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Pinay traumatized by horror trip to US (abs-cbnnews.com)
276 points by coolsank on Oct 9, 2013 | hide | past | web | favorite | 170 comments

Stories like this seem to get worse as the years go by post 9/11.

If I could give one piece of advice to foreigners for the next 20 or 30 years as it relates to America: stay out, we are not free here, the walls - both digital and physical - are going up to control us. The police state is becoming more aggressive, violent, and omnipresent. Save yourselves, pursue freedom and happiness, you won't find such here any longer. There are better countries for that future.

I think this should be etched into the Statue of Liberty as a warning. Since it doesn't represent a beacon of liberty any longer, it might as well serve a purpose.

What I remember from my visit to NYC in 2008 is that all tourist attractions had one police check point (metallic / bomb detectors) and the statue of liberty had it two times.

I found it quite ironic.

Edit: Another funny experience was me being stopped by security guards when I tried to take a picture of the Federal Reserve building when standing in front of it, only to be handed a brochure with on the cover a picture of pretty much the same angle.

Wonder what they'll do once (if) Google Glass get widespread adoption. "Sorry m'am, you just can't walk down this road. And that road. And that road. In fact, please follow the Tourist Path from A to B without straying, or we'll put you in jail and then deport you. Enjoy your stay!"

I remember walking past the US Embassy in Geneva, there is one location, clearly marked in front of the building from where you are allowed to take a picture. I didn't bother...

The US Embassy in Ottawa, Canada, looks like a fortress downtown. Adjacent to the building, one lane of a busy street has been closed by concrete barriers for years.


I agree with your analysis. If one is so keen to visit America - welcome to Canada! :) Optionally, wait until Stephen Harper is ousted :)

Also, a little reminder. It is the American citizenry that made the US "a beacon of liberty" in the first place. And I believe it can do it again. Do you say it will take 20-30 years to happen?

Canadian immigration controls can be just as bad, though you may get water. Like someone said above, it's all about people having power over others with zero accountability.

canadian CBP are a bag of cunts, as i can confirm myself.

sorry, but fuck canada. if you don't let me through your border, your country is unbelievably fucked.

maybe dismissing parliament one more time will help mr harper.

The difference now, perhaps, is that there is no longer a frontier left. 300 years ago, the people who wanted change and freedom from oppressive governments could sail away over the horizon and set up their own county in a new land. (That's not to deny there were limits to that: You needed to afford a ship, and to gather a large enough mass of people to actually build a successful settlement in the new world, and not to mention the ethical implications of the effects on the natives. All these were real issues, but despite them many people made their way to a new life in the new world, with perhaps a bit more "liberty and justice for all" than there was before.)

Thanks, I guess. Would have loved visiting other places there but it looks like it might be safer to avoid them for now.

Outrageous. Really, it is - as an American, I'm ashamed to read stuff like this.

However: does it really belong on HN? It's not germane to the stated topics of the site. And it is not "gratifying one's intellectual curiosity" - quite the opposite, it's a story that makes you mad without really telling you anything you didn't know already.

Well, it's an extreme form of what many of us go through on a regular basis when trying to travel to the US, hence I'd say it's relevant. By allowing these people to reign freely, the US is sabotaging itself in the long run, but in the short run it's just incredibly annoying, threatening, and expensive.

I'm also in favor of keeping these stories coming, this should not ever be seen as normal or inevitable.

> I'm also in favor of keeping these stories coming, this should not ever be seen as normal or inevitable.

Perhaps people could post them elsewhere. This site does not need to be the be-all and end-all of one's online news consumption, you know?

I don't disagree. It's just that I can see why it's relevant with people who by necessity of their jobs travel a lot. All in all there are unworthier subject matters on HN.

I don't think the site should be flooded with these types of stories but there are also few places on the web to get intelligent conversation on such topics.

Do you think that the discussion for this article is interesting and intelligent?

The top voted comment at the moment ends with "Fuck the Police", so it's about at the hn par for this topic.


But in the spirit of hackers what's America without attracting the best and brightest of the world? Eventually it will eat away at the talent pool that feeds silicone valley.

These border issues affect America as a business environment which is highly relevant to the startup scene (check the stats on how many startups are founded by immigrants, not to mention the effect on the large number of migrant tech workers).

Civil rights also tend to find a captive audience among hackers, I guess because it is (lately more so than ever) tied into freedom of speech and by extension, freedom of information.

America sucks as a business environment:

* Crappy immigration. I can get around the EU (Schengen) and across borders without breaking stride. In the US, it's 3 hours minimum, and that's assuming you get in.

* Crappy legislation and tax. Your tax codes suck. Starting a business sucks. In the UK, fill in a single bit of paper, and pay your corporation tax when it's due. Flat percentage of income, two rates, one for most businesses, one for huge businesses. Don't get me started on the strength of behemoth corporate interests lobbies.

* Crappy businesses. The American way seems to be to hold a gun to your "partners'" heads, and use lawyers to enact your will. In Europe, people actually tend to trust one another.

* Crappy security. By this I mean not "THERE SHOULD BE MORE POLICE", but rather "I don't know if I can run a business in the US without the state meddling, and/or simply taking it away from me, and/or the state collapsing leaving mayhem both for a business and for anyone stuck out there when the brown stuff hits the whirly thing.".

I just don't understand why anyone would want to either start a business in the US, or do business with the US. We used to, but pulled out, as the EU is a plenty big enough market, and far more... humane.

Come to Europe, it's nice here, and there are paid holidays.... and a government.

> I just don't understand why anyone would want to either start a business in the US, or do business with the US.

Here are some companies you could ask:

Apple, IBM, Microsoft, Google, HP, Facebook, Cisco.

Here are some others:


It could well be - I would even suspect it myself - that the US is an imperfect country. And yet it seems to have a few companies who are able to do business there notwithstanding the harsh conditions.

Europeans are always upset that the first country to market with new products is the US, but if they spent even half the time they spend complaining about America to actually build something useful they would be much better off.

Ah, American exceptionalism. You're right. Everything but the US is some kind of barren desert which only exists in cartoons.

Have you ever left your home city? State?

This comment from another site is appropriate:

>The deep rooted anti-American theme of the EU does not take long to emerge. This undertone is rarely flaunted, but is intuitively detected. Few seem to understand that it is one of the bases of the United Kingdom’s deep unease with the EU, because UK people simply do not understand or share that objective.

The UK's "unease" is artificial, constructed by nationalistic media. It certainly has nothing to do with the EU's stance towards the US. Had it, there would be no euroscepticism. The US is deeply unpopular, even in the UK.

But American exceptionalism is a real thing. Well atleast today I don't think it stands for "Well, America is awesome" but more on the lines of "Where in the world will I find 300 million people having roughly similar culture, and for whom I don't need to translate my product into a dozen languages (bonus if it's English since we program by default in English), and who're more probably willing to spend money."

Bam, America. I'm not supporting anything, but looking at it from a business point of view this is pretty tempting.

China and/or Russia.

For English, Western Europe.

It could be that those are the exact corporations of which I speak who control the legislature, thus creating a better environment for themselves at the expense of others.

Stick your head out of your shell, and you'll realise there's a world out there, beyond America. I know it's hard to believe, but it does exist.

> Stick your head out of your shell, and you'll realise there's a world out there, beyond America. I know it's hard to believe, but it does exist.

Actually, I live in Italy, where some of your "in Europe" lines do not hold true at all.

Fair enough - and agreed. Berlusconi has done an admirable job of adopting American political mores, in terms of bribery, "special interests", and all the rest. It's going to take years for his chaos to be unwrought.

Frankly, things aren't that much better in the UK, but I stand by the fact that it's a damned sight more straightforward to operate a business here than in the US. I have done both, and have lived in UK, US, HK, ZH, DE, FR, BE, SA, so have a fairly broad (but of course still limited) gamut of experience.

Sure it does. You know, technology can be used to solve more problems than just sharing cat photos with your friends. I do believe this is a problem technology could solve.

To me it lands squarely on HN.

I asked yesterday on Reddit to what country a programmer should move, but wrote that I don't want US because the TSA

The article reports, "It was her 13th time to visit the US in a span of more than two and a half decades."

All that is reported here sounds like an aberration, an officer who mistook the situation and abused his authority. For context, the United States continues to be second only to France as a destination for international tourist visits,


and just last week my wife and I enjoyed a meet-up in another part of the United States with several of her high school classmates from back when she lived in Taiwan, who arrived from Taiwan, Malaysia, and China, all without incident. When peaceful, hassle-free visits number in the millions per year, a few visits that are abuses of the process will certainly make news, but they don't appear to discourage tourism to the United States over the long haul.

> For context, the United States continues to be second only to France as a destination for international tourist visits

France is also a way smaller country than the US. If these numbers are correct and you bundled together the whole Schengen area instead (as it has a common border), it would massively dwarf the US.

Making comparisons like that is largely useless though because there's a thousand other adjustments you could make; visitor vs depth of history, visitors vs density, etc.


I don't think it is useless. It is pretty common to use relative rather than absolute numbers: population density rather than population, GDP per capita rather than just GDP... When it comes to GDP, GDP per capita says more about how affluent a country is compared to other countries than just the GDP. And in the same way that a larger contry tends to have a larger economy, a country that is larger in size and in population is more likely to have more visitors than the same country with less size and less population.

Besides: things like history is likely to be what is often used to explain the large amounts of tourists that coutnries like France gets, in the first place, while the population variable is left hidden.

You would then need to sift out all the international tourist visits that are Schengen-area residents visiting other Schengen area countries. I suspect this would have an enormous impact on Europe's numbers.

Who can tell? The rank of the US for tourism might be high but could be higher. The same applies to France where I am from. It's ok to be complete assholes with tourists, to charge them 3x times the standard rate, to restrain from learning english, because we are ranked #1 anyway.

I'm visiting Paris fairly often and my French (Swiss German school french) can easily be described as rotten. It's serviceable enough to buy a carnet of metro tickets, or to ask directions.

I noticed, however, that it's highly appreciated when I try to speak French with Parisians and I very rarely get snide answers.

I observe this actually in almost every country. Try to speak a few words of the language and you're usually rewarded. (And compared to my Czech, my French is easily on Camus level).

I think one of the issues is that the French are especially touchy when it comes to language and radiating an attitude of "Are those natives actually to dumb to speak proper English" definitely won't win the French over.

Interesting. I had a different experience in Montreal (and my mother when she visited Paris): we would try to say a few words of French, and people would immediately realize we were American and switch to English in response. Maybe your French isn't quite as rotten as you think.

That is exactly the effect described by the GP: People appreciate you trying to speak French and help you out in whatever way they can, in this case by switching to English. The point is for you to give a decent first impression by doing some work and at least attempting to communicate in French rather than expecting them to speak English from the start.

And we don't hear about the flip-side, which is the fact that hundreds of thousands, if not millions, overstay their visitor visas every year. It's not fair to citizens nor is it fair to those going through the legal process of immigration. I work in immigration and was shocked myself at just how prevalent this is. Many work professional jobs without issue, even though they have no authorization to do so, living here for decades on an expired visitor visa. It's a much bigger problem than people crossing the border without inspection.

So not only does USA routinely harass it's visitors, the harassment is not even achieving it's stated aim?

How is it exactly a problem though? By that I mean who precisely is victimized?

He already answered your question when he wrote,

It's not fair to citizens nor is it fair to those going through the legal process of immigration.

Yes, but his point of view is very shortsighted and biased based on the fact he works for the USCIS (I am not blaming him, rather pointing it out).

The immigration in US will not get the main overhaul and despite all the high tech of tracking borders 24/7 via up to second satellite streams, you still can pretty much run through a border and live an average live in the US. And that's because those highly educated within the government body understand that those here working ilegally became a part of economical system long time ago. Some say its a cancer, but try to take away cigarettes from your 80-years old grandmother that smoked her whole life and you will see how her body shuts itself down.

Now, let me show you how this works in very basic terms.

Joonix is living a decent life with his wife and kids. They are happy middle class family, with loan on the house, bills paid on time, car loan, etc. He and his wife makes an average salary but combined they can afford most stuff a family would dream of.

Now, by some magic wand all illegal immigrants are removed from this country. Overnight. He comes back from work on Monday and opens up his mailbox. Bunch of mail, mostly bills, as usual. Uh no! his cable bill just went up by 150%. The letter does not explain why. He calls in and is explained that it turned out that an outsourcer of the outsourcer of another outsourcer they been legally and lawfully using for technical support, fixing modems, supporting infrastructure, hooking up cable boxes etc, was hiring illegals for $5 per hours. Now they had to be replaced by natural-born US citizens that in most cases won't move their finger for less than $9 per hour, because - well you have wellfare and obamacare and all those social programs that are free. And besides those sweat breaking jobs are in some cases just too bad for their reputation or self esteem. So now to justify the pricing (after all, cable companies are not in the charity business, but rather designed to make money), they jacked up his $127/month 200 channels TV bill to $280. Joonix is angry and don't understand. But hey, no worries after all we are living in a competitive market. He calls in another cable company and gets even higher quote -- that second company decided to take advantage of the new law that removed all illegals and jacked up price even more. All night of shopping for new cable left him with no choice than to pay 150% more what he did last month, or shut off his TV forever. He wakes up the next day to go to work. His law is in awful shape -- ugh, the service lawn company went out of business. The new staff they had was too expensive and in some cases new employees did not even care to show up to work. He drives to the gas station. Prices went up 20%. Someone tries to explain him the employment chain that takes place from the moment an oil barrel is sucked out of earth and gets delivered to his local gas station. Lots of illegals involved. Now the price is $8 per gallon. Joonix complains but the gas station owner bashes him that he should be proud -- after all, no illegal hands touched the gas he pumped in his car. He gets to work. His boss has some good news and some bad news. Good news is that all illegals are gone. Bad news is that 97% of the stuff will be let go. After all, no fraud or illegals to fight with. After work he goes to a local shop market. Pricing for most food items went up from 80% to 250%. Most agricultural companies were forced to raise prices aggressively because they could not outsource field work to some other companies that were hiring illegals. He comes home. Air condition unit just died. He calls in -- a man with perfect american accent answers. He can send someone same day to check it out for $180 per hour, no guarantees. The ad he hold in his hand from last month ValvePack says $39.99. Joonix sits down with his wife looking through the bills. Everything went up tremendously. They have no idea how they will afford tomorrow. Perhaps they will have to let the house go? They may be forced to be homeless, but at least they will be homeless in the country where everyone is a US citizen. They fall asleep holding hands, proud to be americans.

You have no clue what you are talking about.

Honest question: what's he wrong about? Sure it's hyperbolic, but I believe the basic premise that illegal labor keeps costs low.

He is dramatically, ridiculously, overstating the labor component as a percentage of costs that then drive the prices up.

Also, cable companies are monopoly in the USA - you can't call up a different cable provider to serve your area, as in his example. Although you can get satellite TV, etc.

That he doesn't know this simple fact, further shows how he does not know anything.

Unfortunately we've hearing way too many of these stories over the past several years to the point where it they no longer sound like "aberrations", but systemic abuses.

Unfortunately they aren't backed by hard data... because CBP/TS/HS aren't wont to publish stats on how many people they've needlessly and humiliated (or worse) at border checkpoints. But taken together with recent trends which we do have hard data for (for example, the ACLU's stats in the phenomenal expansion of detention facilities for immigrants suspected of illegal entry... and the abusive practices that transpire within) suggest that very disturbing trends are taking hold.

All that is reported here sounds like an aberration, ...

I can see why she might have been flagged for closer investigation: someone from the Phillipines with lots of family in the U.S. is probably a high risk of overstaying, but it sounds like the way it was conducted was totally out of line.

If the potential risk of overstaying is ground for immediate deportation, how do they ever accept anyone in...?

If all laws depended on the "potential risk" of being guilty, we might as well not have them and just defer to professionally-trained feudal warriors (pardon, the Police) in all matters.

Frequent travel is a typical reason for border agents to become suspicious. If you don't look rich and white enough, it might mean trouble for you.

Ho hum. Just another day in the War on Dignity.

This sort of thing is the inevitable result of giving people responsibility without accountability.

Things like this really scary me, as a simple startup guy who wants to visit SV some day. I'm reading stories like this more often unfortunately and I'm starting to think if I really want to go to US. Getting a visa in Poland is also not very comfortable process since you've to give all information about your life to US authorities and still I've no guarantee that I'll be able to enter US.

Just be careful about drawing too broad a conclusion from stories like this. They're certainly bad events and the effort should be to make sure they never happen. But they are the only stories about entering the US that get reported on because they're news...and the uneventful instances are not. This is particularly true if you get your news from an aggregation site like HN where there is a certain level of interest in these stories and so they're even more likely to be reported on here.

Millions of people travel to and within the US every year without incident, what gets reported is the admittedly terrible sounding times when that's not the case. Chances are very good that you'd have no problems.

The problem is that these are low probability high impact situation, you want 0 occurrences.

I mean wen we get to the US, we have our flight ticket info sent prior, we have to add more data because it's the US, the ESTA, last time I got harassed in Paris by the American Airline because I need to know the address I'm going to (I told her to check my file, I don't remember it), how long I knew my girlfriend and stuff, the NSA knows everything about me (I'm not an US citizen), the TSA checked me, the border police checked me out of the country. When I arrive in front of the CBP agent, my privacy had already been thoroughly shredded in the name of security, and my personal data including credit card is gone in the wild without any recourse or oversight, there is absolutely no need to physically harass people at the border.

totally agree here. avoiding these pointless high-impact incidents is paramount to PR for the US as a travel destination.

it is a win for both the US and travelers when this process goes smoothly.

I have to say that visiting the US is out of the question to me because of stuff like this.

I appreciate that the the chances of it happening to me are slim, but I'd be worried sick about it, and would find it hard to maintain my composure if it did happen.

(Aside: I'm 10 miles away from the largest NSA base outside the US and the local pubs are full of spooks, so arguably the US has come to me!)

On the flip side, this just happened to my Aussie friend, and you don't hear her story in the news or in a blog. Why not? Because what can we do? Tourists have no rights. There is no accountability. There is no check against abuse of power. Yes, there are dozens of these cases every day. Feel free to generalize.

The thing is, no one writes a story about the time that they exchanged twenty words with the border agent, and then went on their way. Why would they? It's not interesting and it's not news.

The only stories that tend to get written are the extraordinary ones. Unfortunately, it's unlikely that a border official is going to have the opportunity to do something "extraordinary" for someone unless he saves a life with the Heimlich or something like that.

So the "I HAD A HORRIBLE TIME AT THE BORDER!" are the ones that tend to get written up and passed around. No one writes up the hundreds of millions of routine, boring border crossings.

In other words, an example of selection bias (or, media bias[0]). It's important to remember that pretty much every story that is in the news is by definition something that almost never happens - otherwise it wouldn't be "news".

(I find the lack of understanding this concept to be a source of lots of dumb discussions both on-line and off-line)

[0] - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Media_bias

This happens all the time, and it's a disgrace. It's also the reason why I haven't visited the US for more than a decade. The last time I went through this was before 9/11 and I can only assume it has gotten even worse since then.

Meh. I visit America relatively frequently and I can't remember the last time I spent longer than 60 seconds at the US Border Control (excluding the queue which can be a bit long sometimes). And you know, the border control officers were always very polite and professional with me. This is a silly reason to not visit America.

It depends on your port of call. Some places are fine and civilized. Others not so much.

Me too. Never had an unfriendly one yet.

Maybe you are just white enough.

I am a British honky, that is true. But I also don't give them any attitude.

You could try gathering more data.

I think a single data point of enduring multiple hours of abuse, having all your electronics taken from you, being cut off from contacting anyone else, and being lied to and accused of being a liar is enough data to form solid conclusions.

"But we only harass some people who look a bit too brown not to be suspicious" isn't exonerating.

Well. I actually do like America, I mean, which programmer would not? But during my various stays there, people have been murdered in front of my house, naked people have been thrown out of cars onto the pavement in front of me, bank roberies happened right across the street of me.

The US is the most barbaric and uncivilised of the western countries. That might come as a surprise to some.

Okay. I am born and raised in the US and have lived here all my life. Not only have I never seen anything you described, I can't really think of a time I've even witnessed anything particularly bad happen or even had "bad things" happen to me. Not a car broken into, not a home, not luggage, no murders, not even a scream! And I'm dark and look Middle Eastern but have never faced racism (grew up in the whitest parts of the south/southwest) or even a police officer who was anything but polite. For a few months, I lived in one of the adored "utopian paradises" frequently praised on the internet, and was "randomly selected" for a bag search every single time I flew domestically.

Yes, I guess I'm fortunate, and I'm sorry bad things happened to you, and there are plenty of problems here, but, there are 330 million people in this country, most were either born abroad or their parents or grandparents were, and we all get along pretty fucking well.

Where are you staying?!? I've lived in and around NYC my whole life and never had any experiences even remotely like that. Perhaps you need to choose nicer hotels? Every country has some bad areas.

Sure, you can be unlucky and get into bad situations in every country. Strangely these things happen to me only in the US.

I would compare the feeling of safety when walking the streets of major American cities like San Francisco or Pittsburgh with the feeling of safety when walking around in Rio de Janeiro. You feel much safer in London, Paris, Berlin, or Munich.

I've been to London twice and Berlin once. For the most part I felt safe in both cities, but one night getting off the tube in London on the way back to my hotel my friends and I were verbally accosted by a bunch of locals because they overheard our American accents. Being New Yorkers, we ignored them because they were a bunch of drunks being stupid, which we're pretty used to. Still, if I had been alone, or female, it would have been a lot scarier.

I'd still go back though; that was one experience one night that could happen anywhere.

I've been to San Francisco too, but my wife and I didn't do much wandering around at night. During the day it seemed fine everyplace we went, though there was a small alley right by our hotel that was apparently used as a toilet. Again, as a New Yorker I'm pretty familiar with being around homeless people, so what I found odd was that the leakage across the sidewalk wasn't cleaned up by the city, hotel, or shopowners around the alley first thing in the morning. Instead, it was just left there for days as far as I could tell. At the time I didn't know how common that is is SF. I didn't feel unsafe by it though, except for the threat to the cleanliness of my shoes.

That small alley must have been close to downtown Turk street. I could not believe the smell in certain downtown areas of SF.

> Well. I actually do like America, I mean, which programmer would not?

? Because of being compensated relatively well? Because you can work for big tech companies? That doesn't sound enough to outweigh the negative experiences you've faced, at least for me.

I wouldn't shed any tears if programming stopped revolving around the US to such a degree.

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".

What fifth amendment rights? Was someone asking you to testify against yourself at trial?

And CBP does have the right to ask who you are and where you're going when you cross the border. It is their business, and has been since the 18th century.

EDIT: I should clarify because I'm being somewhat glib. First, 4th amendment does not apply to routine border searches, and it was the First Congress, containing many of the framers, that instituted routine border searches: http://blog.cybersecuritylaw.us/2013/09/23/david-house-dhs-a....

Second, while the Supreme Court has not ruled on the issue, the various circuits have held that 5th amendment does apply, but Miranda warnings are not required: http://fourthamendment.com/blog/index.php?blog=1&title=e_d_n....

These are both rooted in the long-standing right of sovereign entities to defend their borders.

Third, I'm not aware of any Supreme Court case that says you can't be compelled to answer questions at the border. Currently, there is simply no law compelling you to answer questions, but it's not clear such a law would be unconstitutional if it existed. So there is nothing wrong with CBP asking, and nothing wrong with you refusing to answer, and nothing wrong with CBP giving you extra scrutiny, within the limits of the 4th amendment, for refusing to answer the questions.

Fourth, I'm in the camp that thinks Miranda shouldn't even apply to questioning at the border. See: http://www.volokh.com/2013/06/17/do-you-have-a-right-to-rema.... The 5th amendment's text is simple: "No person... shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself." The historical practice and plain meaning of this text was, before the 1960's, that you couldn't force a defendant to testify against himself in a criminal proceeding. This was a specific response to the practice of the Star Chamber in England. It's a pretty big stretch to say that this should limit the police's ability to ask you questions, especially at the border where the state's interest in security is relatively stronger.

Fifth amendment rights extend beyond the courtroom. I am not legally obligated to make any statements to law enforcement about my own activities. Indeed, border control points are simply yet another instance in which you should "never talk to the police."


You're being recorded, both audio and video, from the moment you enter the building. Making a false statement, even accidentally, is a serious crime. They, of course, are allowed to lie as much as they wish with no repercussions. Ask any lawyer: making any voluntary statements to the police is a bad idea under any circumstances.

Furthermore, my travel within or without the United States is no business of the government's, as evidenced by the fact that there's no law requiring me to provide it to them. Every time this has happened, I have been allowed in to the US. Every time.

The troubling part is that this is really just a demonstration of what the police would do if Terry v. Ohio or the 5th Amendment weren't in place.

They see absolutely no irony in harassing an American, on American soil, under the banner of "protecting America".

Being late, I can cope with. The fact that large federal law enforcement organizations like CBP fundamentally don't get why we have basic rights is the truly scary part.

Sounds like a plan, scale it up! That would surely exact some change in a non-geological timespan.

You're right, it's a total waste of time. Because it's unlikely to ever effect change, we should simply bend to the will of thugs and turn over all the information they ask for: employment data, addresses of friends, travel plans both domestically and abroad, complete contents of our mobile phones (including all text message history, image history, location history, voice notes, emails), et cetera. Volunteering this information to cops is clearly the better choice than exercising our rights because the exercise of rights won't actually get cops to stop being dicks.

PS: You have to count to 1 on the way to 350 million.

No, I actually completely agree with you, in fact I stopped going to the US for exactly the reasons you list.

note to self: find a way to express lack of sarcasm in text.

I moved out of the US for this and many other reasons. Every time I visit I have to backup and wipe my phone and laptop before entering, as the courts have ruled that not only do you have zero fourth amendment protections at the border, but also that their ability to search extends to any data you happen to be carrying as well.

It takes me hours to reimage my laptop and restore my phone each time I visit the US. It sucks.

To be fair, as a non-US citizen I think it's fair for the US government to ask you what exactly you plan to do in their country.

To be _fair_, the location of a person's birth should not determine the rights they are entitled to.

Sure, they can ask. They ask citizens. The difference is that citizens get fifth amendment protections and can politely refuse to answer.

If you're a non-citizen coming to visit, refusal means deportation. It's simply racism based on where someone was born, discriminating against people on a trait that they have no control over.

It's not racism at all, it's territorialism. Rights don't exist in the state of nature. Rights are just agreements between groups of people to take certain things that they have the ability to do in the state of nature off the table. If you're not part of the group, you're not party to the agreement.

Legal rights don't exist, but natural & human rights do. Out of curiosity, are you in favor (in principle) of world federalism? That would eliminate the international state of nature that we have today.

"Legal rights don't exist, but natural and human rights do."

Given that existence of legal rights can be proven empirically [1], whereas existence of natural and human rights is a philosophical quagmire yet to be resolved after thousands of years of inquiry, I'd argue that your statement is false. Well, at least, as false as anything can be outside of a purely axiomatic system.

[1]: Again, as far as such things can be done. E.g., we could probably come to something like an agreement that the Bill of Rights exists and that it describes a set of ostensibly legally guaranteed rights.

Oh, I meant legal rights in the state of nature, the context rayiner was describing - he was the one that said they don't exist therein and I agreed. Natural and human rights function like morals though, they describe what should happen, as opposed to legal rights which describe what will happen, at least given a competent judicial system. Morals exist, right?

"Morals" do exist, in the sense that they are observable states of mind in individual people. You can set up an experiment where you leave a $20 bill on the table, and observe that people don't take it, and call the chemical process in peoples' brains that causes them to act that way "morals."

Sometimes, people with similar moral opinions come together and agree to enforce entitlements consistent with that opinion. These are called "rights." While morals can be demonstrated in the state of nature, "rights" cannot be. There are no "rights" without agreements between people, either explicit or tacit.

I didn't really mean to argue about rights, or maybe I did and I just didn't realize. What you are calling "rights" is properly qualified as "legal rights". I am not suggesting there are legal rights in the state of nature, I am just pointing out that there is an entirely different category of rights and that "rights" refers to both categories. This other category of rights, which I'll call natural/human rights, corresponds to morals, whereas the legal rights category corresponds to laws. Typically laws and thus legal rights have some basis in agreed upon natural/human rights. See Wikipedia, which also lumps human rights in with natural rights:


Since I'm pretty sure you've encountered the terms natural rights and human rights before, and that you understand that they specify morals without being legal rights, and that we don't basically disagree about how things work, nor do we even disagree philosophically on a wide variety of issues (perhaps importantly that moral absolutism is terrible), I was more curious about whether you think world federalism is a good idea...

Basically in agreement with rayiner's sibling comment, I'd say morals don't exist in the physical/concrete sense that gravity exists, but they do exist in the cultural/behavioral sense that beauty exists. For them to exist more concretely requires some sort of codification and system for enforcement, at which point they effectively become legal rights. Also, in the absence of a specific objective, the concepts "should" and "should not" aren't useful. If we are acting towards different objectives, then our "shoulds" and "should nots" won't necessarily align.

To rephrase this, the sort of absolute existence which you seem to be implying for morals and natural rights is only obtainable within the framework of an axiomatic system. And, the process of codifying one's morals within an actionable axiomatic system transforms them into legal rights.

I never said anything about absolutism, I believe moral relativism is healthy. I disagree that should and should not are useless concepts, because every moral expresses a should or a should not sentiment. Having personal values means you have a personal code of behavior, but it isn't enshrined in law, it's just opinions about how you personally should behave. I agree about the transformation of natural/human rights into legal rights through codification and use of force. Basically, I believe we agree on all the major issues here, except I seem to have communicated some kind of belief in moral absolutism which I hope I have dispelled!

I said should and should not are useless "in the absence of a specific objective". But, as you suggest, they are useful in the context of an objective, e.g. I should not push old ladies into heavy traffic (implicitly: because I prefer not to live in a world where old-lady-traffic-pushing is a commonly accepted pastime and I believe that not indulging in old-lady-traffic-pushing makes such a world more likely to exist in the future, given some assumptions about the dynamics of social systems).

So, I agree that morals express should and should not sentiments. I also agree that individuals can hold morals, in the sense of personal codes of behavior. However, my original point of contention was whether or not natural and human rights exist in the state of nature. A discussion of morals ensued because you implied that an acceptance of the existence of morals was somehow related to an acceptance of the existence of n/h rights.

Morals and n/h rights are fundamentally different in that morals are intra-personal, while rights are necessarily inter-personal. So, while I would accept that morals can exist, in the sense that individuals can desire particular states and derive codes of behavior for making these states more likely to occur, these sorts of morals are not the sort needed to make the functional similarity between morals and n/h rights that you previously suggested meaningful.

These form the key points of our disagreement: that morals act like n/h rights and that n/h rights exist. While you may not have intended to support absolutism, based on the way in which people typically discuss n/h rights, and based on the formal definitions of these terms that I've seen, I'd say that any support of n/h rights is implicitly support of absolutism.

Thanks for explaining, that was quite thorough. I don't understand the distinction between intrapersonal and interpersonal here. Are you essentially saying at least two people have to agree upon something before it's a right, either legal or n/h? But that can't be, because although you can take away my food, clothing, and shelter, you can't take away my belief that I have a human right to those things (i.e. I deserve them), regardless of whether or not anybody agrees with me. Or does it have to do with morals being about my behavior with respect to others, whereas n/h rights would be about others' behavior with respect to me (and others)?

I do understand that it's the absolutists who harp on about n/h rights, I'll try to be more careful about that in the future. It is somewhat absolutist of me to believe that everybody on the planet deserves food, clothing, and shelter in that it's a belief that applies universally, but I won't go so far as to say that you should adopt my beliefs simply because it's somehow incorrect for you to have other beliefs, nor do I expect that our laws will ever satisfy this ideal.

While I can't take away your belief in a human right to something, I can take that something (given sufficient capacity for force). Belief in n/h rights can exist independently of whether or not the rights exist, in the same way that belief in Odin can exist independently of Odin himself.

Though, through morally-guided action you can possibly cause the n/h rights which you believe in (but which don't exist) to be reified as legal rights. Now, given sufficient capacity for force, I may still subvert those rights, but through their codification they have nonetheless gained existence.

The second part of your second paragraph actually closely matches my stance. And, it's precisely the prevalence of (implicit) absolutists who continually frame arguments founded on the assumption that some n/h right or another exists that leads to my irritation when these terms are used (relatively) carelessly. Such arguments are fundamentally flawed and, yet, continue to dominate most discussions concerning politics and economics.

My claim is simply that much as force causes legal rights to exist, belief causes n/h rights to exist. Since you cannot take away my belief (except through brainwashing, but even then I can recover it), you cannot take away my n/h rights.

Or, might makes legally right, belief makes morally right.

It's interesting, because if you look back far enough you'll see I had the opposite argument with somebody else, where I was explaining that force was the only thing that caused legal rights to exist, and he was accusing me of immorality on that basis.

> To be _fair_, the location of a person's birth should not determine the rights they are entitled to.

So we've gone from discussing civil liberties to the abstract idea of a Nation State?

Either way it's not always racism. I'm not American but I'm as WASPy as they come. If I followed your pattern at the US border they'd never let me in, and that is their right.

but you are replying to US citizens living abroad. I am pretty sure they are not exempt from paying taxes just because they do not live in the US.


I don't think that was sarcasm. I think jacquesm is on your side.

The 5th Amendment covers the right to not have to self-incriminate in the courtroom or anywhere. If you plead the 5th during a border search, however, it essentially means that you are likely to commit criminal activity but don't have to admit to it.

You are probably thinking more of the fourth amendment, which supposedly protects against unlawful search and seizure - including information about your whereabouts, etc.

Also, I probably wouldn't use a YouTube lawyer as my sole reference for doing that sort of thing, just FYI.

IIRC, asserting your 5th amendment right does not mean that you have to have committed a crime, but I may just be confusing this with the ability to assert your right to remain silent without your silence being held against you.

A US Citizen can not be denied entry at the border by CBP. He can of course be interrogated by customs and agriculture.

In regards to that US Lawyer, read this always entertaining blog post [original site nomadlaw.com down for quite some time, quoted verbatim here: http://greyenigma.wordpress.com/2012/03/30/i-am-detained-by-...]

Unfortunately internet lawyers are about all we have left. Graduating lawyers are unemployed in record numbers, because folks now normally get all their legal advice online, for better or for worse.

AFAIK, graduate lawyers don't have jobs because there's more supply (more students), not less demand.

The legal industry changed after 2008, at least for larger firms. They started needing to compete on price for one thing, whereas they could largely charge what they liked before. Clients became very selective of what they chose to litigate very quickly, presumably based on cost/benefit analyses they had taken for granted in the past. That doesn't sound like a shift on the supply side to me.

Also, a substantial amount of legal employment used to be in doing things like document review that can now be handled by software. This could be seen to be augmenting the supply factor, since it automates what lawyers used to do.

That's an effect, not a cause. There are no jobs because large law firms are not hiring. That's because customers are not going to them any more.

> So there is nothing wrong with CBP asking, and nothing wrong with you refusing to answer, and nothing wrong with CBP giving you extra scrutiny, within the limits of the 4th amendment, for refusing to answer the questions.

> It's a pretty big stretch to say that this should limit the police's ability to ask you questions

I'm not talking about the fact that they ask, or that they search my stuff when I decline to answer.

I'm talking about the fact that they then lock me in a room for hours with no food or water, send the bus without me, threaten me with arrest and prosecution, lie to me claiming that I'm legally required to answer their questions, and finally refuse to call me a taxi or tell me the name of the city I was standing in ("I don't know" was the reply of the border guard after I'd asked him after I'd been told I was free to go. "You don't know the name of the city in which you work every day?" "Nope.")

It's simple disrespect and harassment.

It's unfortunate the link to the BYU law review article in a sibling comment is now marked "dead". Perhaps because the author first posted the link, then may have gone back to edit it.

I've only now glanced through the first few pages, but it spells out Fourth and Fifth Amendment rights at border crossings. Unfortunately, it is a review article, not case law, and in some instances appears to rely on dicta. Still, a worthwhile read.

EDIT: Original poster: "nemof". The review article, titled "Rights at United States Borders" was written by Jon Adams, who, judging by the brief bio on the title page, appears to be an experienced and qualified attorney.

The article is here: http://law2.byu.edu/jpl/papers/v19n2_Jon_Adams.pdf. It seems accurate, glancing through it. The material starting at page 354 describes the border search exception to the 4th amendment, and the material starting at page 369 describes how Miranda does not apply to routine questioning at the border.

The right to creatively interpret the constitution?

> Fuck the police.

There's this theory in psychotherapy called transference. Basically if you experience crappy situations as a child in which you are effectively powerless, then in later years similar situations end up provoking the same feelings - you transfer the past onto the present.


I have no way to know if this is what's going on here, but in my own life, understanding things from this perspective has been a remarkably powerful tool for generating insight and change. I have had (and continue to have) no shortage of conflicts with authority in my life, including ridiculous abuse from the cops, but it did get significantly better once I started directing my anger at my parents, who for me were the original offenders.

Just an alternative perspective out of left field.

I'm guessing this is not applicable here, if what he says is true:

  Despite my opinions about the lot of them, I am calm, polite, professional, and courteous in my interactions with them.

I have a friend who for years said exactly the same things to me, and wondered why the cops were constantly harassing him. And then I got stopped in a traffic stop with him - as he speeds all the time - and he was shifty, dodgy, couldn't look the cop in the eye, and gave clipped in his verbal responses. He was "polite" but if I was the cop I'd've been beyond suspicious.

There was no reason to be shifty - he was clean, except for the speeding. But his general attitude towards the cop shone through like search light.

People's self perceptions may not be others perceptions. And your body language may be saying things your words aren't.

Yeah, I don't do that. I know I'm unimpeachable unless they make up something, and I know that they have to let me in. I look them in the eyes, I smile, I attempt to establish rapport.

The problem is that thugs with guns who are used to acting with impunity are enraged when people quietly, demurely, and professionally stand up to them.

It never ever happens because everyone has somewhere to be, a schedule to keep, and knows that they'll be on their way quickly if they "just answer a few harmless questions". They're cops with guns, after all.

Have you never had a customer service representative politely tell you to go fuck yourself?

When I was abused by my parents, it was never called for. As an adult, again and again I would create situations where I was obviously "in the right" so that I could get people to recreate that abuse and then subsequently feel and express the anger I had about it. For me, calmly provoking people is child's play, but I don't do it anymore.

Someone else (jcromartie) posted the following comment and it was downvoted to dead status. What is the reason? I was looking forward to replies/comments on this post.

> There are exceptions to the 4th and 5th at border crossings. The officials at international border crossings are permitted to ask for basic customs and immigration information, under the Commerce Clause. Any inquiry or search or declaration beyond establishing your legal right to enter the country, or what you are bringing with you, is indeed protected by the 4th and 5th.

Comments don't get downvoted to dead status. It's only if the poster was hellbanned prior to posting the comment that it will show as dead

Edit, ok while what I wrote was mostly right, I just looked at his commenting history, and it -looks- like he triggered the double posting protection by posting two comments after each other

There's a border court where you can appeal the idiotic decisions of any customs agent. The trick is finding out when they are in session, which is once a week at the Canada/US border but all points of entry have this same court but it is hardly advertised. I overturned numerous bans from entering the US, in fact the judge each time rubber stamped me in

@dobbsbob, I'd be very grateful if you could help me out.

My Aussie friend has suffered a similar (but not quite as degrading) experience at the border recently. She was unjustly deported because some custom agents (or their computer systems) suffer from multiple off-by-one errors and cannot properly compute a 90-day stay. I couldn't believe what happened -- and to an Australian tourist! I was ashamed of being an American.

Could you give me more information about this border court? Feel free to contact me at: one-hnpost AT reml DOT org


I'd love to see a site describing what your rights are while entering the US, both for citizens and non-citizens. Is there something like the "don't talk to police" video that describes what you're legally compelled to do or not do? Is there a guide covering how to secure your electronic devices, etc?

I'm confident enough of my rights when stopped by a cop inside the US, but from so many stories like this it really seems like we have no rights when crossing the border, citizen or not. If I knew what my rights actually were I'd feel better about asserting them.

What's a non-US citizen going to do if they're deported when attempting to enter the US?

By that point there's little point in trying to get justice, because international court cases are complicated and the tiny amount of money you get back is unlikely to be of much consolation.

...all because I politely exercise my fifth amendment rights.

What specifically does this mean in the context of a border crossing? It's not like you're under arrest there.

Do you mean that you tell the USCIS official that you aren't going to say anything about where you traveled or why? Or where you live and work in the country?

Some examples of what you say to them would help us understand better what is going on in your interactions with the border agents.


Edit: Just saw this: 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".

It's somewhat less surprising that you stand out in a negative way when you tell the border agent who's asking about your travel plans that those plans are "none of their business".

I've only done that once.

The longest detentions have been when I reply with "Respectfully, you have my passport and know my identity and citizenship, and I decline to participate in any further questioning."

Also, they asked a voluntary-response nosy question. Responding with "none of your business" is valid and professional. Stand out, sure, but whether it's "in a negative way" is open to interpretation. Please don't blame the victim for standing up for their rights.

I agree that there's no excuse for disrespect or unprofessionalism on the part of the USCIS agents.

And I suppose there may be no legal requirement for a person to disclose any information beyond "I'm a US Citizen returning to my home country". (I don't know this - I'm just assuming this, based on what you've said.)

Ultimately, of course, if you're a citizen, it's my understanding they have to let you back in. However, they also have broad discretion over investigating "suspicious" situations. Unfortunately, not wanting to say "anything" about your situation (why you were out of the country, where you went, etc) may stand out as "suspicious" to an agent who's accustomed to idle conversation about people's reasons for travel.

Indeed it raises suspicion, because it's anomalous. That's fine. Anything anomalous deserves additional attention.

The problem is, the search is simply an invasive powertrip—and not thorough. It's as if they're searching me just to let me know they can. They asked me "what've you got in HERE?" bunches of times while going through the various zippered pockets of my bags, but missed several. It wasn't a very good search.

Then, there's the threats of holding me in a cell for 72 hours, the threats of prosecution, the yelling, the physical intimidation, the verbal abuse ("you're only causing this trouble for yourself"), the massive delays (they sent the bus without me, stranding me several hours from the nearest airport). It's a fundamental disrespect that stems from their contempt for my unwillingness to follow their orders. They honestly wouldn't even tell me what city I was standing in, and kicked me out of the building onto a highway in a snowstorm in February in northern Vermont. I had no cell service and had to hitchhike to avoid getting frostbite.

I'm not complaining about receiving additional scrutiny, though I do personally believe that the 4th amendment protections should be intact even at the border. I'm complaining about straight up harassment and abuse.

so your bullshit provocation works, congratulations. what are you complaining about, your goal is achieved, smugness and superiority for you. you poor victim.

What provocation do you refer to?

Surely you can't mean exercising basic constitutional rights to silence when questioned by police.

Unfortunately, refusing to talk to the police makes it vastly more probable that you are involved in criminal activity. So, while you are perfectly within your rights, the police are doing their job to regard you with an extra level of suspicion. To do otherwise would be incompetence.

Being a white male I've passed fairly fast through US borders when I visit. But people who've travelled on business with me who are non-whites have been severely delayed and eventually meet up at the hotel hours later with harrowing stories. From my samples I'd say that the border agents routinely racially profile.

I think it's unfortunate that there are false positives. On the other hand, we are free to complain about our government, and that is fortunate.

But to those of you complaining, are you sure this isn't just another anecdote that supports your stereotypes? Or is our anti-authoritarian fetish getting in the way of the data (or lack there of) again?

Have any of us worked with a effective and practical system that never has false positives? Are you unhappy with the rate of false positives? Do you even know what that rate is? Are you saying you would you rather have more false negatives and fewer false positives? Surely anecdotal evidence is biased towards nasty false positives: we don't read about stories when someone triggers suspicion and is reasonably investigate before being released, but are you sure it never happens?

I'm not saying that I think it's acceptable to be wrong sometimes, or to treat people this way. But I'm also not convinced by anyone who doesn't have answers to the above questions.

I think that you are completely missing the point. The problem is not about false positives, the problem is about the abusive behaviour to false positives. I can totally understand that there are false positives but racial slurs, threats, shouting, refusal to provide water etc. are never ever justified.

Abusive behaviour of this kind might be just a personal failure of some employee... in that case they need to be fired and severely punished. If those things happen on multiple occasions and nothing happens, nobody is fired/punished, nobody apologises... than you have a reason to believe that it is a systematic failure to uphold to certain standards commonly associated with states that are not police states. That seems to be the case in the US.

That's fair. I tried to include this perspective as well. Personally I want to agree that this behavior is never ever justified, but do you know that being respectful has no impact on the number of actual violators that are caught? Instead, I expect there is a trade off, and I would sacrifice respect for increased efficacy, to an extent. Furthermore, the resources required to remove agents that misbehave compete with the resources to find violators. Ultimately, I think it's hard to tell from here if we're sacrificing too much respect given the results.

I'd rather not have to become an expert in border control; I pay taxes so that someone else can do that. I can see, however, that many people find it hard to trust that someone else might know more than them. I think it's a shame that there is not enough transparency; is assuming the worst and crying foul without proper data really the best we can do?

This just happened to my Aussie friend, although not to such a degrading degree. I don't think either event qualifies as a false positive.

In either case, there was no evidence at all of an overstay. That's like a spam filter looking at your inbox and arbitrarily picking one email and putting it in your spam folder; would you call that a false positive? To have a false positive, there must be some sort of algorithm/procedure/heuristic, i.e. some sort of non-random selection mechanism. Otherwise, you don't have a spam filter, you have spam roulette. And that's how it is at the border with these immigration officers.

> "While doing this, another officer passed and shouted 'Who is she, a TNT?'" she said.

What is a 'TNT'?

According to the Racist Slur Database http://www.rsdb.org/race/filipinos

> "Tago Nang Tago" It's a filipino thats an illegal alien. Translates to "hides and hides" (from the I.N.S.)

You know, the name of that database labels everything in it in a very negative way. I'd say the database itself is a slur. It contains a lot of stuff; its not all racist. Some of it is self-identification; some is slang.

TNT stands for the Filipino phrase "tago nang tago" which means "always hiding", describing an undocumented immigrant.

Hoy, TNT ka? Hey, are you an undocumented immigrant?

It's slang.

Slang for illegal Filipino immigrant. I can't remember what it stands for but it's a play off a tagalog word for "hide".

"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."

I've seen the same up close. Seems it's a standard tactic: when someone is suspected of immigration transgression, lie about the suspect's prior statements to others; reason is to throw the person off-guard, increasing the chance they'll say something actionable. This is very effective, and VERY disturbing to the suspect. The guards are under no obligation to tell the truth, and use lying as a standard tactic...but anything YOU say can and will be used against you, with lying to a federal official being one of the worst things you can do.

More and more people are reluctant to go to the US for this. People who undergo such treatment should be compensated. This would be the fair price for security and maybe would focus the security effort on real threats.

overall, i am reminded of how sad i am to be a US citizen when i hear these stories. i have been harrassed by security personnel on a few occasions but have managed to avoid being stuck in the "private screening" room. the irony of having someone who is of puertorican decent and does not speak english as their first language giving me shit when coming into the US from the caribbean is not lost on me.

unfortunately, the characterization of people in the US being (1) ignorant, (2) rude and (3) obnoxious is rather accurate. the USG should make an effort to have competent people manning the border since it makes the US look _awful_ when stuff like this happens. obama, or whoever is president, should make this shit a priority since we look like a bunch of fucking jerks when it comes to CBP/ICE.

Am I the only one who would like to hear the other side of the story? We're only hearing her side.

Stories like this are beyond useless because they don't present all the facts. It's a sensationalist one-sided narrative of what happened. Without the other side's version of events, we cannot look at the story critically and evaluate the merits of both sides.

Yeah, well, if the CBP opened a dialogue about their side of the story I'm sure we would listen to them. A big part of the problem is that the authorities do not talk honestly about their view of the proceedings. The TSA at least makes gestures in that direction, but CBP not so much.

(An honest view from their side would talk about subjects like "What percentile of our employees are competent to do their jobs? How much would it cost to improve this?")

Don't know what to say. This is just beyond infuriating:

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.

To be honest, if the choice is between that and TSA, I'll take that every day. So they smuggle drugs and tobacco: big deal! With better policies, those activities wouldn't even exist anyway. Real policing is done with long-running investigations and intelligence on organised crime, not with coppers doing data-entry from passports.

As far as I can tell, the only source for this story is an unverified email sent by Carina Yonzon Grande to local (Phillippine) news outlets. While can't believe someone would make the story up from whole cloth, I suspect there are important details which may have been altered or omitted.

I think it would be prudent to reserve judgement until more information is available.

so where are the other sources confirming this? right now there is a single source of info, which is the woman in question. stories like this are very emotional and very often not exactly following the truth. HN gobbles them up, especially those readers who rarely travel themselves.

i am deeply skeptical about this account. this year alone i have entered the US about 10 times, coming from European and Asian destinations. not a US citizen. I have never witnessed any impolite behavior by CBP personnel towards passengers - and I was standing in the blue line for hours with them.

using the very specific term TNT is very strange for non-filipino officers.

if you worked in retail this reminds me of certain customers from hell that complained to your manager and told a story that was outrageously one sided. all the while having been openly abusive to you.

This story interests me because I'm a Filipino

Many, many Filipinos travel to the USA without incident, and many emigrate here, get their green card, and become US citizens with no problems. But I know sad, unfortunate incidents like this happen, and they make me embarrassed for my country. The agents that did this ought to be held accountable and fired. There is simply no excuse for this woman being treated this way. Americans are a very welcoming and friendly people, but I know the Federal bureaucracy is not.

> The agents that did this ought to be held accountable and fired.

That is the exact problem the US has, nobody is ever penalized for these actions.

Perhaps because instead of actually, you know, lodging a complaint, people just run to bad journalists who, instead of trying to get some kind of statement from the CBP, just parrot her statements without questioning any of it.

This is a really sloppy journalism piece, and I'm surprised that no one's pointed out just how bad it is. This article is unresearched, anti-US junk.

Here's some good journalism with the same outcome:

"Is there a time limit on how long someone can be detained? Do people have to unlock their phones, if asked? Do agents have to inform you why you're being detained? And I didn't even approach them as like an angry citizen. I approached them as a journalist, who had very straightforward questions just about the process and the protocol. And what I discovered, doing that, is that the lack of transparency that I saw during our detainment just continued up and up and up the ranks, all the way to DC, where nobody was getting back to me about anything."


Citation needed.

What? Citation needed for what?

You say it's sloppy and unresearched. I'd like to hear why that is, based on something more than just your opinion.

But why is it on Hacker News? And why did the submitter use the term Pinay? People barely know how to spell Filipino, so I don't expect them to know Pinay either.

"Filipino visitor something something..."

> And why did the submitter use the term Pinay? People barely know how to spell Filipino, so I don't expect them to know Pinay either.

The title comes from the submitted article. The article comes from ABC-CBN, a Philippine news source.


> ABS-CBN News and Current Affairs (formerly ABS-CBN News and Public Affairs) is the news division of Philippine media conglomerate ABS-CBN Corporation. The organization is responsible for the daily news and information gathering of its news programs. Its current slogan is Panig sa Katotohanan, Panig sa Pagbangon ng Bayan (Tagalog for Sides for the Truth, Sides for the Rise of the Nation). According to the SWS media trust survey, ABS-CBN News & Current Affairs topped the list among Philippines news and broadcast organizations, garnering 68% of the public trust.

> But why is it on Hacker News?

What stories should be on HN, and why do you think this doesn't fit?

>> But why is it on Hacker News? <<

Are you new to Hacker News? The stories are posted by people who frequent the site, and stories like these are on the first page constantly. I would suspect such things are important to the Hacker News readership. You could make theories why, but that's for another post.

>> And why did the submitter use the term Pinay? People barely know how to spell Filipino... <<

Well, now I know what it means, getting a little educated with my news - can't hurt. I don't think a place like Hacker News should be dumbing down the language, or spelling, of its posts.

its "hacker news". not fox news. hackers can figure it out themselves.

Is this a reliable news source? I've never heard of the site before. The URL looks like a play on abc and cbs news.

I don't think it seems that far fetched, but it does come across as being a fake story. It sadly doesn't surprise me that something like this could happen, I just question the site this is hosted on.

It seems to be a reliable news source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ABS-CBN_Interactive

im from PH and ABS-CBN is or one of the biggest media company.

Major Philippines news org.

That's good to know; thanks for clarifying.

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