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United States Government Transportation United Kingdom Politics

US Stops British Muslim Family From Boarding Flight To Visit Disneyland (theguardian.com) 704

An anonymous reader writes: U.S. authorities blocked a British Muslim family from boarding a plane at London's Gatwick airport. They were flying to Los Angeles on a trip to visit Disneyworld. "U.S. Department of Homeland Security officials provided no explanation for why the country refused to allow the family of 11 to board the plane, even though they had been granted travel authorization online ahead of their planned 15 December flight." This comes at a time when prominent groups and individuals within the U.S. are arguing in favor of blocking entrance for all Muslims. The refusal, and the U.S.'s unwillingness to explain, is raising concern within the UK government. The family is out $13,340 for their plane tickets.
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US Stops British Muslim Family From Boarding Flight To Visit Disneyland

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    FTFA

    A British Muslim family heading for Disneyland was barred from boarding a flight to Los Angeles by US authorities at London’s Gatwick airport...

    Wow, is it true? The US "authorities" have pretty long arms.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Britain will do whatever the US wants them to do and more.

    • by MichaelSmith ( 789609 ) on Wednesday December 23, 2015 @06:36AM (#51170613) Homepage Journal

      US bound airlines submit lists of passengers to US authorities before departure. Anybody the US won't accept is not allowed to board though the strange thing here is that these people had all applied for visas in advance, and had them approved.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        That doesn't ring true. The UK does not need visa approval for US travel. Anyone with a British passport is part of the visa waiver programme, allowing entry to the US for up to three months (plus another three with an extension if you're rich enough), per year. The exception to this are those on the banned list, i.e. criminals and those with suspect pasts from other countries.

        There's far more to this story that the click-bait summary.

        • by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Wednesday December 23, 2015 @06:49AM (#51170661) Homepage Journal

          The UK does not need visa approval for US travel.

          This is not about visa travel. This is about the unconstitutional DHS no-fly checks.

          • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 23, 2015 @07:06AM (#51170739)

            > This is about the unconstitutional DHS no-fly checks.

            Heh. But it's abroad, so the US constitution doesn't apply, right? As in Guantanamo?

            Folks -- the situation is so fucked up that there are no words to describe it. And it's deteriorating at a vertiginous pace. And we are all happily working on making it worse.

          • by dcw3 ( 649211 )

            This is about the unconstitutional DHS no-fly checks.

            Based upon what article?

          • by mysidia ( 191772 )

            This is not about visa travel. This is about the unconstitutional DHS no-fly checks.

            Non-US-citizens don't have a right to free travel in the US, so the use of the list to control entry/exit by non-citizens would be constitutional.

            It's unreasonable to block air travel after approving the Visa; however. Unless there is significant logically valid concern about a specific passenger, the authorities should not be blocking people willy-nilly; However, the authorities need the right to do so when the sit

          • As an aside, what are your views on the usage of the no-fly list in vetting gun sales idea.

            • As an aside, what are your views on the usage of the no-fly list in vetting gun sales idea.

              It violates both the second and fifth amendment.

              I am not against basic and sensible gun control. That means somewhere in between California and nothing. I am in favor of background checks, with certain caveats; I'm not really sure that this government is qualified to determine who is sane enough to own a firearm, nor that the DSM is an apt basis for classification. I don't really think civilians need auto-fire weaponry, and frankly you can't prevent them from owning the parts to convert their weapon anyway

        • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 23, 2015 @06:55AM (#51170685)

          The UK does not need visa approval for US travel. Anyone with a British passport is part of the visa waiver programme.

          We Brits don't need visa's, but do need to apply for ESTA (Electronic System for travel Authorisation) from the US in advance, even if we are using the Visa Waiver. This is what the family had done, and been granted travel approval.

          • ESTA seems like a pretty lightweight check. Also, if I remember correctly it's valid for 1-2 years or so and it can be used for multiple entries, unless they've changed that. Given the level of paranoia, I can imagine that they want to perform an additional check against the passenger list. What I really wonder is against what data and which criteria this check is performed. The ESTA form and any additional data provided by the airlines do not exactly give detailed insight. Maybe it's just about having
        • by starless ( 60879 ) on Wednesday December 23, 2015 @07:06AM (#51170733)

          That doesn't ring true. The UK does not need visa approval for US travel. Anyone with a British passport is part of the visa waiver programme, allowing entry to the US for up to three months (plus another three with an extension if you're rich enough), per year. The exception to this are those on the banned list, i.e. criminals and those with suspect pasts from other countries.

          Yes, but those on the visa waiver program do need to apply for this in advance of travel via the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA)
          https://travel.state.gov/conte... [state.gov]

        • by Tx ( 96709 ) on Wednesday December 23, 2015 @07:19AM (#51170771) Journal

          The visa waiver is not automatic, you have to apply to travel via ESTA. That can be denied, in which case you have to apply for a visa. It's not just "criminals and those with suspect pasts" that are denied authorisation via ESTA, there is little transparency about why the DHS flag people, and sometimes it seems almost random. Don't forget that Ted Kennedy got put on the no-fly list by the DHS, and there was never any explanation other than that it was a "mistake". You can bet there are a lot more such "mistakes" for people with arabic-sounding names though, and for people who aren't US senators, the chances of the mistake ever being corrected are low.

        • by Alioth ( 221270 ) <no@spam> on Wednesday December 23, 2015 @08:41AM (#51171029) Journal

          You don't need a visa but you *DO* need to be pre-approved for travel to the US by the ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) which they were. So they had applied for travel authorization in advance, and been granted authorization.

          It's not just Muslims - there was a man deported on arrival a couple of years ago because he had used a particular turn of phrase in British English (which is entirely non-threatening in British English, but interpreted as a threat by the US immigration service) on a twitter message. This showed before the Snowden stuff came out plenty of evidence that the US not only trawls social networks, but has mechanisms to match a Twitter pseudonym to an actual live person. Snowden merely confirmed what we could infer already from incidents like this.

      • by bwcbwc ( 601780 )

        They had applied for "authorization" in advance, which isn't the same as a visa.

        My guess is that this is related to the changes to the Visa Waiver program where people with dual citizenship no longer qualify to use a Visa Waiver. I don't understand why that can't be explained though.

      • Not really strange at all. If they wanted to make an arrest, or just get them in for questioning. Telling them OK, come board, is a perfect way to make sure they can be approached and apprehended without a gun battle. If they are serious terrorist, like the US apparently thinks, they could very well be ready for the government to storm their abode (and would not be planning to let they take them alive and without bloodshed). They last terrorist group had stockpiles of guns, ammo, and explosives. A siege of

    • by NostalgiaForInfinity ( 4001831 ) on Wednesday December 23, 2015 @06:45AM (#51170639)

      The screening is done at boarding time not because US authorities have long arms. US authorities have no jurisdiction over who does or doesn't board in the UK. What they are saying is "we won't admit this passenger if he shows up at the US border", Since the airline doesn't want to be stuck with passengers with no place to go once they arrive at the US border, they won't even let you board the flight if you wouldn't be admitted.

    • by ledow ( 319597 )

      Not really.

      The US - and any other country in the world - has the power to stop people entering official flights into their country. It's quite a basic right. We're actually considering it now for Donald Trump.

      It's not that the UK "cooperated" with this or anything. The US refused them entry to a flight to the US. I've seen similar things done because the guy in question was someone who didn't have an official visa who they suspected of working illicitly, so they threw him out of the US before and we was

    • All the overseas airports I've seen recently have a dhs station before you board. Us imperialism ftw. Also, the summary mixed up Disneyland and disneyworld. Get it right!

    • by Xest ( 935314 )

      "A British Muslim family heading for Disneyland was barred from boarding a flight to Los Angeles by US authorities at Londonâ(TM)s Gatwick airport...

      Wow, is it true? The US "authorities" have pretty long arms."

      It wouldn't be unusual, I cleared US security at Canada's Ottawa airport once. I cleared British security in Prague and in Narvik, Norway some years ago, closer to 9/11.

      Many of the security-paranoid states in the world have security positioned outside of their own territory in foreign airports th

      • by Alioth ( 221270 )

        Actually it has benefits for passengers too. The DHS doesn't have this in the UK (it's likely airline staff denied the boarding, not DHS staff). But they do in Dublin. You clear US customs and immigration in Dublin, so on a Dublin to US flight you arrive in a domestic terminal having already cleared customs/immigration. This means you're much less likely to get held up and miss a connection and can have a shorter layover.

    • I'm not going to bother replying to those below, but: "Uh, why yes. You need to get out more. Or at least, read non-US news sources every once in a while." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

      I can just imagine the grand-standing and filibusters in Congress if Canada (gentle, kind, peaceful Canada!) suggested installing polite, respectful Canadian Customs officials in 'Mercan airports, eh.

  • To summarize (Score:5, Informative)

    by vikingpower ( 768921 ) on Wednesday December 23, 2015 @06:57AM (#51170695) Homepage Journal

    ..what I need to do, as a European, before being able to get into the US: get a ticket, and better pay that with a credit card (if I pay cash, officials at the airport will ask the hell out of me why I paid cash and annoy me with a very tough security check), pay with a credit card some entry fee, at least 3 days ahead of travelling. Let DHS pat me down upon arrival. Of all these things, only getting a ticket makes sense to me, the rest is security-craze-inspired overhead. Solution: I don't travel to the US anymore. My life is easier that way. If a US-based customer wants to meet, tough luck. I now have as solid a reason not to fly to the US anymore as I have not to go to Saudi Arabia, although the nature of the reason is different. Well done, America !

    • Re:To summarize (Score:4, Insightful)

      by NostalgiaForInfinity ( 4001831 ) on Wednesday December 23, 2015 @07:30AM (#51170801)

      Solution: I don't travel to the US anymore. My life is easier that way.

      I don't think most Americans care.

      I now have as solid a reason not to fly to the US anymore

      You'd be amazed at how many Americans don't travel to Europe either because it's too much hassle.

      • What hassle? Last time I went to Europe I was pretty much just waved through customs. When I visit the US, the most stressful part of the trip is going through customs, you never know if the border guard's having a crappy day and might just unload on you. Happened to me once - after questioning me for 10 minutes and then spending another 5 literally yelling at me, he lets me through but not before threatening to bar me from the US for 5 years for a minor paperwork error. Joke's on him though, that soure

        • Re:To summarize (Score:5, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 23, 2015 @07:49AM (#51170843)

          The hassle is returning to the US.

          Last time I traveled from the US the only part of the trip that gave me a giant hassle was returning home. Pretty much everywhere else was just "scan your passport and go" but the US sent me through a two hour line to get through customs (as a citizen, mind you, there was a different "non-citizen" line) that combined with a delayed flight meant I missed my connecting flight home. Which I then had to go through a giant hassle to rebook because while the (foreign) airline I booked the flight through rebooked me on a new connecting flight, the US-based airline handling that flight refused to give me a boarding pass for that new flight. So then there was a second round of arguing with ticketing agents while jetlagged.

          And that was before I had to go through US airport security because foreign airport security doesn't count and the international terminal was a separate part of the airport than the domestic terminal anyway.

          It's the same with visiting Canada - getting into Canada as a US citizen is fairly easy. Returning to the US is a couple of hours as you deal with US customs.

        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward

          > What hassle? Last time I went to Europe I was pretty much just waved through customs.

          I wasn't. I have a big fierce black beard, and my face is a summary of Spain's invasion by the Moors and its' effects on European culture, and I had on a big blue cloak made of polar fleece. They did eventually pass me through, but we wound up spending quite a bit of time as he tried to give me the hairy eyeball. I kept expecting Nobby Nobbs to walk into the room and try to steal my pocket, and for them to call on Cap

        • Re:To summarize (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Alioth ( 221270 ) <no@spam> on Wednesday December 23, 2015 @10:45AM (#51171733) Journal

          I got that going into Dallas from the immigration officer. First off there were only 3 immigration desks for an entire B767 load of people. Fortunately, for a change, I was near the head of the queue. Now I normally went direct to Houston (where I worked) and Houston had never been a problem, they looked at my visa, asked a two questions or so about my work (I was on an L1 visa) and stamped my passport. But Dallas was another story. The immigration officer was surly and demanded to see my L1 petition. Fortunately I carried it in my hand luggage, and he looked at it and told me "This is a copy. Give me the original" (it wasn't a copy, it had the ink stamp clearly visible of the US Embassy). When I told him he said it was up to his judgement whether he could let me in and next time I may be deported.

          Let's not get into the US Embassy in London. When I got the visa I had to go for an "interview". This consisted of sitting in a huge square room with a bunch of other people for about 4 hours. They give you a number, like a supermarket deli (probably the same system!) and you go up when your number is called. The numbers are called in seemingly random order, so you can't read the book you brought because you suspect if you miss your number they won't call it again and they will force you to schedule a new interview. They also leave these "newspapers" around as reading material called "Going USA", the first half of which is dedicated to people who immigrated to the US saying how awful your home country is and how awesome it is they immigrated into the US and are now running a gas station, and the last half is dedicated to how we're not going to give you a visa anyway. Anyway, so my number was called some 4 hours after I got it. The officer asked me one question "how long have you worked for $COMPANY". I told him. That's all he wanted to ask. We could have done it by phone, or he could have requested that from my employer, but instead I have to waste hours travelling to London and back to be asked a simple question with two word answer.

          But that's not the best one. Eventually my visa was converted to an H1 to extend my stay a year. It was approved in the US, and all the paperwork was done in the US, but because I had a vacation home I had to get a new visa put in my passport. The US Embassy in London does this. There's another form (requesting all the information you've already supplied to the INS) that the embassy wants. My employer game me the form and I filled in the few things that my employer didn't (basically the same questions on the visa waiver, including the one about "moral turpitude"), enclosed it with my passport. They refused my (already approved!) visa application because they said this form was out of date. So I go to the US Embassy's website and download the new form.

          It is Exactly. The. Same. To the letter, *apart* from the issue date at the bottom. Exactly the same. Of course now I have a non-refundable flight ticket that I can't use because another round-trip time of my passport to the embassy means I have to wait another 10 days.

          I think part of the problem is these immigration jobs attract certain type of "little Hitler" personality. I'm not saying all the immigration officers are like this (the ones in Houston for example have never been anything except professional and polite). It's not just the US that does this either. My next door neighbour is Albanian and she's exactly the sort of person we want to come to our country - she's well educated, she's an engineer, fluently speaks three languages - but was treated to a degrading Kafkaesque experience by the UK immigration authorities when she was moving here.

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        I'm sure Americans working in tourism will care.

      • >

        You'd be amazed at how many Americans don't travel to Europe either because it's too much hassle.

        Hassle as in NOT have to pay $15 in advance entry fee? Or Hassle as in NOT have to get a visa? Or hassle as in only have to flick your passport once at the destination airport and then being able to travel to ~20 other countries without a single border control?

        Could you give an example of what you're referring to?

        And don't blame it on Europe if the "hassle" is only in obtaining a passport because US bureaucracy is as swift as a 70s banana republic's. That's homemmade.

      • by dcw3 ( 649211 )

        Solution: I don't travel to the US anymore. My life is easier that way.

        I don't think most Americans care.

        I now have as solid a reason not to fly to the US anymore

        You'd be amazed at how many Americans don't travel to Europe either because it's too much hassle.

        You'd be amazed how many Americans don't fly much anymore because of the TSA bullshit, and the fact that with the added delays, you can often drive somewhere as fast as you can fly, and cheaply with current fuel prices. For me, anything that's less than an 8 hr. drive isn't worth even looking at air fares.

        For the record, I've traveled to Europe, and found it to be no more hassle than flying inside the U.S. What hassle do you speak of?

      • by arth1 ( 260657 )

        You'd be amazed at how many Americans don't travel to Europe either because it's too much hassle.

        You'd be amazed at how many Americans don't fly or take trains inside the US anymore either, because it's too much hassle.
        Any travel that takes less than a day by car, even if it's a 12 hour drive, is better done that way. You might even arrive faster, and with your luggage and sphincter intact.

    • Your experience at the US border will depend a lot on the airport. Kennedy was the worst: long lines and surly staff. Houston had long lines but polite staff. The immigration guy at Miami was downright cheerful and I breezed through the whole process. I never got patted down upon arrival. When leaving they did pat me down (lightly) but the DHS guys were generally polite and efficient. Much unlike Schiphol airport (Amsterdam), where security staff is downright rude and the Marechaussee (passport contro
  • Give a reason (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 23, 2015 @06:59AM (#51170709)
    Radicalization starts when you treat people badly and word gets around. That family probably loved America. Not any more. The bad press incidents like this generate only fuel negative perceptions. Border guards: If you want the world to hate America, mission accomplished.

    The more fans America has around the world, the better. Border guards need to learn how to do their jobs without needlessly pissing people off. https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]
  • Sounds like bullshit (Score:5, Informative)

    by Muros ( 1167213 ) on Wednesday December 23, 2015 @07:02AM (#51170715)

    FTFA: "He said that the airline told them that they would not be refunded the $13,340 cost of their flights. They were also forced to return everything they bought at the airport’s duty-free shops before being escorted from the airport."

    EU law states that:
    If you are denied boarding or your flight is cancelled or overbooked, you are entitled to either:

            transport to your final destination using comparable alternative means, or
            having your ticket refunded and, where relevant, being returned free of charge to your initial departure point.

    http://europa.eu/youreurope/ci... [europa.eu]

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Kjella ( 173770 )

      The FAQ is making it clearer what is meant:

      Do I have any rights if I am not allowed to board my connecting flight because I arrived late at the gates due to a delay with the first flight?

      If the delay to the first flight was within the control of the airline, then you are entitled to compensation for denied boarding on the connecting flight.

      You have to read it in context, you don't get a refund for not checking in on time, not being at the gate including behind held by security, not having the necessary travel papers like passport and visa or anything else that's not the fault of the airline. That you don't have valid travel papers is not such circumstances, that the US government might have led you to believe you did is not the airline's fault.

  • Each time the US block entry it has to give a justification. if it does not, it has to reimburse 100% of the trip expense. Maybe then that would cut some of the bullshit.
  • I feel for them (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 23, 2015 @07:10AM (#51170751)

    Im a UK citizen, im not religious and I am a family man. Stripping back all of race/religion side of this I put myself in their place.

    If I have worked hard to save the money up to take my family on holiday, my children are excited to go do what would probably be a once in a life time experience for them. We fill in all the forms get visa do everything by the book. Then on the day just when we are about to get on the plane get told sorry you cant come, oh and all that duty free stuff you have we will be taking that, escorted out like criminals then told oh by the way all that money you worked so far for and paid? your not getting it back.

    I would be livid if it happened to just me, I would be would be enraged if it happend to me and my partner, but then to destroy my childrens hopes I would so angry it would be beyond describing in polite converstation.

    I would be kicking off to everyone and anyone. I don't care if it politically embarrases heads of state or not. So good on this family for doing the same. Race or religion may or may not have been part of the reason for this but putting that asside no family deserved to be treated in such a manner and if unless you think it would be acceptable for you and your family to be treated as such then its not ok for this family.

    I for one hope they get some explanation for this and if its not a good one they damned well better get appologise refunds and someone should make it up to those kids.

  • by RDW ( 41497 ) on Wednesday December 23, 2015 @07:10AM (#51170753)

    This just in: according to sources there is strong evidence that one of these travellers had links with a terrorist network in Agrabah:

    http://time.com/4155228/amierc... [time.com]

  • by ebonum ( 830686 ) on Wednesday December 23, 2015 @07:20AM (#51170773)

    I was just talking to a guy from India. He was born in India, but holds an Australian passport. He owns his own software company, and he's very successful. Not too long ago he landed in California. He plan: Go look around. He heard it was a great place. It was his first time to the US. At the boarder they pulled him because he couldn't tell him definite plans for his stay in the US. They questioned him for hours, denied him entry and sent him back to Australia. This is a rich guy who speaks perfect English.

    My point is: they should be grateful to be turned back in while still in the UK. They could have ended up making the flight for nothing.

    btw. Revealing a reason helps the terrors.

  • false premise (Score:4, Interesting)

    by NostalgiaForInfinity ( 4001831 ) on Wednesday December 23, 2015 @07:22AM (#51170781)

    A British Muslim family heading for Disneyland was barred from boarding a flight to Los Angeles by US authorities at London’s Gatwick airport amid concerns of an American overreaction to the perceived terrorist threat. US Department of Homeland Security officials provided no explanation for why the country refused to allow the family of 11 to board the planeeven though they had been granted travel authorization online ahead of their planned 15 December flight. Senior politicians have been drawn into the case, warning that a growing number of British Muslims are being barred from the US without being told the reason for their exclusion.

    The implication of the article is that somehow US authorities are discriminating against this family because of their faith. Obviously, that's false, since there are large numbers of Muslims traveling to the US every day.

    The actual reason may be anything from insufficient funds to cover a family of 11 to documented terrorist connections. Would it be better for US authorities to provide reasons and let people know earlier? Of course. Is there any kind of obligation to do so? No.

    Note that the UK bans people from entry for no other reason than that they voice unpopular political views, so the UK government is hardly in a position to criticize other nations over arbitrary exclusions.

    • Re:false premise (Score:4, Informative)

      by Sesostris III ( 730910 ) on Wednesday December 23, 2015 @08:11AM (#51170909)
      As far as I know, the UK will at least tell you why you are banned.
    • > The implication of the article is that somehow US authorities are discriminating against this family because of their faith. Obviously, that's false, since there are large numbers of Muslims traveling to the US every day.

      There is nothing "obviously" false about this. Racism doesn't have to be applied 100% for it to be a very real force in American culture, any more than H1B visas have to be granted for every job in America to depress salaries for technology people in the USA.

    • by dywolf ( 2673597 )

      why quote something if youre not even going to read it?
      from your own quote: "a growing number of British Muslims are being barred from the US without being told the reason for their exclusion".

    • by JBMcB ( 73720 )

      Note that the UK bans people from entry for no other reason than that they voice unpopular political views, so the UK government is hardly in a position to criticize other nations over arbitrary exclusions.

      Wasn't there a story a few years ago about the home office denying someone entry after they had arrived at Heathrow, simply because he was visiting London and had no concrete plans of what he was going to do?

      The list of people barred from entry to the UK reads pretty bizarre, too:
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

      Martha Stewart? Busta Rhymes? Michael Savage?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 23, 2015 @08:08AM (#51170899)

    I don't care about muslim psy-ops fairy tales. But a few days ago the korean teenage girl pop band "Oh My Girl" was detained for 12 hours and then sent home from LAX, because US border control searched their luggage and decided they must be underage sex workers, based on the wardrobe they brought for a photo-op and a concert.

    The incident was pretty big news in Asia, BBC News covered the story twice and even the infamously anti-korean japanese otaku sided with band members. (Who doesn't like kawaii kittens?) US diplomacy salvaged the incident by stating the girls were turned back for not having an appropriate type of employment-allowed visa, even though South Korea is on the visa lift list.

    For details and photos, see:
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsbeat/article/35071156/k-pop-group-oh-my-girl-detained-at-la-airport-on-suspicion-of-being-sex-workers
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsbeat/article/35101815/k-pop-group-oh-my-girl-had-wrong-visa-says-us-customs-and-border-protection

    Of course, the story was submitted to Slashdot but didn't make it for lack of M-word in the title...

    • So what visa do under age sex workers need?

    • by Matheus ( 586080 )

      So... since you included links to both articles I presume you give at least as much credence to the second article as you do the first. Sorry if that's an incorrect assumption. That being said:

      If the details claimed by the DHS in the second article are true then that was not news and matter-o-fact happens all the time. Being someone who travels internationally all the time for work the US is not alone in that distinction either. A band I work for had a tour put together in Japan. The tour organizer did not

  • Rotten (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AndyCanfield ( 700565 ) <.moc.xednay. .ta. .dleifnacydna.> on Wednesday December 23, 2015 @08:28AM (#51170961) Homepage

    The fact is that the United States government shit on these people. Whether it was 'legal' or not is irrelevant.

    Warning: your government is afraid of you.

  • Dear world (Score:5, Insightful)

    by GrumpySteen ( 1250194 ) on Wednesday December 23, 2015 @08:49AM (#51171063)

    As much as I hate to say it, I would say that the best response is to not come to the US for vacation. You can find the equivalent of pretty much anything you might want to see in another country without being treated like a felon from the most wanted list by the DHS and the TSA.

    And maybe... just maybe... if the US loses 200 billion dollars a year in tourism income [worldbank.org], our politicians will pull their heads out of their asses and start making some sane national security policies (but I wouldn't hold my breath).

    • Re:Dear world (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Zontar_Thing_From_Ve ( 949321 ) on Wednesday December 23, 2015 @10:23AM (#51171557)

      And maybe... just maybe... if the US loses 200 billion dollars a year in tourism income [worldbank.org], our politicians will pull their heads out of their asses and start making some sane national security policies (but I wouldn't hold my breath).

      As an American, I call tell you that that is not very likely. Few Americans directly benefit from foreign tourism. Americans in general are somewhat xenophobic and its not unusual for them to think that everybody on earth except maybe people in Canada lives in absolute third world squalor in their pitiful, sad country. Americans don't really care at all - not at all - if foreigners face severe restrictions on coming here. And doing "tit for tat" isn't going to change things because the majority of Americans have never been outside of North America. If you just look at the group of Americans who've been outside of North America and remove the ones who've only been to the UK or France and never anywhere else, then you're looking at a pretty small subset of people. Most Americans could not possibly care at all if they aren't allowed to visit foreign countries or if it becomes more difficult to do so because they weren't going to do that anyway.

      There may or may not be a good reason why this family ran into problems, but we're unlikely to ever know what the real reason was. My guess is the UK family is Pakistani, which going forward is going to become more and more of a red flag to American DHS people, and they may be connected to a mosque that is under US scrutiny. Or it may just be a complete bunch of crap but either way we'll never know. Some of this may also be a complete overreaction to the recent San Bernardino shootings where the wife was Pakistani and DHS completely fell down on the job by failing to look into the fact that her husband had never actually met her in person before their marriage when he filed for the fiancee visa to bring her over here. All I can say is that over a decade ago I filed for a fiancee visa (we never got married as we broke up before the very final steps of the process, but I digress) as did a friend of mine. We both had girlfriends in Eastern Europe. It was really easy to prove my girlfriend and I had met as I had photos of us together and phone records and email that I submitted with the application to prove we had met in person. My application got preliminary approval and basically all we had to do was go through the final steps, including her personal interview, and she was going to get the visa. Proving that she and I met was incredibly easy since we actually had done so. In fact, at that time there was some government website you could go to where you could look up fiancee visa applications that were denied and the most common reason for denial was lack of proof of a personal meeting. Meeting in person before you apply for a fiancee visa is an absolute legal requirement. So it may suck, but I suspect even if there is no terrorism link that the family is Pakistani and they're suffering for the sins of others from Pakistan.

  • "They were flying to Los Angeles on a trip to visit Disneyworld." That sounds suspicious right there. Disney World is in Orlando.
  • by DutchUncle ( 826473 ) on Wednesday December 23, 2015 @10:31AM (#51171615)
    I was in Britain last summer (Scotland, specifically) for the Fringe. No visa on our US passports, no problems at arrival airport, immigration security people firm (as is their job) but polite. It *can* be done nicely. Reading British coverage of this, I am embarrassed that, as an American, my personal reputation (and future welcome back) is sullied by poor handling of this situation. This should be the same as a police stop: There has to be a reason, and the person should be TOLD the reason, and it better be a good enough reason to justify screwing up someone's day, not to mention potentially losing out on the expense of the tickets. Considering most of these cases are going to be false positives, the impression it gives of the US as a randomly secret-police state is a stain on all of us.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 23, 2015 @10:44AM (#51171721)

    Most of you idiots don't even know the first thing about Islam.

    Do you have nothing against Islam?
    Then you have nothing against stoning, amputations, flogging, female genital mutilation, suicide bombers, beheadings, "honour" killings, repression of free speech, abolition of Parliament and its replacement with Shariah, banning of music, banning of beer and wine, banning of pork, dressing women in burkhas, beating of wives, mutiple wives, killing of rape victims, persecution of Jews and Christians, child brides, repression of reason and questioning, islamic police states, burning of churches, killing anyone who leaves islam, killing anyone who questions the teachings of islam, total intolerance of other religions, inferior status of women, violent Jihad against non-muslims, arranged marriages, acid attacks, public hangings, mutilations, rewriting of history, denial of islamic atrocities...

    Islam... in layman's terms

    Here's how it works:

    As long as the Muslim population remains under 2% in any given country, they will, for the most part, be regarded as a peace-loving minority, and not as a threat to other citizens. This is the case in:

    United States -- 0.6% Muslim
    Australia -- 1.5% Muslim
    Canada -- 1.9% Muslim
    China -- 1.8% Muslim
    Italy -- 1.5% Muslim
    Norway -- 1.8% Muslim

    At 2% to 5%, they begin to proselytize to other ethnic minorities and disaffected groups, often with major recruiting from prisons and street gangs. This is happening in:

    Denmark -- 2% Muslim
    Germany -- 3.7% Muslim
    United Kingdom -- 2.7% Muslim
    Spain -- 4% Muslim
    Thailand -- 4.6% Muslim

    From 5% on, they exercise an inordinate influence in proportion to their percentage of the population. For example, they will push for the introduction of halal (clean by Islamic standards) food, thereby securing food preparation jobs for Muslims. They will increase pressure on supermarket chains to feature halal on their shelves -- along with threats for failure to comply. This is occurring in:

    France -- 8% Muslim
    Philippines -- 5% Muslim
    Sweden -- 5% Muslim
    Switzerland -- 4.3% Muslim
    The Netherlands -- 5.5% Muslim
    Trinidad & Tobago -- 5.8% Muslim

    At this point, they will work to get the ruling government to allow them to rule themselves (within their ghettos) under Shari'ah, the Islamic Law. The ultimate goal of Islamists is to establish Shari'ah law over the entire world.

    When Muslims approach 10% of the population, they tend to increase lawlessness as a means of complaint about their conditions. In Paris, we are already seeing car-burnings. Any non-Muslim action offends Islam, and results in uprisings and threats, such as in Amsterdam , with opposition to Mohammed cartoons and films about Islam. Such tensions are seen daily, particularly in Muslim sections, in:

    Guyana -- 10% Muslim
    India -- 13.4% Muslim
    Israel -- 16% Muslim
    Kenya -- 10% Muslim
    Russia -- 15% Muslim

    After reaching 20%, nations can expect hair-trigger rioting, jihad militia formations, sporadic killings, and the burnings of Christian churches and Jewish synagogues, as in:

    Ethiopia -- 32.8% Muslim

    At 40%, nations experience widespread massacres, chronic terror attacks, and ongoing militia warfare, as in:

    Bosnia -- 40% Muslim
    Chad -- 53.1% Muslim
    Lebanon -- 59.7% Muslim

    From 60%, nations experience unfettered persecution of non-believers of all other religions (including non-conforming Muslims), sporadic ethnic cleansing (genocide), use of Shariah Law as a weapon, and jizya, the tax placed on infidels (yes, there really is such a thing) as in:

    Albania -- 70% Muslim
    Malaysia -- 60.4% Muslim
    Qatar -- 77.5% Muslim
    Sudan -- 70% Muslim

    After 80%, expect daily intimidation and violent jihad, some state-run ethnic cleansing, and even some genocide, as these nations drive out the infidels, and move toward 100% Muslim, as has been experienced and in some ways is on-going in:

    Bangladesh -- 83% Muslim
    Egypt -- 90% Musl

"I got everybody to pay up front...then I blew up their planet." "Now why didn't I think of that?" -- Post Bros. Comics

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