Brit and US immigration procedures are getting nastier. Homeland security and illegal immigration are legitimate concerns, but the Law of Unintended Consequences leads to the harassment of easy targets – people like you and me. This practice is eroding essential alliances and the governments should stop them.
A previous post deplored the US photographing and fingerprinting Brit families visiting Disneyland.
The UK is also doing terribly – here’s a story from the August 27 print edition of the UK Spectator.
A 50 year old Australian woman was visiting friends in the UK and Europe. Because of the EU, Australians are now treated as aliens by the UK, and so she had a 6-month visitor’s visa. In the UK she stayed with friends and in July made a brief visit to other friends in France. On returning to the UK she was stopped at immigration.
For five and a half hours (immigration officers) …bullied and humiliated her, rifled her personal correspondence and belongings, eventually arriving at conclusions so utterly wrong that they would be laughable if they weren’t so sinister.
The immigration officers read her personal correspondence without her permission, threatened her with a cavity search, and prevented her from making any calls – she couldn’t contact the friends waiting to meet her, let alone a lawyer. Then they sent her escorted by an armed cop to a plane to be deported back to France.
She didn’t find out why until the plane landed, when the captain passed her a sealed envelope he’d been given by the armed guard. This contained an unsigned statement.
According to it, she had a four-month visa, which had expired, when in fact she had a six-month visa which was still valid. The statement claimed: “you have been staying with…an old school friend for whom you help with domestic duties in return for free accommodation and food. During your stay you have also cared for children for cash, accommodation and food.
The cash part was wrong, but the rest was correct – she’d stayed with friends and helped out around the house. Just like we all do when we visit friends. But immigration had interpreted this is as working on a tourist visa.
She was OK – in France, eight customs men met her.
(She) feared another humiliation. But they were hugely sympathetic. “This is ridiculous” they said when she told them her story. “We like Australians. You are welcome to stay here”.
So she’s spending the remainder of her European vacation in France. How come our allies have to rely on the French for decent treatment?
Bureaucrats don’t operate in the market, so their employers manage them by setting targets.
For example, the Brit government set up an agency to collect alimony from deadbeat dads, giving it a monetary target. The agency found the deadbeats hard to catch. So they obtained a retrospective law change that ignored any property gifted by the ex-husband to his ex-wife in the computation of alimony, so enabling the agency to raise required alimony payments. The agency met its numbers from these soft targets and the deadbeats escaped.
The same thing happened to the Australian. Brit immigration probably has monthly targets for deportations. But if they harass too many non-whites, the Brit race relations lobby will roll into battle. If they harass EU citizens the EU will make a fuss.
So that leaves non-EU non-minorities as soft targets – allied citizens from places like Australia and the US.
Immigration officers are not accountable. If they hassle you, nobody can help – in the example above, the Australian Embassy in London later said they there was nothing they could have done.
Bottom of the Barrel
Anglo economies have low unemployment, so it’s hard to hire educated people for poorly paid immigration jobs. Adding poor education to the controlling personality type that gravitates towards this work is a recipe for abuse.
*****The Brits say they only deported 315 of the 819,000 Australians that visited in 2003. But judging by this case, the number is now much higher. And how many Australians do they interrogate for every deportation? Perhaps 10? If the number deported is now 1000 a year, that’s 10,000 extremely unhappy Australians, who’ll spread the horror story to perhaps another 100 friends, relations and colleagues. That’s 5% of the population, every year.
That’s how alliances crumble, and why Australians no longer call the UK the Mother Country.
The Prime Minister and President should stop this abuse immediately.
Not to deter you from traveling to the UK or the US – just make sure your visit is short, you have all the right visas, and a return ticket!