The Guardian: Teacher, Children’s Author and Citizen Stopped at US Border

The Trump administration promised extreme vetting to prevent terrorism. A first step was an attempt to ban travelers from seven Muslim nations, quickly blocked by courts. Still, travelers describe intrusive questions, delays and rude behavior from border agents, the Guardian reports. A British Muslim schoolteacher, traveling to New York for a school trip was in his words, “treated like a criminal,” detained and removed from a plane in Iceland. “The trip proceeded as planned but pupils and colleagues …were left shocked and distressed after the maths teacher, who had valid visa documentation, was escorted from the aircraft by security personnel,” reports Steven Morris. Agents detained US citizen Muhammad Ali Jr. and repeatedly asked about his religion. Agents also detained Australian children’s author Mem Fox, questioning her visa category. Fox describes a crowded waiting room, where occupants could not use their phones and poorly trained agents shouted questions. “The belligerence and violence of it was really terrifying,” writes the author who was on her 117th visit to the United States. “I had to hold the heel of my right hand to my heart to stop it beating so hard…. In that moment I loathed America. I loathed the entire country…. I got over that hatred within a day or two. But this is not the way to win friends…” – YaleGlobal

The Guardian: Teacher, Children’s Author and Citizen Stopped at US Border

The Trump administration insists there is no Muslim ban, but reports of obstruction and harassment go on – and travelers, even US citizens, must know their rights
Tuesday, February 28, 2017

University of Wisconsin law professor Asifi Quraishi-Landes offers recommendations for US travelers and emphasizes “etiquette, politeness, and composure”:

1. Tell them you are an American citizen.

2. Tell them you’ve identified yourself.

3. Ask to speak to their supervisor.

4. Tell them you want a lawyer (have ACLU, CAIR, or your lawyer’s number with you)

5. Tell them you believe you are being religiously profiled. You MUST be allowed entry as an American citizen and you do not need to answer questions about how you pray or what you believe in.

6. Do not sign anything – nothing.

7. If they try to make you reboard an airplane, sit down on the ground and go limp if they try to lift you. Never hit or push.

8. Keep asking for a lawyer.

9. Make sure someone knows your complete itinerary. Make sure someone is waiting for you at your destination or knows to expect you.

10. If you wish, email your name and itinerary to: Attorney groups at your destination airport will be notified, just in case. Even if you aren’t a refugee, it will allow them to route you to an immigration attorney if you need one.

Read “Border Agents Stopped Muhammad Ali Jr. Here’s How We Can Fight Back” by  Moustafa Bayoumi for the Guardian.

Also read “British Muslim Teacher Denied Entry to US on School Trip” by Steven Morris and “Mem Fox on Being Detained by US Immigration: “In That Moment I Loathed America,” both from the Guardian.


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