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Should citizens (not dual) be refused entry into their own country?
August 28, 2006 9:58 AM   Subscribe

Two U.S. (not dual) citizens refused entry into their own country. Backhanded attempt at removing citizenship, or just another foolish way to remove oversight from potential terrorists?
posted by Kickstart70 (46 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
"They've been given the opportunity to meet with the FBI..."

Such a pleasant way to put it eh?

Seriously, if they think they are planning a crime, arrest them charge them. If not, wellllllll, one would think technically law enforcement would be sol.

I know this has been going on for awhile, but anyone know when the FBI started operating overseas? I was under the impression their mandate was US soil (guess I was wrong).
posted by edgeways at 10:06 AM on August 28, 2006


" ... the teenager had run afoul of the FBI when he declined to be interviewed again without a lawyer ... "

Well, there's the problem. These people know too much. (about their rights, that is)
posted by mr_crash_davis at 10:09 AM on August 28, 2006


So what is the deciding factor? Number of genes in common?

What if an investigative journalist spent months in Pakistan coming into contact with lots of questionable folks in his or her pursuit to write an in-depth story about terror?

Would they also be barred re-entry to the States?

Is familiarity with wrongthink a crime unto itself now?
posted by CheeseburgerBrown at 10:10 AM on August 28, 2006


I wonder ... is there a no-sail law? See what happens when you sail in, guys ...

Or ... what happens if they fly to Canada and then cross the border? Is there a no-walk law?

"They can't be compelled to waive their constitutional rights under threat of banishment," Mass said. "The government is conditioning the return to their home on cooperation with law enforcement."
About sums it up.
posted by kaemaril at 10:19 AM on August 28, 2006


Should citizens (not dual) be refused entry into their own country?

No. But America is a pretty shitty country now, so it's not all too surprising.
posted by chunking express at 10:23 AM on August 28, 2006


I can't wait to see someone try to defend this. Note that none of those choices include sending them back to another country.
posted by Kickstart70 at 10:27 AM on August 28, 2006


Is there a no-walk law?

I know from walking over the bridge from Mexico, a white person can just come right in declaring they are a citizen of the US. Brown people are required to show ID. Mexicans crossing the border with a visa usually are not checked against the computer unless their identity card looks altered. I'm certain someone with Middle East or Asian features would be scrutinized and not allowed to enter if they were on some sort of govt list. Or even if they weren't on the list.
posted by birdherder at 10:31 AM on August 28, 2006


birdherder: Not only that, but I (obviously white, and a blonde friend) walked across from Ciudad Juarez to El Paso. We're Canadian and they didn't even look at our ID.
posted by Kickstart70 at 10:37 AM on August 28, 2006


I'm not going to defend this, but maybe this is all due to them refusing an FBI visit and things seemed to get way, way out of hand after that?

I mean, there's no way an american citizen should be barred from entering the US, but they do have close family ties to someone convicted of a crime against the country -- seems like having a chat with them would be one precaution before entry (just like how I had to talk to a customs agent at length when I came back from Canada without a passport).
posted by mathowie at 10:41 AM on August 28, 2006


Why can't the FBI just talk to them once they are back in the US?
posted by owhydididoit at 10:48 AM on August 28, 2006


I mean, there's no way an american citizen should be barred from entering the US, but they do have close family ties to someone convicted of a crime against the country -- seems like having a chat with them would be one precaution before entry (just like how I had to talk to a customs agent at length when I came back from Canada without a passport).

If only these policies could be applied with a blind eye...
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:48 AM on August 28, 2006 [1 favorite]


Compare and contrast with the treatment of the bin Laden family after 9-11. Whereas those non-citizens related to the most notorious terrorist in the world were escorted safely out of the country without interviews (they weren't people of interest?), these US citizens are barred from the country on no grounds whatsoever.

on preview: yeah, WTF is going on!
posted by sonofsamiam at 10:50 AM on August 28, 2006


I think most of you have been confused by the headline, which is incorrct.

They have not been denied entry - you have to get to the US to be denied entry. They have been barred from flying to the US - so this is a No Fly List case.
posted by Jos Bleau at 10:55 AM on August 28, 2006


Matthowie: I'm not going to defend this, but maybe this is all due to them refusing an FBI visit and things seemed to get way, way out of hand after that?

She said the teenager had run afoul of the FBI when he declined to be interviewed again without a lawyer and refused to take a lie-detector test.

Sounds like this 'visit' is more of an interrogation than a cosy little chat over coffee. Why should the FBI be worried about someone they want to question having a lawyer present, I wonder?
posted by kaemaril at 10:59 AM on August 28, 2006


Jos Bleau : Why I suggested a boat or Canada, dude :)
posted by kaemaril at 11:00 AM on August 28, 2006


Backhanded attempt at removing citizenship, or just another foolish way to remove oversight from potential terrorists?

Yes.
posted by StrasbourgSecaucus at 11:04 AM on August 28, 2006


I know from walking over the bridge from Mexico, a white person can just come right in declaring they are a citizen of the US. Brown people are required to show ID.

That has not been my experience. They have never asked for my ID. I think sounding American is generally sufficient.
posted by dame at 11:25 AM on August 28, 2006


Oh Lord, stuck in Lodi Pakistan again
posted by tsarfan at 11:43 AM on August 28, 2006 [1 favorite]


Re: “no fly list”
“The father and son were forced to pay for a flight back to Islamabad because they were on the government's "no-fly" list”
The U.S. forced them to expend resources to comply with law enforcement before they were/are allowed what is their constitutional right. If a cop pulls you over and you have a passenger who is wanted on a warrant he is not entitled to impound your vehicle and imprision you or otherwise deny you the right to return to your house and force you to pay to get your car returned merely because of your association with a wanted criminal. Nor can the police deny you access to legal counsel in this way (oh, sorry boy, there aint no phone around here for miles and miles, guess you will have to stay in prison).

What we should ask is why the FBI - with myriad agents who know the law, would pull a bullshit end run like this. Now I grant the FBI as an organization has not always maintained complete respect for the law. But in this case (as has been said above) it is obviously more efficient and effective to keep an eye on these guys (perhaps bug their house or tap their phones - reasonable enough for a person of interest) than it is to tip one’s hand like this. And really, they’re American citizens, how hard can they be leaned on? Obviously there is plausible deniability (’Oh, we didn’t electrocute their testicles, the Pakistanis did that when our guys all went out for coffee). But then you have American citizens being denied what would otherwise be their rights under questioning either way. And they cannot simply be released after that to return to the U.S. (I’m nervous about what this is going to cost us in lawsuits now, much less the denial of their rights after this) because this cannot stand as policy.
Constitutional issues aside - this is where the ‘law enforcement fighting terrorism’ rubber hits the road. The reason (in my estimation) that the FBI is operating this way is because they have not been given the resources to run viable intelligence based operations. Were this a military intelligence operation, perhaps this kind of thing could be done - for example if these were suspected terrorist foreign nationals. Perhaps it might even be successful (I’d argue against it though).
But because they are not, they fall under domestic jurisdiction. However the same M.O. is being followed here and the reason for that seems to be that this is what is being modeled by those on high in the community. The obvious rights issues here aside, this kind of heavy handedness is not the proper way to run an investigation. At some point the bluff fails (if bluff it is) and your pidgen says “charge me or let me go.” Well, this is one form of leverage the FBI seems to feel (’cause they’re sure as hell not THINKING about it) they have to get information. I’m not arguing honey over vinegar here (although that’s often true as well). I’m arguing that there are diminishing returns on the application of force (unconstitutional force especially) on someone that you do not have a solid case on. It might not seem that way to the Feds right now because the costs are being borne by the taxpayers (and civil rights enthusiasts).
If the choice is between using the carrot and the stick, and you don’t have a stick - don’t pretend you have a stick because at some point you either have to really become the fist in the dark and bring out the black mariahs. But they don’t need to. They have all the tools they need. They should start devoting time, energy and skullwork to ferreting out accurate information through undercover work and real investigative techniques. But that takes money/resources up front, doesn’t it? Versus the ‘x’ factor on how much this kind of thing will cost us in lawsuits (et.al) and ultimately human resources, civil liberties, etc. etc. etc.
Seems to me folks in a democracy might vote themselves bread, but these security circuses seem to have been thrust upon us.
posted by Smedleyman at 12:08 PM on August 28, 2006


/sorry for the grammar errors, wrote that a bit fast
posted by Smedleyman at 12:12 PM on August 28, 2006


We must, however, be protected from sword carrying masked terrorists pole vaulting in basements.
posted by Smedleyman at 12:20 PM on August 28, 2006


They are probably best off flying to Canada or Mexico and then driving across the border. AFAIK, the No-Fly list doesn't extend to Canada and it's meaningless to enforce if you drive across the border.
posted by JJ86 at 12:53 PM on August 28, 2006


Because of the way the eastern border is drawn, it's rare that a flight from most of the northern hemisphere doesn't fly over American territory into Canada. Heck, even many flights from Vancouver to Toronto fly over the U.S.
posted by Kickstart70 at 1:08 PM on August 28, 2006


okay, great. now I am really freaked out.
posted by krautland at 1:50 PM on August 28, 2006


anyone know when the FBI started operating overseas? I was under the impression their mandate was US soil (guess I was wrong).

As I understand it, the FBI's mandate includes investigating crimes committed by or against Americans, either at home or abroad.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 2:16 PM on August 28, 2006


These guys are not the only ones.
posted by amberglow at 2:36 PM on August 28, 2006


Do you have a source to back that up?
posted by oaf at 3:03 PM on August 28, 2006


nope--because we don't know who's been rendered where and what nationality they all are/were.

and if a 9/11 detainee can be held for 5 years in Brooklyn without charges, i'm reasonably certain there are US citizens being held other places without oversight and US citizens of foreign birth who have also been refused entry. We'll never actually know tho--not us and not the ACLU.
posted by amberglow at 3:45 PM on August 28, 2006


Neither Arar nor Benatta is a U.S. citizen.
posted by oaf at 4:01 PM on August 28, 2006


AFAIK, the No-Fly list doesn't extend to Canada and it's meaningless to enforce if you drive across the border. - JJ86

Because of the way the eastern border is drawn, it's rare that a flight from most of the northern hemisphere doesn't fly over American territory into Canada. Heck, even many flights from Vancouver to Toronto fly over the U.S. - Kickstart70

In case it isn't clear, Kickstat70 is saying - correctly - that the American no-fly list can affect Canadians flying from one Canadian destination to another. For every flight that enters American airspace, a passenger list is forwarded to US authorities. Unless something has changed recently, this happens without the passengers knowledge or permission.
posted by raedyn at 4:08 PM on August 28, 2006


Neither Arar nor Benatta is a U.S. citizen. - oaf

True. Arar was a Canadian citizen & resident who was on his way home to Canada, was allowed a visit from a Canadian consul & when asked where he'd like to be deported to, he said Canada. American authorities sent him to Jordan, where he is not a citizen at all.
posted by raedyn at 4:20 PM on August 28, 2006


American authorities sent him to Jordan, where he is not a citizen at all.

Actually they flew him to Jordan, then drove him to Syria. Where he was born, and could be a dual citizen? That article doesn't really say, and I'm too lazy to look it up.

As for this case, it's altogether confusing. So, is the younger one on the no-fly list because his cousin said he "like, probably went to a camp because he memorized the quran"?
posted by antifuse at 5:12 PM on August 28, 2006


Actually they flew him to Jordan, then drove him to Syria.

According to Arar's account, Americans dropped him off in Jordan & Jordanians took him to Syria.

Yes, he was a citizen of Syria but was carrying a Canadian passport and had a wife and chidren in Canada and told American authorities that he had reason to belive that he would be tortured if deported to Syria.

I'm not relying on my memory, I looked it up before the first time I posted.
posted by raedyn at 5:58 PM on August 28, 2006


Between this, this, Guantanamo, and extrordinary rendition, it's getting harder and harder to believe that things aren't going to get really, really bad here in the next decade.
posted by EarBucket at 6:27 PM on August 28, 2006


What the USA did with Arar was criminal, antifuse. There's no getting around it.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:31 PM on August 28, 2006


If it gets too bad, the media will stand up for our rights. What, me worry?
posted by luckypozzo at 6:47 PM on August 28, 2006


FBI's core mission (and current #1 priority) is to protect and defend the United States against terrorist and foreign intelligence threats and to enforce the criminal laws of the United States. They often partner with other governments.

"In Pakistan, our Legat team worked with local police to solve the brutal murder of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl. The FBI’s forensic examination of a laptop computer seized by police led to the capture and conviction of Omar Sheikh and his co-conspirators. Without a physical presence in Pakistan, or such a high level of cooperation from the local authorities, we might not have been able to bring these criminals to justice... These partnerships are not a fad; they are a new way of doing business. In this global era, we are all interconnected—law enforcement and intelligence agencies, private citizens and multi-national corporations. What happens to one of us will affect all of us."
YMMV.
posted by Smedleyman at 10:34 PM on August 28, 2006


When I looked at this story, a US immigration ad popped up right next to it. Become a US citizen and so you, too can be denied entry to the US!
posted by Poagao at 12:19 AM on August 29, 2006


What the USA did with Arar was criminal, antifuse. There's no getting around it.

Dammit, I knew I needed a <small> saying "not trying to defend, just trying to clear up a few things". Regardless of who actually drove him from Jordan to Syria, his final destination was Syria, not Jordan. I felt like raedyn was obscuring things slightly by not mentioning the fact that he did end up in a country where is, in fact, a citizen (which makes it somewhat different from this case, along with the fact that he's not a US citizen). That's all I was trying to say. I think it's repulsive what they did to him, and if I was judging the case I'd give him 20 million dollars and a gold rocket car. And a chance to give Dubya a good old fashioned Australian booting.
posted by antifuse at 2:09 AM on August 29, 2006


I don't think it's just a matter of being on the no-fly list:
Federal authorities said Friday that the men, both Lodi residents, would not be allowed back into the country unless they agreed to FBI interrogations in Pakistan.
Who the fuck would consent to being interrogated in Pakistan by FBI strongarms (in cooperation with the local equivalent) working on foreign soil and therefore feeling free to do things the way they do them in Pakistan?
For example, Zain Afzal and Kashan Afzal, U.S. citizens of Pakistani origin, were abducted from their home in Karachi in August 2004 by Pakistani intelligence agents. They were released on April 22, 2005, without having been charged, after Human Rights Watch intervened. During eight months of illegal detention, the two brothers were repeatedly interrogated and threatened by U.S. FBI agents operating in Pakistan, and were subjected to torture by the Pakistani security services.
posted by pracowity at 2:47 AM on August 29, 2006


I felt like raedyn was obscuring things slightly by not mentioning the fact that he did end up in a country where is, in fact, a citizen - antifuse

Mea culpa. I get kinda worked up about the Arar case. When I read oaf's comment that Arar is not a US citizen, it sounded like a defence of what happened to him. I'm annoyed at the suggestion that it's okay for US authorities to treat Canadians this way. I realize, after a good night's sleep, that's probably not what oaf meant, only that Arar is off topic, which he is. I'll tone it down a bit.
posted by raedyn at 7:32 AM on August 29, 2006


"If they're going to err, they're going to err on the side of caution," Barr said. "What's happened in a lot of these things is that you're guilty until proven innocent."

Here I always thought we tried to err on the side of freedom and civil rights. Me so dum.
posted by phearlez at 7:53 AM on August 29, 2006


raedyn posted:In case it isn't clear, Kickstat70 is saying - correctly - that the American no-fly list can affect Canadians flying from one Canadian destination to another. For every flight that enters American airspace, a passenger list is forwarded to US authorities. Unless something has changed recently, this happens without the passengers knowledge or permission.

From this April 2005, Washington Post article, there were plans to force airlines to adopt this procedure but I can't find any follow up article to determine if this was ever made a requirement.

"We are currently considering a measure that would require foreign carriers to vet their passenger manifests against the 'no-fly' list and 'selectee' lists on overflights," said TSA spokeswoman Yolanda Clark.


I ran across one article from January where a Canadian traveling to Mexico was sent back to Canada under RCMP guard after being on the no-fly list but it was a gray zone and was not specifically due to any regulations. The TSA website sheds no light on any regulations regarding this.
posted by JJ86 at 9:11 AM on August 29, 2006


Puts this AskMe in perspective.
posted by Mitheral at 10:54 AM on August 29, 2006


Still more unchecked powers for the Bush administration
posted by homunculus at 2:49 PM on August 29, 2006


Technically the US is not banning them from taking a ship back home. The issue is with the concept of the no-fly list itself, and these people are not the first affected by that, nor, probably, the last.
posted by splitpeasoup at 3:34 PM on August 29, 2006


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