were 726 murders between March 2017 and 2018 in the UK[1] for 66M people (1 in 91k).

In the US, 2017, there were just over 17000 murders[2] for 325M people (1 in 19k).

Stabbings and gun crime in the UK is going to have to go up a hecking long way before we get anywhere close to the US.

[1] https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/crimeand... [2] https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s/2017/crime-in-the-u.s.-...

I'll grant you that I'm comparing living in London to living in the US generally, which is a little unfair. I've also lived in Nottingham (also great public transport) and Cambridge (pretty poor public transport) and have managed most of the time without needing to drive. My point is more that "bigger cars" is not inherently a valuable prospect compared to "good public transport". After a few online searches the average PHP salary in London is supposedly £55-60k, which is comparable to the supposed $70-80k average for the US. As another commenter mentioned, weapon-based murders are far lower in the UK than the US. I grant you we don't have legislation to protect hate speech, but we do have the right to silence when being questioned by police: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Right_to_silence_in_England_an... .

The appropriate comparison to London is Manhattan, or at least New York City.

This list is so ridiculous that I can't bring myself to do a point-by-point rebuttal.

This is one side of the story. There's likely more than just this text message that raised suspicion.

But the law is quite clear that anyone applying for admission to the US is presumed to be an intending immigrant and the burden is on them to prove they will leave before their duration of status expires. Literally millions of people per year are denied visitor visas because they can't meet that burden of proof. Not sure why this is particularly newsworthy.

He wasn't denied a visitor visa, he's been banned for life and that can't be overturned. Quite different. He also has a girlfriend in the US, so that's over for him. That's life changing.

BTW, he doesn't exactly need a visa, he was on an ESTA.

ESTA doesn't waive the requirement to prove non-immigrant intent when applying for admission.

If he really was banned for life there's more to the story than his inability to prove non-immigrant intent (e.g. fraud, criminal history, etc.). Even people present in the US illegally for extended periods of time are not banned for life.

Lying about anything at all to an immigration official is enough to grant you a lifetime ban to the US. I guess they took his message as lying about intent of visit in his application which they could label as "fraud".

Edit: Added source. All that is needed is that they believe you lied to a U.S. government official and they can ban you for life.

It can basically be considered fraud if this is true:

> When making the false representation, the person intended to deceive a U.S. government official authorized to act upon the request (generally an immigration or consular officer).

And this is the consequence:

> The person will be barred from admission for the rest of his or her life unless the person qualifies for and is granted a waiver.


> prove they will leave before their duration of status expires

How can you prove something that didn't happen yet? Best you can do is provide clues and circumstancial evidence but no proof.

It's good that they were being so vigilant! Let's not forget that USA has so much trouble with UK citizens overstaying their visas. /s

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