Laura Poitras for example is routinely questioned for hours on entering or leaving the US, just because she made a film about Iraq. She is no danger to the US, she is not a terrorist or associated with them any more than another journalist, and yet she is harassed for her views, even before she interviewed Snowden. I believe Jacob Appelbaum is another example.
She's quite high profile, but I personally know of at least one other case of someone being detained every time they crossed the border - an ordinary apolitical person living in the US, stopped every time for hours simply because of where they were born or their name, they were never sure which. It was so frequent that they gave up living/working there.
There is a distinction here to make though; I don't think it is inherently wrong to refuse entry to the U.S./question any person who is not an American. It is not clear why that should be the case ever. (I say this as a person who found the visa system to enter the U.S. profoundly annoying.)
On the other hand, refusal of entry to American citizens is a whole different issue.
I never said that; just because I don't think a system is wrong doesn't mean that I think it is right. I am saying that the system is broken. It however is a complicated system; I don't see any possible way of making it magically better.
I am pretty clear that the U.S. can decide however it wants to to allow entry to its soil. For example, the visa process when I traveled was atrocious; yet for most Europeans under a visa waiver program, it becomes easy. It is easy to claim discrimination or complain; however, I am not a voter, there is no lobby out there complaining about why the visa process for non-Europeans is so awful.
Also, the U.S. is not special in this process. A white American traveling to Europe faces way less hassle than someone else who doesn't have the right ethnicity or the right passport does.
Most of you are becoming aware of the process when people you can relate to are being affected; my point is that this has been happening for decades with no domestic opposition to the process.
AFAIK Jake Appelbaum is a US citizen.
They can't actually refuse entry to citizens, but they sure as hell can interrogate/threaten/harass/etc. I know Jake's been harassed a bunch of times at the border (and had his laptops/phones/etc stolen under the guise of searching them - they get to keep them for 48 hours to forensically image but then never give them back).
It's happened to me, too, and I'm not even on any of these lists, I just choose not to answer any of the voluntary questions they ask of everyone coming in. Anyone who values their freedom and has watched the excellent Don't Talk To The Police video will do the same, and will meet with similar harassment and abuse.
Cops in the USA are real dicks, especially the super-"patriotic" border cops, and they can and will make your day really terrible if you don't do exactly as they say (even if you have the legal right not to).