Monday, July 2, 2007

Another European Muslim Denied Entry into the US

Update 07/02:

The family of Mr. Isakjee issued a statement today, you can read it here.

Update 07/01:

Since I posted about this, some people have forwarded me articles or even stories of their own experiences or of their relatives. You are more then welcome to do so, in fact since this is work related you can send it to my work e-mail address- that way we can keep track of these trends.

One very interesting article I got was on Yahoo- and I think it will be good to see this develop because it is a way to clear people's names, however, there is no way to take your name off any Government list if you happen to find yourself on there. But it seems DHS will be will soon be requiring 10 digital fingerprints when entering the country, as well as other biometric data, such as facial and eye retina scans.

Wright said data was collected on visitors under strict U.S. privacy protection rules, and that the new 10-print scan would not take more time than the current check — usually about 10 seconds.

The prints are checked against U.S. security watch lists drawn up by U.S. Homeland Security and other policing agencies. The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Central Intelligence Agency also have access to the prints, Wright said.

The 10-print scans would be "virtually 100 percent match accurate," he said.

"We are going to know that that's you," Wright said. Future changes include adding other biometric identifiers — such as facial or retinal scans — to better rule out fraud, he said.

But the issue is privacy and what the government will do with this information. It almost seems that this will be the first step toward requiring such "Big Brother" techniques to US citizens themselves. You ease people's fears by applying things to the "other" and soon the citizenry will become the "other" and accept it. What is further upsetting is that 34,000 people were turned away because of being on some "government watch list". It falls in with the whole notion that fewer and fewer international tourist will want to visit the United States.

Update 06/30

Unfortunately, with no explanation Mr. Isakjee was denied entry and sent back. He must now apply for a visa with the US embassy, however, he will not be able to get a future visa, having been turned away and not knowing why or how to remedy this- the US embassy will deny him his request and he will never be able to visit his family in the United States.

I believe it is one thing for the government to turn people away, however when there is no way to clear one's name it is against the tradition and values that have made America so great. We allow people the opportunity to clear their name to force the government to "prove without a doubt that the individual is 'guilty'". This may not apply in a situation where entry is denied- in fact legally the US owes very little rights to people it denies entry to.

However if this is a 'War on Terror' and part of this is to win over the hearts and minds of Muslims around the world, then this behavior is only adding to "physical" losses we are now faced with in Iraq. This constant humiliations, harassment and beseeching of guilt only lends to the feelings that this is a "War on Islam and Muslims" and the further marginalization of any good will amongst Muslims around the world.

It is no wonder that less and less people from around the world are visiting the United States:

Visiting the United States isn't as popular as it used to be mainly because of delays and difficulties in getting visas, long lines at customs and aggressive promotional campaigns from other countries.

Travel executives told a Senate panel Wednesday that people are going elsewhere for those reasons. And long lines at Customs were blamed for the U.S. losing out on the 2007 Pan American Games to Brazil and a big concern for the U.S. Olympic Committee as Chicago and Los Angeles compete for the 2016 Olympics.

You can read the article here.

However, many on the Right will probably see this as a good sign, keep them darn "aliens" out (laugh). But think of this

Lawmakers and travel executives are working on strategies to boost international tourism, which contributes $1.3 trillion and 7.3 million jobs to the U.S. economy, according to the Travel Industry Association.
No, if anything, this is exactly the time that the United States needs to, must be connected to the rest of the world and not see itself better then everyone else.

Update 6/29 12:45PM:

Barabara Morgan from the British Consulate in LA confirmed that Esakjee was allowed to finally call his family and speak to them. It has been close to 16 hours since he arrived to LAX. Around 230AM, he arrived at 8AM, an agent by the name of Miller informed the family that the "interview" (interrogation) had ended and that they had decided to deny him his visa waiver. He now must be denied entry and sent (shipped) back home. The agent also claimed that it was the British that had requested a denial of entry- Morgan strongly denied this and said that it is not in their jurisdiction to have the United States government do anything of the such. When confronted Miller changed stances and said that they can not share "sensitive" information.

To me it seems like its all a joke. No wonder there are less people coming to the United States to visit during their vacation. If hearing or being treated like second rate citizen is the norm then I wouldn't want to visit that country either.

Can some one find the article, it came out earlier this week...


(LOS ANGELES, CA, 6/29/07) - The Greater Los Angeles area chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-LA) has been informed that a Muslim citizen of the United Kingdom is being held following his arrival yesterday on a flight from London. CAIR-LA is investigating the reason for the man's detention. The 57-year-old man is reportedly scheduled to be returned to Britain on a flight later today.

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