Civil Liberties

Another Reason Long-Distance Relationships Don't Work

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Domenico Salerno, a 35-year-old Italian lawyer, comes to Virginia several times a year to visit his American girlfriend, Caitlin Cooper, a 23-year-old copy editor he met a couple of years ago in Rome. Evidently that travel pattern triggered the suspicions of a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agent, who stopped him from entering the country when he arrived at Washington Dulles International Airport on April 29. Although visitors from Italy do not need visas, CBP agents have the discretion to deny them entry—and exit. Instead of being sent back to Rome, Salerno was turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), which shipped him off to a jail in Virginia, where he was detained for 10 days, still officially not in the United States and therefore without legal recourse. The CBP agent claimed he thought Salerno would turn out to be an asylum seeker because he expressed a fear of being killed if he returned to Italy. Salerno, whose English is spotty, told Cooper he never said anything of the kind. ICE kept Salerno on ice despite the intervention of Sen. John Warner (R-Va.) and the efforts of two former immigration prosecutors hired by Cooper's family. After Cooper contacted The New York Times, he was finally released and driven to Dulles, where he caught a flight back to Rome on Friday. Cooper is thinking of following him there, and staying.

Salerno had the benefit of affluent, well-connected American friends. Other visitors who are arbitrarily detained are not so lucky:

"We have a lot of government people here and lobbyists and lawyers and very educated, very savvy Washingtonians," said Jim Cooper, Ms. Cooper's father, a businessman, describing the reaction in his neighborhood, the Wessynton subdivision of Alexandria. "They were pretty shocked that the government could do this sort of thing, because it doesn't happen that often, except to people you never hear about, like Haitians and Guatemalans."

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  1. Smiles, everyone, smiles! We want our guests to feel welcome!

  2. Yet the MSM only seems to pick-up these stories about white/Euro people. Strange.

  3. That what he gets for coming over here and sexing on our womenfolk.

  4. America can be such an asshole.

  5. America can be such an asshole.

    Since America is generally anthropomorphized as female, wouldn’t “America can be such a bitch” be more appropriate?

  6. the Wessynton subdivision of Alexandria.

    Well, there you go. Have you ever seen what a vile den of vermin are there? The outside world needs to be protected from them.

    Also:
    The CBP agent claimed he thought Salerno would turn out to be an asylum seeker because he expressed a fear of being killed if he returned to Italy.

    Might be another chick involved in this one.

  7. Since America is generally anthropomorphized as female …

    True, but in this case I think two sets of genitalia are needed. American cock, meet American pussy.
    Go fuck yourself.

  8. The Homeland Security Act at it’s most ridiculous. Consider what wonderful public relations news idiocy like this generates. “I went to America to visit my girlfriend, and they threw me into a cell for ten days.”

    Of course the 9-11 perpetrators did occasionaly eat Italian food sometimes. Coincidence?

  9. Not sure if it was in that article on it, or another, but I love the INS officer saying that Salerno should spend more time in his own country, and less in this one.

  10. More important than our governments idiocy:

    Have you seen the guy and his woman? She looks like the quintessential puffy faced rich nerdgirl, and he is a decade older italian man. Maybe they are truly in love….. or maybe there’s some kind of juicy wackiness going on? I need to know!!!!! (And what do her parents think?)

  11. On a similar note, I went to eat at my favorite Indian buffet yesterday, when I discovered a big red sign on the newly-sealed door that read: Closed by Order of the U.S. Customs Service*

    I kind of knew this was coming because, coincidentally, some the waited live in the same apartment complex as my girlfriend, and I saw their house being raided by ICE one morning.

    I guess they were planning on making a terrorist curry or something…

    *I don’t feel like looking up the full name of the organization, but I think I got it right…

  12. Not sure if it was in that article on it, or another, but I love the INS officer saying that Salerno should spend more time in his own country, and less in this one.

    I doubt Mr. Salerno needs much encouragement…

  13. Taktix?,

    I think I’ve had terrorist curry before. Only I thought it was a Thai curry.

  14. …some of the waiters

  15. Have you recently said to someone “go ahead, it’s a free country?”

    I am amused to say that on occasion when a stranger asks me if I mind them doing something inconsequential like taking a picture. Invariably the person kind of hesitates for a second. It’s probably because that phrase is used so little nowadays and they are trying to parse why its meaning in relation to that particular interaction, but on occasion I get the feeling it’s because the person hearing it knows in their bones that that statement is no longer accurate.

  16. We can’t let Italians into the country. We let them in, and the next thing you know the Irish will want in too, and then what? I’ll tell ya’ what- Mexicans!

  17. I am amused to say that on occasion when a stranger asks me if I mind them doing something inconsequential like taking a picture.

    People taking pictures? tarran, they hesitate because they’re terrorists gathering intelligence on the next target. They want to destroy our freedoms, and you should report them to Homeland Security.

    Or apparently, let CBP handle it for you.

  18. PL,

    I think I’ve had terrorist curry before. Only I thought it was a Thai curry.

    Thai curry, YUMMM!!!

    Does that make me a suspect?

    Oh, terran, the whole GWAT thing is just to annoy folks like you. Stop reading so much into it.

  19. She looks like the quintessential puffy faced rich nerdgirl, and he is a decade older italian man. Maybe they are truly in love.

    I support this sort of international dating, it’s that much less time she’ll spend complaining about GTA IV on feministing and running her blog that fights discrimination against “women of size.”

  20. SF,

    Women of size are descriminated against? I like mine about a size 4 and we get comped from time to time too.

    Sounds like a false issue from the jealous fat chicks.

  21. Have you recently said to someone “go ahead, it’s a free country?”

    I asked my 11 year old niece if she ever says “I can do whatever I want to, it’s a free country.” Morbid curiosity on my part. She said she never heard that one. I wonder if that’s the typical response now.

  22. Shit like this drives me nuts because my girlfriend is European and on an H1-B. Every time she goes anywhere near Customs I get paranoid.

  23. Have you recently said to someone “go ahead, it’s a free country?”

    No, and I never hear it either. When I was a kid, it was said constantly.

  24. “Women of size” is one of the dumbest new PC phrases. It doesn’t make any sense. Everybody’s got size.

  25. E,

    Every time she goes anywhere near Customs I get paranoid.

    Um, aren’t you like almost always paranoid? Are you saying your usual level increases a lot in this situation or something?

  26. Epi,

    I’m sorry to be the bearer of sad news, but Moonlight has been canceled. Try to not rend your clothes in grief.

  27. SF,

    It is some more of that Leftist “brevity”. The whole thing is ‘womyn of ginormous freak size’.

  28. I asked my 11 year old niece if she ever says “I can do whatever I want to, it’s a free country.” Morbid curiosity on my part. She said she never heard that one.

    I think you probably just lit a fuse, Ska. Lets hope her parents don’t find out where she got that one.

  29. I’m sorry to be the bearer of sad news, but Moonlight has been canceled. Try to not rend your clothes in grief.

    NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

  30. Guy,

    You will never be more boob-traumatized (boobmatized?) than if you get on a feminist board and they get to talking about bras. Unless you’ve >150lbs, a FF bra is a frightening thing.

    (I’ve got nothing against the large ladies and I’m not thin myself, but if your bra could effectively bail out a flooded basement, push away from the fucking dinner table.)

  31. “women of size.”

    Please tell me that you’re making this up.

    Sadly, I fear that you aren’t.

  32. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

    Even though you heart is broken, you will be able to love again. Someday.

  33. Shit like this drives me nuts because my girlfriend is European and on an H1-B. Every time she goes anywhere near Customs I get paranoid.

    Look on the bright side. If you ever want to dump her, just tell the immigration folks that she’s been talking about assylum. Problem solved–and deported!

  34. Just tell me New Amsterdam got canceled. It made even less sense than Moonlight.

    Where the fuck is the new It’s Always Sunny in Phildelphia?

  35. assylum used to be a pretty cool bar in Adams Morgan. Anybody been there recently?

  36. Abdul, I like the way you think.

  37. Epi,

    Hot L Baltimore is gone forever too.

  38. JW,

    It gets 21,000 hits on google. It’s not super-common yet, but it actually being used in medical literature, so it’s just a matter of time.

    Also, welcome to the Fatosphere.

    (Be sure to check the links.)

  39. Fatosphere: It’s like Thunderdome, only with giant pies.

  40. New York Times as usual doesn’t tell the whole story. Something came up on this guy’s record that caused them to ask him questions. Italy is a visa waiver state, meaning that Italians coming across the border do not have to apply for a Visa and are not questioned when they come across the border. For whatever reason this guy got stopped and put in what is called secondary. The Times article doesn’t say why. It was not strictly his travel habits. That is not what generates a text record. It was something else.

    For whatever reason, this guy was inadmissible into the country. Maybe he is a criminal. Maybe the CPB has the wrong name and he is an innocent person and the victim of mistaken identity. I don’t know and neither does the Times or at least they are not saying. Once he is in secondary and the CBP agent believes that he has a credible fear of death if he is returned to his country, CBP is required by law to give him an asylum interview in his own language. They cannot at that point send him back to Italy. Now think about the position that CBP is in. Imagine the NYT article if they had sent the guy back to Italy contrary to the law and he had been killed there.

    Further, since he is inadmissible, they cannot let him go free into the country. Again, imagine the NYT article if CBP ever lets an inadmissible alien in at the border and that alien later goes on to commit some crime or act of terrorism. Once this guy voiced a credible fear of being killed upon returning home and he was otherwise inadmissible, CBP had no choice under the law but to put the guy into detention.

    It is real easy to say hindsight they should have let him in the country or sent him back to Italy contrary to the law. That is fine as long as you are willing to then not say a word when CBP lets someone in the country to do mischief or sends someone back to their country to their deaths.

    I would like to know what about this guy caused him to get taken into secondary and exactly what he said to the CBP that caused them to view him as an asylum seeker. Maybe he didn’t say anything and CBP decided to lock him up for fun, but I doubt it. My guess is that they were going to send him back to Italy, which would have cost this guy money for the plane ticket and ruined his trip and he thought of the brilliant idea of telling them that he couldn’t go back because he was worried he would be killed thinking that would get him through the border. If that is the case, then he shouldn’t have lied at the border. Regardless, if you don’t like this result, change the law don’t blame CPB for following it.

  41. I believe Assylum was replaced with a bar called The Manhole. May not be the same crowd.

  42. Also, welcome to the Fatosphere.

    (Be sure to check the links.)

    No thanks. One massive rationilation is my limit for the day. I’m 6’4″; does that make me a “man of height”?

    Still waiting for someone to explain to me whyt “people of color” is OK, but not “colored people.” (I know, lame, but semantic bullshit bugs me…)

  43. Imagine the NYT article if they had sent the guy back to Italy contrary to the law and he had been killed there.

    You mean like if they are from some country that does real-live-no-BS torture, but they want to go to Canada and Canada does not want them, so they get sent back to the country that issued their passport and then claim to have gotten the crap beaten out of them, so it is all the fault of the USA according to the NYT?

    Naaaaaah, they would never, would they?

  44. I believe Assylum was replaced with a bar called The Manhole. May not be the same crowd.

    Kinda like how The Foxhole became Freddie’s on 23rd in Crystal City? They changed demographics too, trying to attract new customers with rainbow flags and big pink plastic bird ornaments.

  45. But saying “women of inordinate volume” seems clunky. And saying “inordinate” feels “judgey” (did I just invent a word?).

  46. And people thought that Harold & Kumar movie was fiction.

  47. “Naaaaaah, they would never, would they?”

    And I am sure Reason would never say anything either. It is one thing to be skeptical of government. It is another to be eternally pissed off about everything regardless of the facts.

  48. So, just how are these big giant sloppy chicks being discriminated against? If the gay model guys they are always hanging around don’t want to “convert” then they need to take it up with them, not those of us who prefer almost-visible ribs.

  49. Imagine the NYT article if they had sent the guy back to Italy contrary to the law and he had been killed there.

    I have trouble imagining that because the conditions for a nation’s getting on the no-visa list include its not oozing asylum-seekers. Any claim of being in danger on return should have been pursued to certainty prior to refusing that return.

    Do I know for a fact that CBP works that way? Of course not. Not only do they prima facie suck because they are a government agency, but they want maximum latitude to do exactly the sort of thing they did here because, operating in a no-man’s land, they can.

  50. I don’t doubt that John is right, that this is being oversimplified, but I’d prefer a default of not locking people up without a damned good reason, particularly a European national.

    Let’s not forget that DHS hasn’t exactly sealed the border, so bad guys can come and go with impunity, even if they have to do it using sneaky means.

  51. Great job by the libertarian Homeland Security network. Their top priority is to keep this country snuggly and safe. My only regret is that the US military has not flattened Rome. Clearly that place is a breeding ground for freedom haters.

  52. “I have trouble imagining that because the conditions for a nation’s getting on the no-visa list include its not oozing asylum-seekers. Any claim of being in danger on return should have been pursued to certainty prior to refusing that return.”

    That is great but that is not what the law says. Once the guy voiced a fear of death upon returning to Italy, CBP had to give him an asylum interview regardless of where he is from. They don’t get to pick and choose who gets one and if they did you would be on here bitching and moaning about how they arbitrarily deny asylum interviews.

    If you don’t like the law, great change the law. From this day forward it shall be that only people you don’t like or only people from countries other than waiver countries are entitled to an interview or whatever the hell you want. But you cannot fault CBP for doing exactly what they were required to by the law.

  53. I guess it’s possible that a guy from Calabria could fear being killed by the Mafia. However, if you want to flee from the Mafia, the east coast of the US is probably not the best destination. Especially if you’re going to visit a known girlfriend and using your real name.

    Also, if this guy was a real bad guy, interested in coming here to do bad things, well, I hear that Italian criminals have ways of getting people and products across all sorts of borders without scrutiny. Supposedly they’ve even built up large organizations dedicated to that task…

  54. Also, there are all sorts of jokes about Italian accents. I wouldn’t be surprised if he said something else that made them think he was talking about being killed.

  55. “I don’t doubt that John is right, that this is being oversimplified, but I’d prefer a default of not locking people up without a damned good reason, particularly a European national.”

    That is the default position. Had he not been inadmissible for some reason, he would have passed right through. That is the issue here, why was he inadmissible? The scandal here if there is one is that a seemingly innocent guy was deemed inadmissible. I would like to know why. If the system is broke and the record was wrong, then the government ought to take the hit for that. But the NYT doesn’t ever speak to that. Something else is going on here.

  56. Oh, terran, the whole GWAT thing is just to annoy folks like you. Stop reading so much into it.

    Well, guy, once again you demonstrate what a combination of intelligence and mental laziness will get you.

    Yes, the Global War on Terror is not an actual attempt to eliminate terrorism from the globe.

    However, it is not designed to annoy me; it is to provide welfare (or more accurately workfare) for a significant portion of the population, while providing a plausible backdrop for demagogues to marshall ever increasing levels of political power.

    I lived in Turkey in the 70’s. My father was targetted for assassination by these guys. One of my playmates was blown up by a bomb planted either by them or by left wing terrorists – we aren’t quite sure whom because so many different groups claimed responsibility for every bombing and assassination that happenned during those dark years. I’ve seen real terrorism up close, and the U.S. “war” against that tactic is so laughably misdirected to the point of being self-defeating, that one can only conclude that it is a farce. The alternative is that most of the officers of the U.S. government are utter morons who couldn’t find their way out of the Vietnam war memorial without a talking GPS unit to guide them. While this is undoubtedly true of many people whose paycheck reads “Treasury of the United States”, it is not true of a majority of them.

  57. T-He’s a lawyer, perhaps INS kinda figured we didn’t need any more here? Of course, I’d take an Italian lawyer, mafia or not, over another urban planner any day.

  58. Great job by the libertarian Homeland Security network. Their top priority is to keep this country snuggly and safe. My only regret is that the US military has not flattened Rome. Clearly that place is a breeding ground for freedom haters.

    Is it just me, or is it reallllly hard sometimes to tell whether it’s really Donderoooooooo typing, or just a hideous parody of Donderoooooooo?

  59. Elemenope,

    Your (quite understandable) mistake is thinking there is a difference.

  60. The real Eric Dondero would never use a girlie word like “snuggly”: he’s too manly and full of piss-and-vinegar.

    Of course, if he had made reference to Itlay freeing the Achile Lauro terrorists…

  61. Dammit, how the hell did I press “Submit” when aiming for “Preview”?

    Shit.

  62. I don’t doubt that John is right, that this is being oversimplified, but I’d prefer a default of not locking people up without a damned good reason, particularly a European national.

    John is not right. He is speculating, wildly.

    This person had travelled to the US previously without a problem. He had volunteered with the local townspeople to help rebuild a rec center or something in the past and was a bit of an “attraction” with the local kids cuz he would play soccer with them and the such.

    From the article:
    The youngest son of a prosperous contractor in Calabria, Mr. Salerno helps out in his brother’s law firm in Rome and is able to visit the United States several times a year. Neighbors said he joined volunteers in refurbishing the Wessynton recreation center in 2006, then became one of its summer attractions, kicking a soccer ball with the kids and playing tennis with the adults.

  63. Everybody’s got size.

    Some more than others.

  64. terran,

    Well, guy, once again you demonstrate what a combination of intelligence and mental laziness will get you.

    And your astute sense of humor is as sharp as ever.

    Gonna start complaining on the OT women of side comments too?

  65. John: note that the guy claims he never said anything along the lines that he’d be in any danger in Italy. I can easily see this as being a case of the CBP folks misunderstanding his spotty English.

    Perhaps the CBP folks did everything correctly. Maybe Mr. Salerno actually did say he’d be in danger in Italy. I personally doubt it, but there’s no way for us to know exactly what was said. However, even if CBP did everything by the book, it’s a travesty that “the book” got Mr. Salerno tossed in jail for ten days, without so much as allowing him a phone call to his girlfriend.

    I see no good reason why this situation couldn’t have been cleared up within 24 hours.

  66. “John is not right. He is speculating, wildly.

    This person had travelled to the US previously without a problem. He had volunteered with the local townspeople to help rebuild a rec center or something in the past and was a bit of an “attraction” with the local kids cuz he would play soccer with them and the such.”

    I am not speculating on anyting. I know exactly how CBP works. They would not have sent the guy into secondary inspection without some record that showed him to be a risk. Now, it may be that the record was wrong. If so, then there is the scandal, not the fact that he ended up in detention. If he was legitimately inadmissible and was claiming asylum, CBP had no choice under the law but to do what they did.

  67. Bramblyspam,

    Don’t rule out the errant “my girlfriend/wife will kill me” comment.

  68. That is the default position. Had he not been inadmissible for some reason, he would have passed right through. That is the issue here, why was he inadmissible? The scandal here if there is one is that a seemingly innocent guy was deemed inadmissible. I would like to know why. If the system is broke and the record was wrong, then the government ought to take the hit for that. But the NYT doesn’t ever speak to that. Something else is going on here.

    The fact of the matter is that admission is based on the discretion of the customs agent. Maybe the customs agent was having a bad day, or maybe he hates italians. It seems much more likely, that this guy, who has been to the US on more than one occasion and farely recently, wasn’t “deemed inadmissible” by any system, but rather some dickwad customs agent with a need to feel superior decided to fuck someone over.

    It’s not like this customs agent faces any consequences. And if the system had deemed him inadmissible, one would expect ICE to be proudly saying that rather then just releasing him once the press started asking questions, no?

    And people are supposed to believe that “The youngest son of a prosperous contractor in Calabria” who has traveled back and forth many times was really seeking asylum — from Italy?

    Color me skeptical

  69. “Perhaps the CBP folks did everything correctly. Maybe Mr. Salerno actually did say he’d be in danger in Italy. I personally doubt it, but there’s no way for us to know exactly what was said. However, even if CBP did everything by the book, it’s a travesty that “the book” got Mr. Salerno tossed in jail for ten days, without so much as allowing him a phone call to his girlfriend.”

    That is a legitimate criticism of CBP. Unless you want to change the law to allow otherwise inadmissable aliens into the country after they claim assylum or send people back to their home countries who may face death once they get there, you really have no choice but to put them into detention. Why did it take 10 days to get this guy an asylum interview? CBP is completely underfunded and overwealmed with asylum applications. I am not surprised it took that long. The answer to this is better fund CBP and streamline the asylum interview process and for God sake let people have calls from detention.

  70. I am not speculating on anyting. I know exactly how CBP works. They would not have sent the guy into secondary inspection without some record that showed him to be a risk.

    Maybe you “know” how CPB works, but what you are presenting is a lie by omission.

    The following would seem to contradict the whole “without a record that showed him to be a risk” : (From the linked article)

    Though citizens of those nations do not need visas to enter the United States for as long as 90 days, their admission is up to the discretion of border agents. There are more than 60 grounds for finding someone inadmissible,

  71. “The fact of the matter is that admission is based on the discretion of the customs agent. Maybe the customs agent was having a bad day, or maybe he hates italians. It seems much more likely, that this guy, who has been to the US on more than one occasion and farely recently, wasn’t “deemed inadmissible” by any system, but rather some dickwad customs agent with a need to feel superior decided to fuck someone over.”

    That is not how it works. The Customs agents don’t just radomly stop people because they are Italian. There is a whole elaborate system that tracks people who are inadmissible. This guy ended up on that list. I don’t know why or how, but he did. The CBP agent didn’t just randomly stop him.

  72. And people are supposed to believe that “The youngest son of a prosperous contractor in Calabria” who has traveled back and forth many times was really seeking asylum — from Italy?

    Ah, he has an ITALIAN mom too? Now, you other doubters, try convincing us “Momma will kill me” could not possibly have been exclaimed by this guy!

  73. That is not how it works. The Customs agents don’t just radomly stop people because they are Italian. There is a whole elaborate system that tracks people who are inadmissible. This guy ended up on that list. I don’t know why or how, but he did. The CBP agent didn’t just randomly stop him.

    Bullshit, John. Border Patrol Agents have the discretion to stop anyone they deem “suspicious”. Why do you keep pretending like that is not a fact?

  74. OK, I’ve had it! This extremely rare anecdote from Nina Bernstein of the NYT has convinced me: open the borders NOW! Subsidized labor for all! All power to the chicken processors!

  75. “Though citizens of those nations do not need visas to enter the United States for as long as 90 days, their admission is up to the discretion of border agents. There are more than 60 grounds for finding someone inadmissible,”

    Yes and I don’t like Italians or I am having a bad day is not one of them. I am not saying the guy was unfairly denied admission. What I am saying is that we don’t know why he was denied and neither do you. You just pulling it out of your ass that he is the victim of some evil CBP agent because you don’t know any better. The NYT if they had been doing their jobs would have told us why and we wouldn’t be having this conversation.

  76. Still waiting for someone to explain to me whyt “people of color” is OK, but not “colored people.”

    It is a hold-over from the “people” first movement in the field of developmental disabilities.

    You used to talk about “Autistics” or “the Mentally Retarded” which, in essence defines the person AS the disorder. In an attempt to change the emphasis to the fact that these were people with dignity, a movement to change the practice was born.

    People first says you are a person (first) with a disability (second). Child with autism, person with mental retardation, etc…

    This makes sense in the context is was developed, but loses force in the racial context since you would have to use the phrase person with dark color for it to make sense.

    The older strategy, favored by many in the 1960’s was to emphasize that “black” is just an adjective by being sure NOT to capitalize it.

    A “black man” is a man who is black, incidently as opposed to a Black man who belongs to a grouping worthy of a proper noun, like Italian or English or African.

    It is the term “Colored people” capitalized that is offensive, but people have lost the details and are now incorporating an ineffective strategy to counter it.

    Too much detail?
    Sorry.

  77. I oppose flattening Rome, Ersatz-Eric. I haven’t been there, yet.

  78. Will cyborgs be called People of Metal?

  79. Will cyborgs be called People of Metal?

    Only after everybody gets used to Metal People.

  80. Yes and I don’t like Italians or I am having a bad day is not one of them.

    No, instead they lie and say the guy was asked for asylum.

    Spare me your apologist bullshit.
    The reality is that this guy was unfairly and improperly targeted and imprisoned for 10 days.
    And all you can do is find fault with the NY Times for not giving the government more benefit of the doubt?

    The NY Times can’t tell you why this guy was detained because CBP won’t tell you why. Because they probably have no legit reason to detain him.

    I ask AGAIN…if they had a legit reason, wouldn’t CBP have stated that fact when the Times talked to their spokeswoman?

  81. I ask AGAIN…if they had a legit reason, wouldn’t CBP have stated that fact when the Times talked to their spokeswoman?

    Depends on if the Metal People were involved. Aren’t you paying attention to where this thread is going?

  82. I am not saying the guy was unfairly denied admission. What I am saying is that we don’t know why he was denied and neither do you. You just pulling it out of your ass that he is the victim of some evil CBP agent because you don’t know any better.

    And you’re pulling out your ass the idea that there was some legitimate reason for him to go through this because, despite ample evidence these last many years, you STILL think government agents with too much discretion deserve the benefit of the doubt when an innocent person gets ground up in the system. Problem is, you can’t even say you don’t know any better; the best you can say is that you willingly blind yourself to the evidence.

  83. “…still officially not in the United States and therefore without legal recourse…”

    That is a very frightening phrase. Look in the Constitution. In very few places are rights or privileges accorded only to the American people, or only when on American soil. Mostly, the Constitution says that the government may or may not behave in a particular way, period. The government wants to be able to say that the Constitution doesn’t apply beyond our borders, or to foreigners visiting or living here, or especially foreigners who are detained on American soil but denied formal admission to the country. But that seems like a convenient fiction on their part, even though it has apparently been embraced by all manner of officials and jurists down through the decades. Just because nearly everyone has come, through the weight of time and tradition, to tell the same lies, doesn’t make those lies at all true.

    Part of “reclaiming our republic” is “reclaiming our Constitution”: the real, plain meaning of it instead of the often tortured parsings and fragile interpretations of it that successive waves of officials and their supporters have handed us. This requires every conscientious citizen to at least READ the document, which is fairly easy, owing to its brevity and its authors’ deliberate attempts to write it using plain language. I can’t imagine that anyone who had actually read and understood the Constitution would believe the quoted phrase above, and would instead be very suspicious of anyone who appeared to use it seriously as an assertion of fact.

  84. My cat is a person of fur. Or a furson of purr. Same difference.

  85. Technically, wouldn’t it be Metaled People?

    The language shift from “Negro -> Afro-American -> Colored People -> People of Color -> African-American -> (Whatever’s next)*” happens everywhere. “Idiot,” “moron,” and “imbecile” used to be medical terms, just like “retarded.” When they start to be used as insults, the language shifts.

    *I’ve heard grumblings, but I’m not sure what’s next.

  86. This discussion is not helped by the fact that it concerns a New York Times report; in my experience the NYT regularly leaves out large amounts of information from their news stories.

    These are also the guys who once captioned a picture with the statement “Despite the fact that the classes are free, long lines of people tried to sign up yesterday,” which encapsulates the inability to coherently analyze what data they do report.

    In other words, if one wants understanding of something, a New York Times article is about as useful as asking a 5 year old kid, “What happened?”

  87. I wouldn’t be surprised if he said something else that made them think he was talking about being killed.

    Something like “Crap! I only took four days of vacation, and now I’ve been in your pestilent police state for five days. My boss is going to kill me when I get back.”

  88. “And you’re pulling out your ass the idea that there was some legitimate reason for him to go through this because, despite ample evidence these last many years, you STILL think government agents with too much discretion deserve the benefit of the doubt when an innocent person gets ground up in the system. Problem is, you can’t even say you don’t know any better; the best you can say is that you willingly blind yourself to the evidence.”

    Jennifer that is because I have actually worked in government and know that most people who do so are not jack booted thugs looking to throw innocent people in jail. If you think the CBP is so bad, why don’t you go down to Kennedy Airport and talk to them and see what kind of a job they actually have to do on a day to day basis. At some point you have to grow up and take you tinfoil hat off and realize that the world is not as simple as you believed it was when you were 16.

  89. “This discussion is not helped by the fact that it concerns a New York Times report; in my experience the NYT regularly leaves out large amounts of information from their news stories.”

    That is exactly right. There is a reason why this guy got put into secondary inspection. The NYT leaves that out of ignorance or out of concern that the facts didn’t fit the narrative. The narrative is clearly the evil government did something wrong and the NYT is certainly not above leaving out facts that don’t fit the narrative they are pushing. I am very suspicious of this article. I don’t really trust the CBP, but I trust the NYT even less.

  90. SugarFree,

    There are some universal trends in language change. You start with a complicated term, let’s say “black skinned person from Africa.” That gets shortened as the phrase is used more frequently… to “black skinned person” which then gets lumped into a single semantic unit and shortened to “Black.” When you are talking about people’s identity, they may not appreciate the reduction to a single trait as a descriptor of who they are.

    The term that gets used, however, communicates a lot about the language group that uses it.

  91. Look, we’ll probably never know the real reason why this incident happened. The bureaucrats are in full CYA mode and will never talk. The bigger question is why something like this can happen in the first place.

    And, just as disturbingly, it is obvious that our border security will inevitably let the bad guys right on through the border, since they won’t look “suspicious” and will have figured out how not to set off any alarms.

    I remember back in the ’80s we used to make fun of the imperious border guards in the Eastern Bloc. I even got to see one in action personally 20 years ago. The guard on the Italian/Yugoslavian border just had to give our passports the big once-over and look scary, even though there was approximately 0% chance that we (and our precious dollars) would be denied entrance into Yugoslavia. And now the “Land of the Free” has our own set of imperious border guards. Wonderful.

  92. JAM,

    furson of purr

    I was once involved in a foursome of purr…

    😉

  93. This discussion is not helped by the fact that it concerns a New York Times report; in my experience the NYT regularly leaves out large amounts of information from their news stories.

    See my link above for more on the author of the NYT piece. That’s yet another thing I know, but Reason is clueless about or fails to inform their readers about. In fact, the first time I saw a report from her it was reprinted at another site, and I was actually surprised it was from the NYT and not the DailyWorker.

    Fun question: does it bother anyone that Reason has a habit of just ripping-and-posting, without bothering to look into the agendas of those who are telling them things and without doing things like reading studies or other reports before commenting on them? Wouldn’t everyone agree that’s pretty hackish?

  94. John, I find it rather astounding that you are defending one of the least accountable, lazy, shoddy, high-handed federal agencies there are. ICE deals with foreigners, pretty much–people who have basically no recourse to complain for bad service. ICE employees have virtually zero incentive to be polite or give a shit, and it shows.

    They are not all monsters or anything, but they are lazy government employees who have nothing whatsoever to fear from their “customers”; in fact, their “customers”, who often wish to enter this country or get visas or whatnot, are very afraid of doing anything wrong and being arbitrarily denied/deported/refused a visa/etc.

    Dude, I’ve seen the behavior of these people firsthand through my European girlfriend. They make the DMV look like Nordstrom’s. You might not want to expend your energy defending them.

  95. John-

    TEN FUCKING DAYS!

    For a person from a first world country speaking a non-obscure language.

    And with no action with even a god damn Senator getting involved.

    Any org who’s that much of a bureacratic clusterfuck should immediately have everyone fired.

  96. I was once involved in a foursome of purr…

    So you’re a furry. I should have known.

  97. Just so we are clear…

    The only problem with any of this is that the NY Times isn’t giving the government the benefit of the doubt, and because they are the LIBERAL NY Times (the same Times that sat on potentially embarrassing stories at the request of the Bush administration), they must be omitting something?

    Because you know, it’s highly unlikely that Border patrol agents would ever be over-zealous or incompetent or dishonest (what with all the Italian asylum seekers) or just drunk with the power of their wide range of discretion.

    I suppose if the NY Daily News or Newsmax printed this article word for word, John wouldn’t be as big an apologist?

    How sad to live in a world where everything is political and we ignore injustices because the source isn’t of the information isn’t perceived as being on the “right” side.

  98. and John what’s the god dam justification for this:

    an agent told her, “You know, he should try spending a little more time in his own country.”

  99. John, since no one else has pointed it out, I’d like to highlight a pertinent fact from the New York Times article (emphasis added):

    “Luis Paoli, a lawyer hired by the Coopers, said there was no limit on detention while waiting for an asylum interview. But even after officials agreed the asylum issue had been a mistake, Mr. Salerno was not released.”

    So by its own account, CBP screwed up when it refused to let Salerno fly back to Rome, but ICE was not prepared to remedy that error until threatened with publicity. Is it possible that CBP also screwed up when it refused to admit Salerno? It seems likely, since he had flown back and forth repeatedly without a problem before this incident. I agree that the reason for stopping him remains a mystery (a mystery the government has declined to clear up), but I’m not inclined to give the government the benefit of the doubt, which I guess is where you and I differ.

  100. They are not all monsters or anything, but they are lazy government employees who have nothing whatsoever to fear from their “customers”; in fact, their “customers”, who often wish to enter this country or get visas or whatnot, are very afraid of doing anything wrong and being arbitrarily denied/deported/refused a visa/etc.

    Come on now Epi,

    John WORKED with these people. He has special INSIGHT!

    Stop your disparaging of these honest hard working Americans who toil away trying to keep us safe from evildoers looking to invade our great nation.

  101. And I know I’m ranting here, but

    John

    10 days. Apr 29 to last Wed. No holidays. No natural disasters. In fact in the middle of the finest fortnight Washington has seen this year.

    There is no other side of the story.

  102. ohn, since no one else has pointed it out, I’d like to highlight a pertinent fact from the New York Times article (emphasis added):

    Mr Sullum, spare us your biased facts and liberal sourcing. I bet the Times made up that fact from whole cloth. This is the LIBERAL NY TIMES we are talking about. Only communists and America haters believe anything that is in the Times

  103. Cats aren’t people. Except when they are Cat People.

    James Anderson Merritt,

    My gripe exactly. Our government is in theory limited in its actions against persons in a number of ways. Only we’ve unpeopled “persons” quite a bit in our various Wars On _____?. Although I see some validity in distinguishing between people within our borders and outside of them, as a general rule, due process and other such fundamental rights should apply 99.9% of the time. I’m dubious that locking up a European national for ten days qualifies. Unless John is right, and there’s substantially more to the story than has surfaced so far. I could maybe see not letting him in and sending him back, but unless he really constituted an imminent threat, I don’t see locking him up.

  104. And ChiTom & Epi, I find the lazy and apathetic far more scary than purposeful evil. With the latter, at least there’s a logical strategy to which you can counter.

    With the former, it’s all random luck.

  105. John: that is because I have actually worked in government and know that most people who do so are not jack booted thugs looking to throw innocent people in jail.

    They may not be looking to, but here we are.

  106. CT,

    I bet the Times made up that fact from whole cloth.

    Or, perhaps the Times was quoting Luis Paoli, a lawyer hired by the Coopers, perfectly accuratly. Could have said exactly that. However, this is an even more biased source than the NYT reporter and editors.

  107. The asylum request is just Custom’s version of the broken tailight or following too close traffic stop. It is a BS pretext for doing what they had already decided to do anyway. The Customs officials had decided that this guy was going to be detained and the asylum request was their cover story.

  108. Too much discretion in the hands of people with too much power equals great ungoodness. Whatever the facts of this specific case turn out to be.

  109. Jacob,

    They should have let him out once they resolved the issue about Asylum. However, what does it mean for “officials to admit it was a mistake”? Who admitted it. Once you are stuck in detention only certain people have the authority to let you out. It would seem that this guy got caught up in a bureaucratic mess of getting the facts to the person in authority to let the guy out. What do they mean “refused to release him”? Did the person in authority say “fuck you rot because I don’t like you” or did someone say “your right this guy doesn’t have an asylum claim we need to get him out but I have to go to the person who has the authority to do that”. Yeah, that sucks and they ought to expidite procedures for clearing this up, but that is different than what the story implies which is that they are randomly locking people up for no good reason.

    What do you do to remedy that? Lets give lots of people the authority to let people out of detention? How about that? That is great until the wrong person gets out and then CBP gets killed for that.

    Yes, there is no limit on detention because what are the alternatives? We could let people go and make it such that anyone, regardless of background gets a free ticket into the country by merely claiming asylum at the airport or we could just send people back in some cases to their deaths. Those are our choices, which would you prefer?

    The government may not say but the Italian can say. What did they tell him when they put him into secondary? How the hell did someone come to think that he feared for his life in Italy? Maybe they just grabbed the guy and threw him into detention for fun. If you beleive that Jacob, I don’t know what else to tell you. But mayb just maybe this guy was stupid and trying to claim asylum as a lame brained way to get through secondary. Maybe the screwup was in the text record that put this guy into secondary. Who knows. It would have been nice if the NYT would have provided that information.

  110. Some of you are putting word’s in John’s mouth.

    John just pointed out that there were two potential sources of error: 1) when Salerno was targeted for extra inspection instead of letting him walk through as he had done in the past; 2) when the assylum determination was made. As a result of these two errors, John pointed out that CPB was legally bound to detain Salerno.

    John never said the errors were forgivable, just that they were errors that lead to a bad result for Salerno. Additionally, he implied that the inflexible decision tree leading to only one result (detention) was also bad.

    Lighten up.

  111. The thing that is abysmally stupid about the billions of dollars we spend on airline security is that it is a useless facade that inconveniences the traveling public and wastes tax money.

    Best case in point was the National Guard at LAX. Right after 9/11 these guys are standing around in fatigues with M-16’s and NO BULLETS. And everybody’s pissed at the LAT for pointing that out rather than the stooopid government for not giving them bullets.

    And while John is right, the average TSA guy isn’t a jack booted thug out to get you, just step out of line and see how fast the man takes you away.

    Sure it’s nicer when they smile and tell you to have a nice day. But that doesn’t change the fundamental relationship between citizens and our keepers.

  112. TWC,

    Maybe you should calm down before you get official visitors?

  113. Maybe we should give CBP the benefit of the doubt. I’m sure right now the response at the highest levels is to draft a legal document that says, in effect, …

    I do not wish asylum in the United States. I neither desire nor require the protection of the United States from my nation of citizenship, and with full understanding of all consequences I affirm that I would be safe returning to that nation.

    …and to translate it into the 100 most common languages in the world.

    Ha ha ha ha ha ha. No. I don’t think that is their response right now at all.

  114. …and to translate it into the 100 most common languages in the world.

    Don’t the Metal People have universal translators?

  115. Neu Mejican,

    There are some universal trends in language change. You start with a complicated term, let’s say “black skinned person from Africa.”

    I’m pretty sure that’s not the term anyone started with… rhymes with “Tigger,” I think.

    You’re right, and I understand why the language shifts, but when my students are shocked to see the word “Negro” all over 19th century newspapers, I have to explain to them at one point that it was the polite term and not a slur.

    Eventually all polite terms become insults to marginalized groups, and it’s people jumping the gun and screaming “racists” who are being assholes, not the poor crackers who are trying to keep up.

    (Of course, we could stop trying to divide homo sapiens up by race, but I don’t think that’s going to happen anytime soon… especially while victimology and white privilege have such a great time grinding away at each other.)

  116. SF,

    Um, isn’t the term “Negro” short for the scientific term for that race (Negroid?) and then got “slanged up” into the Tigger-ish word?

    Somehow Caucasian did not get that mangling, but wasn’t Oriental (now a ‘bad’ word) the same?

  117. Apologies for not remembering all that ‘scientific’ stuff about various pigment levels in skin.

  118. Thank you Abdul that is all I am saying. I would also point out the old INS was the only government agency that ceased to exist over 9-11. They took the lion’s share of the blame because they were the ones who let the 9-11 plotters into the country and didn’t do anything when they overstayed their Visas. Rest assured the next 9-11 will be blamed on ICE and CBP for not locking up the right aliens. Also, the poor bastard CPB agent who used his discretion to let Andrew Speaker in to the country wound up before Congress. They are truly in a no win zero tolerance for defect situation.

  119. All,

    The scientific term for cyborgs should be Homo sapiens adamans. Not to be confused with Homo sapiens adamant.

    I agree completely that most people in the system don’t mean to be tyrants, but we’re increasingly defining their roles so as to create tyrannical results. Honestly, doesn’t the news read more and more like The Trial?

  120. Guy,

    Niger is “black” in Latin, so the extra “g” came naturally, I think. It’s a fairly simple, almost scientific, descriptor until it gets turned into an insult.

  121. The problem isn’t with the word, it’s with the way it’s spoken. You can ban or shun a particular word, but dealing with an attitude is harder.

    When “colored” was in the word of choice, we got the “national association for the advancement of colored people”. When “black” was in favor, we got the “congressional black caucus”. For “Negro” we have the “United Negro College Fund”. As whites shifted to using each new word, the new words became perceived as insults and fell out of favor, so blacks had to come up with something new.

    Now we’ve apparently settled on “African-American” as the politically correct term (at least for now). The current term does have one big advantage: racist jerks have a hard time saying uttering that seven-syllable mouthful with an insulting tone of voice.

  122. Calm Down…

    Guy, good point, and the Old Lady threatened me with the couch if I said one word to the NG about bullets or anything else in a security line.

    DO NOT ruin our vacation! Keep your mouth shut

  123. Or if you’re Mrs TWC’s 92 year old grandma from Arkansas the word is Negra.

    Pronounced: Knee-Grah. And she means absolutely nothing derogatory about it, either.

  124. but that is different than what the story implies which is that they are randomly locking people up for no good reason.

    John-

    Except for the fact THEY RANDOMLY LOCKED UP A GUY FOR NO GOOD REASON!

  125. John just pointed out that there were two potential sources of error: 1) when Salerno was targeted for extra inspection instead of letting him walk through as he had done in the past; 2) when the assylum determination was made. As a result of these two errors, John pointed out that CPB was legally bound to detain Salerno.

    Uhmm…not quite. They weren’t legally BOUND to — but they did have legal justification to, if the saw fit. Quite a difference.

    What John is saying is that there HAD to be a legit reason to stop this guy because otherwise he wouldn’t have been stopped. (That’s some nice circular logic: The arrest proves that the guy was a threat….cuz they dont arrest people who aren’t threats)

    Some quotes:
    Something came up on this guy’s record that caused them to ask him questions.

    This is patently false. Nothing came up on this guy’s record.

    That is not how it works. The Customs agents don’t just radomly stop people because they are Italian. There is a whole elaborate system that tracks people who are inadmissible. This guy ended up on that list. I don’t know why or how, but he did. The CBP agent didn’t just randomly stop him.

    Uhmm..the guy was NOT on that list, regardless of Johns beliefs.

    These quotes don’t indicate that he was stopped in error — they indicate that John believes the questioning was in fact justified and that something must have flagged the guy.

    Even though John knows full well that border agents have A LOT of discretion to deny entry to anyone even if the “elaborate system” doesn’t mark them as inadmissable.

    John’s whole point is that this guy HAD to be inadmissible….and the fact that he was stopped proves it.

    John also seems to be saying the by virtue of the fact that its the NYTimes who is reporting this, the piece MUST be false…because well that’s what the Times does. Make shit up to fit their agenda.

    There is a reason why this guy got put into secondary inspection. The NYT leaves that out of ignorance or out of concern that the facts didn’t fit the narrative. The narrative is clearly the evil government did something wrong and the NYT is certainly not above leaving out facts that don’t fit the narrative they are pushing. I am very suspicious of this article. I don’t really trust the CBP, but I trust the NYT even less.

    What is this “reason” ?? Well no ones, not even the CBP spokesperson elaborated a “reason” for the detention (other than the obvious — a CBP agent excersized their discretion and decided to detain this person) — But there must be a legit raeson — because John doesn’t trust the NY Times and they must be lying.
    Our government would never detain someone for no good reason.

  126. They are truly in a no win zero tolerance for defect situation.

    Which is exactly why the need to be vigorously criticized for such stupidity and held accountable. When they’re needlessly hassling non threatening people, they waste resources and give the impression they’re working as hard as they can. Unfortunately, working hard isn’t the same as working smart.

  127. John is arguing that there is little or no malice or deliberate abuse of power in this case. And for all I know he could be right.

    What I think happens is that most of the people in the system have this attitude that “Look, I’ve got a job to do, procedures to adhere to, orders to just follow, so why can’t people understand that? Why can’t they just be more cooperative with me? I’m just following my orders, it’s my ass on the line if I screw up, so just be patient and let me do my job.” Meanwhile, some innocent guy is trapped in the system.

    Every system has a workaround, and if the people working in the system cared a little more about the innocents who get trapped they’d be more diligent about finding those work-arounds and fixing problems ASAP. But if they’re main concern is to just follow orders without thinking about problem-solving, you get these sorts of quagmires.

  128. TWC,

    I believe the proper spelling is “Niggra.” As in “Neil doesn’t want a niggra in the White House, he just won’t come out and admit it like a man.”

    Bramblyspam,

    “Afff-ree-can [interstitial snort] Murkin?” Make sure to question inflect the American part and draw out the “African” as long as your regional accent will allow.

    Never underestimate the inventiveness of hatred.

  129. they indicate that John believes the questioning was in fact justified and that something must have flagged the guy.

    Should read:
    they indicate that John believes the detention was in fact justified and that something must have flagged the guy.

  130. Yes, there is no limit on detention because what are the alternatives? We could let people go and make it such that anyone, regardless of background gets a free ticket into the country by merely claiming asylum at the airport

    He didn’t want a free ticket, as far as I can tell.

    “And after hours of questioning, agents would not let him travel back to Rome”

  131. A parting gift until I return from vacation…

    Lucky White Girl: Marxist-Feminism for the 21st Century

  132. John is arguing that there is little or no malice or deliberate abuse of power in this case. And for all I know he could be right.

    This would be more believable if this poor guy had in fact been flagged by the system rather than the discretion of the CBP agent that got this guy arrested.

    Just following orders works if you have some orders to follow….just following orders doesn’t work when its your discretion.

    Isn’t the point of giving agents of the state discretion so that you don’t have to blindly follow orders and allow for common sense ?

  133. Following orders? This calls for going Godwin forthwith and forthrightly!

  134. Oh for fucks sake NutraSweet…

    John, you are totally deranged on this one. Stop digging.

  135. Sugar, thanks for the correction, y’all have a nice vacay, heah?

  136. Along with everyone else here, I don’t know what specifically caused the CBP to have this man detained by ICE.

    However, I have attended a talk by a CBP officer who told the audience that their unwritten goal was to keep as many people out of the country as possible – they 1)truly believe this makes the US more secure and 2)are deathly afraid of getting the blame for letting any terrorists/ne’er do wells in.

    Maybe the CBP thought the Italian lawyer was a mafioso – who knows?

    That said, I don’t agree with CBP’s assessment. I think America would be better off if it was still easy for people to visit, if for no other reason so they could see that most Americans aren’t as jackass as their government.

    That, and we could use those Euros, Yen, Rubles, etc.

  137. Tom-

    First, let me say that I’m not trying to make excuses. Rather, I’m trying to remove an excuse. I can believe that there was no malice here. My response to that is “So what?” If everybody stands around pointing at the flow-chart instead of finding the work-around to get this guy out of a quagmire, it still says something very disturbing about their character.

    You cited something above about a list of situations in which a customs agent can use discretion. Even with discretion, there are ways to use it, and the way one chooses to use it may reflect that person’s character as well as the nature of the organization. Somebody could, for instance, approach the job from the perspective of seeking reasons to deny entry, and looking for reasons to apply any of those criteria on the list that would lead to additional scrutiny. Alternately, somebody could look for reasons to admit people. Those two different mindsets lead to two very different outcomes.

    That is not a defense of the people in the system. The absence of malice might still give awful results if accompanied by the absence of compassion and common sense, coupled with an imperative to find reasons to deny entry lest you get in trouble for “not searching hard enough.”

  138. If that was really Dondero posting up there, it was a new low, even for him. I’ve questioned his sanity before, but if that was him, all doubt has been removed.

    The name links to his real blog, so I’m really curious.

  139. # Neu Mejican | May 14, 2008, 4:02pm | #

    # JAM,

    # furson of purr

    # I was once involved in a foursome of purr…

    # 😉

    Sounds fearsome, Neu, or at least fursome!

  140. Thoreau,

    I don’t know if there was malice or not, and quite frankly, it is of no concern to me whether the actions of the CBP was malicious or not. The results are the same regardless of intent.

    My beef with John is that he isn’t merely arguing intentions — which by the way I haven’t attributed intentions of any kind to anyone — it is that he is claiming, as fact, that this person was detained because the system marked him as inadmissible or that the detention was in fact valid, but the LIBERAL MEDIA is ignoring inconvenient facts that don’t fit a preferred narrative.

    To prove his point, he points to the fact that the guy was detained because he KNOWS “they don’t detain you without a valid reason”. (Trust him — he has worked with them and he has the insight to tell you that the system is quite infallible and there are no rogue CBP agents who would ever abuse their position of authority.)

    This is utter nonsense. The fact that the CBP agents have discretion to deny entry above and beyond those deemed inadmissible (with 60 possible reasons to choose from to “justify” denying admission) seems to indicate that they CAN in fact detain you without a valid reason, on nothing more than the whim of the agent you have.

    Now it’s likely that most CBP agents are honorable and good at their job and care about the people that they deal with on a daily basis. None of that excuses this case, or the apologists who want to convince the rest of us that there HAD to be a VALID reason for the detention — and it’s just the LIBERAL MEDIA who is writing a hit piece against the poor honorable CBP and its agents.

  141. New York Times as usual doesn’t tell the whole story. Something came up on this guy’s record that caused them to ask him questions. Italy is a visa waiver state, meaning that Italians coming across the border do not have to apply for a Visa and are not questioned when they come across the border. For whatever reason this guy got stopped and put in what is called secondary. The Times article doesn’t say why. It was not strictly his travel habits. That is not what generates a text record. It was something else.

    For whatever reason, this guy was inadmissible into the country. Maybe he is a criminal. Maybe the CPB has the wrong name and he is an innocent person and the victim of mistaken identity. I don’t know and neither does the Times or at least they are not saying. Once he is in secondary and the CBP agent believes that he has a credible fear of death if he is returned to his country, CBP is required by law to give him an asylum interview in his own language. They cannot at that point send him back to Italy. Now think about the position that CBP is in. Imagine the NYT article if they had sent the guy back to Italy contrary to the law and he had been killed there.

    Further, since he is inadmissible, they cannot let him go free into the country. Again, imagine the NYT article if CBP ever lets an inadmissible alien in at the border and that alien later goes on to commit some crime or act of terrorism. Once this guy voiced a credible fear of being killed upon returning home and he was otherwise inadmissible, CBP had no choice under the law but to put the guy into detention.

    It is real easy to say hindsight they should have let him in the country or sent him back to Italy contrary to the law. That is fine as long as you are willing to then not say a word when CBP lets someone in the country to do mischief or sends someone back to their country to their deaths.

    I would like to know what about this guy caused him to get taken into secondary and exactly what he said to the CBP that caused them to view him as an asylum seeker. Maybe he didn’t say anything and CBP decided to lock him up for fun, but I doubt it. My guess is that they were going to send him back to Italy, which would have cost this guy money for the plane ticket and ruined his trip and he thought of the brilliant idea of telling them that he couldn’t go back because he was worried he would be killed thinking that would get him through the border. If that is the case, then he shouldn’t have lied at the border. Regardless, if you don’t like this result, change the law don’t blame CPB for following it.

    John makes a pretty good point…in fact I think he makes 3 or 4 good points.

  142. To prove his point, he points to the fact that the guy was detained because he KNOWS “they don’t detain you without a valid reason”.

    And the NYT KNOWS there was no valid reason…which is the exact same thing.

    John’s point is pretty clear…that no one knows jack shit from reading that crappy piece from the NYT but we sure get an impression of what the NYT wants us to think.

  143. And the NYT KNOWS there was no valid reason…which is the exact same thing.

    Uhmm…the Times interviewed a spokesperson from CBP and the spokesperson didn’t seem to indicate there was a reason.

    Also, once the press started sniffing around, the person was released.

    So if the choices are :
    1) there was a valid reason for someone who has been in and out of the US many times to all of a sudden be detained for 10 days, and then released when the press starts sniffing around and the CBP also just is choosing not to state that there were valid reasons to detain him.

    2) an over-zealous CBP agent abused his/her discretion and then the CBP went into CYA mode once people started asking questions

    I’m gonna go with 2. Every single time.

    But hey it’s the NY Times. IT MUST BE BULLSHIT. Riiiiiiiiiiight.

  144. joshua and John — your points are really clear…

    you hate the “LIBERAL” MEDIA and don’t trust the LIBERAL NY TIMES. We get it.

  145. Anyway to get away from watching Chicago Tom stuff lies into John’s mouth…

    I ask the following:

    What would a libertarian boarder look like?

    Do we have boarder people standing there asking non-citizens who they are and what the fuck are you doing here, or don’t we?

    And if we do what do we do to prevent potential abuse of power by the boarder people we hire who ask these questions?

  146. Also, once the press started sniffing around, the person was released.

    What I read was once a favor was called in from DC the person was released.

  147. the LIBERAL NY TIMES

    I am a liberal and let me tell you the NYT is no liberal.


  148. John makes a pretty good point…in fact I think he makes 3 or 4 good points.

    One last time:

    1) John:”Something came up on this guy’s record that caused them to ask him questions.:

    TFA: “their admission is up to the discretion of border agents. There are more than 60 grounds for finding someone inadmissible, including a hunch” (my emphasis)

    So there does not need to be anything in the record.

    2) John:”Once he is in secondary and the CBP agent believes that he has a credible fear of death if he is returned to his country”

    If CBP agent thinks that the Govt of *Italy* is out to get someone – and will kill them – he/she has no business working at CBP. They should be working for Alex Jones.

    3) John:”if CBP ever lets an inadmissible alien in at the border and that alien later goes on to commit some crime or act of terrorism”

    Well so much for the maxim of ’10 guilty men vs one innocent’

    4) John “CBP lets someone in the country to do mischief or sends someone back to their country to their deaths.”

    Again ITS GODDAM ITALY. Nearly all the Visa waiver progam countries are EU/Anglosphere members. Do people really think people request asylum from these sort of govt’s for legitimate reasons?

    5) John:”I would like to know what about this guy caused him to get taken into secondary”

    jc:”And the NYT KNOWS there was no valid reason…which is the exact same thing.”

    TFA: “Angelica De Cima, a spokeswoman for Customs and Border Protection, who said she could not discuss any individual case.”

    Well, CBP had their chance to explain their side and declined.

    Y’all’s hatred of the librul media should be tempered by Balko’s reporting, who shows law enforcement malfeasance is far more common than anyone expected.

  149. jc:What I read was once a favor was called in from DC the person was released.

    TFA:
    “Ten days after he landed in Washington, Mr. Salerno was still incarcerated, despite efforts by Senator John W. Warner, Republican of Virginia, and two former immigration prosecutors hired by the Coopers.”

    “Luis Paoli, a lawyer hired by the Coopers, said there was no limit on detention while waiting for an asylum interview. But even after officials agreed the asylum issue had been a mistake, Mr. Salerno was not released.”

    ” Ms. Cooper wrote in an e-mail message to The New York Times last Wednesday, prompting a reporter’s inquiries.

    Less than 24 hours later, immigration officials intervened and arranged to deliver Mr. Salerno to Dulles”

    So his lawyer, no. Other immigration govt insiders, no. A senior US Senator – from the same party as the executive, no.

    The NYT times asking questions

    Yes.

  150. Pro Liberate wrote, “…as a general rule, due process and other such fundamental rights should apply 99.9% of the time…”

    I think it goes even deeper than that. Most of our rights that we say are protected by the Constitution are acknowledged there by blunt prohibitions on government doing things that would violate those rights. So, when government argues that it should be able to engage in activities that violate rights when foreigners are involved, or when operating on foreign soil, it is actually arguing that the Constitution does not apply in these situations. But the Constitution protects people and their rights by restraining government, generally without qualification concerning the location or citizenship status of the person with whom the government interacts. So the Constitution applies EVERYWHERE our government acts, and in every situation. This means that the government is charged with respecting the rights of EVERYONE, with whom it deals.

    You can be the most humble peasant, halfway around the world, with little or no knowledge of the US and its system, but if and when the US government ever deals with you, THEY must respect your rights, at least as encoded and acknowledged in the Constitution, even if YOU do not need to respect or obey US law. Similarly, the power of US law to constrain citizen freedom ends at our borders. If you go to a place that has no law, or where things that are illegal in the States are permitted, the US government can’t touch you. But if they ever TRY to touch you, THEY must abide by the constitution and respect your rights, not so much because you may be a citizen, but because the Constitution says clearly what the government can and cannot do to people. That’s the way I read the document, anyway.

    Of course, many in the government have, for years, tried to sell us on the idea that US citizens have special, “constitutional” rights on the one hand, and on the other, that the US government only needs to obey local law, if anything, when operating in foreign lands. That’s all pretty much crap.

    The only rights that can be credibly reserved for US citizens are the ones described as, “the right[s] of the people…” I would think, for example, that a law or executive order to disarm a foreign population or even non-citizens living in the US (especially in time of war) would pass constitutional muster, as the 2nd Amendment speaks of “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” “The people” means “the US population,” basically citizens and resident aliens who are specifically under our protection and jurisdiction. But if congress passed a law to prohibit religious worship or restrict free speech or press in a country we occupied, that wouldn’t be constitutional, because the Constitution says “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press…” There’s no mention there of “the people’s” right to free speech or press, the location of religious worship, or the citizenship of worshipers. So these prohibitions must apply to government operation and policy with respect to all people, everywhere. Not that you’d conclude such a thing by observing how our government has actually operated in history (especially recent decades). But that is what the straightforward writing seems to say.

  151. What would a libertarian boarder look like?

    As has been hinted at by others, the biggest difference would be that US recognition of an entrant’s rights would not begin only after he passed through the border: They would begin outside the border and, in fact, wherever in the world he might be.

    In this particular case there is no way that a nonthreatening prospective entrant would be detained against his will unless he posed a clear danger. If there were some reason he could not be allowed entry — hard to believe for someone without record from a visa-waiver country — he would be allowed to return in peace and work out the problems through the US consulate back in his home nation.

    Any reason that’s not the way it should be today?

  152. I ask the following:

    What would a libertarian boarder look like?

    Do we have boarder people standing there asking non-citizens who they are and what the fuck are you doing here, or don’t we?

    Sure, ask them what they’re doing here.

    And if the answer is unacceptable send them back forthwith.

    But do not incarcarate them on US soil for an unlimited duration (unless they want to stay)

    If they want to go back to their country, let them leave.

    This is the fundemental problem with John’s assertions. Yeah a balance needs to be found to achieve justice, order, and fairness.

    But as soon as the dude wanted to leave, and we had no evidence from either his home country or our country that he was wanted for a crime, ship his ass back.

    Don’t jail him.

  153. joshua corning wrote:

    What would a libertarian boarder look like?

    Well, I’ve never rented out a room to a libertarian, but based on the appearances of most libertarians I’d say that a libertarian boarder would be male, a bit scruffy, slightly paunchy, and probably a software engineer.

  154. kolohe,

    I see many problems in implementing this scheme of yours…

    Starting with:
    If they want to go back to their country, let them leave.

    And if they don’t, but you don’t want them to stay? What is the next step?

  155. You used to talk about “Autistics” or “the Mentally Retarded” which, in essence defines the person AS the disorder.

    No, it is *claimed* to define the person as the disorder. In fact, it merely describes him.

    If it doesn’t define a person to call him “Irish” or “Negro,” then neither does it define him to call him “blind” or “deaf” or “disabled.”

    (BTW, whenever I’m driving to work with the radio on and I hear about a “disabled vehicle on the right shoulder of I-395,” I wonder why it isn’t a “vehicle with a disability.” After all, the car shouldn’t be thought of just in terms of its disability, should it?)

  156. What would a libertarian border look like?

    Well, I can tell you what the US Border crossing at Tijuana looked like 30 years ago. You rolled up to the border and the guy looked in the window of the car and said something like: Are you a citizen?

    Then after everybody said Yes, he might ask what city you were born in. Or he might ask where you were headed. Or he might ask if you had any dope. Or he might ask if you had anything to declare. On occasion he might ask for a driver license from the driver. Most likely, he just waved the car on through. Even if you were obviously of Latino heritage.

  157. Starting with:
    If they want to go back to their country, let them leave.

    And if they don’t, but you don’t want them to stay? What is the next step?

    Well, due process of law. You figure out if either they’re right (they stay) or you’re right (they get put on a plane and shipped back to they’re home country – at the point of a gun if necessary). But, they do have to stay Pamunkey while it’s being sorted out.

  158. NM-
    I should clarify my last that there should be very few conditions where ‘we don’t want them to stay.’

  159. James Anderson Merritt,

    No real argument from me. I hold these truths to be self evident, myself ? I suppose there’s some exception for war, though I agree that an occupation strains any such justification.

  160. I haven’t visited the USA since I retired here in SE Asia almost 3 years ago. I have always assumed that my USA Passport was an ABSOLUTE guarantee of returning. This might not remain the case. And, even if it is, the hassle of having to justify my existance to a border guard is bogus. My old, fat ass might not ever trod American soil again, but it is not much of a loss to me.

  161. Maybe he didn’t say anything and CBP decided to lock him up for fun, but I doubt it.

    I’m a little late to this party, but once again John is demonstrating that he is a worthless cunt who can’t wait to suck the cock of any authority figure anywhere.

    You have absolutely no evidence that there was ANYTHING that “came up on this guy’s record”. None. You’re blaming the NY Times for that lack, but for the moment that lack still exists. You’re choosing to assume that something existed on his record because you want to suck Homeland Security cock, preferably while bound and subject to electric shock, because that’s the kind of guy you are.

    And I bet he did say something. You know what I bet he said? I bet he told some official they weren’t being reasonable, so they decided to abuse him for 10 days. I have just as much reason to assume this – maybe more – than you do to assume there was something on his record. I can assume this because I can assume that CBP contains the same proportion of cocksucking fucks as every other branch of law enforcement and the federal government. Given the behavior of Homeland Security personnel at our airports, I am perfectly entitled to assume that they would choose to fuck with someone they thought was “disrespectful” by asking the wrong question or acting like they weren’t a piece of shit serf.

  162. What would a libertarian boarder look like?

    Not sure where all those other answers came from, but whenever Nick is asked about it he gives some variant on “completly open”.

    So, I would say the Big Libertarian border would be unmanned and unmarked.

    Expanding on that, airports would all be privatized and anybody with means to board an aircraft and navigate through the positive-control airway system could enter and move about the country unmolested by busybody federal forces.

    The seaports would be the same.

    So, in the Libertarian Utopia, anybody with any form of transportation could enter the country unchallenged.

    I continue to use the small l for my outlook description.

  163. In non-libertarian circles they would be considered an unlikely couple. He seems OK looking,athletically fit, AND (trumpet!) from a “prosperous family in Calabria”. She’s fat and homely.

    I see a strong likelihood of some ulterior motives.

  164. There is also no due process for foreigners applying for visas at US consulates abroad. A consular official can deny a visa at his/her discretion. On a hunch. Of course, there would be problems if the consular official was dumb (really crazy) enough to admit that he denied someone entry because of racial, ethnic or religious bias.

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