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Belgian Woman Strip Searched By US Immigration

Sun Jul 06, 2003 7:24 am

Noelle Lhoist, a 48 year old Belgian tourist, was detained for 15 hours, handcuffed, strip searched and deported by US Immigration officers because she was traveling on a valid passport that was not machine readable.

Ms. Lhoist was physically separated from her 3 children aged 13, 17 and 18 and led away in handcuffs in front of them when she arrived at Los Angeles on June 22. She was then imprisoned in a cell for 5 hours before authorities notified the children about the reasons for her arrest. She was subsequently deported to Belgium without the children after 15 hours of interrogation.

The US has instituted new rules for holders of Belgian passports from May 15 that requires that they be machine-readable in order to enter the United States on the Visa Waiver Program. The original deadline for this was October 1 when it goes into affect for all other countries, but Belgium was singled out for earlier action in retribution for a Belgian court admitting but subsequently dismissing charges against US Army General Tommy Franks.

The US State Department defends the actions taken against Ms. Lhoist by saying that they continue to have concerns about how passports are issued in Belgium. Ms. Lhoist was subsequently issued a US Visa by the embassy in Brussels and returned to Los Angeles to rejoin her children after 12 days.

http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-belgian5jul05,1,4068950.story
"The A340-300 may boast a long range, but the A340 is underpowered" -- Robert Milton, CEO - Air Canada
 
aloges
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RE: Belgian Woman Strip Searched By US Immigration

Sun Jul 06, 2003 7:30 am

"The original deadline for this was October 1 when it goes into affect for all other countries, but Belgium was singled out for earlier action in retribution for a Belgian court admitting but subsequently dismissing charges against US Army General Tommy Franks."

What does one have to do with each other, except a great way of showing off whom "Amurrahca" doesn't like anymore? If there's nothing more to the story, this is one more thing that could easily make people more opposed to the US.
Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.
 
Sabena332
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RE: Belgian Woman Strip Searched By US Immigration

Sun Jul 06, 2003 7:42 am

The US has instituted new rules for holders of Belgian passports from May 15 that requires that they be machine-readable in order to enter the United States on the Visa Waiver Program.

When I am traveling to the USA (or to any other country in this world), I make sure that my passport will get accepted.

Patrick
NZ1's mother is a disgusting crack-whore and his father is a worthless alcoholic!
 
jwenting
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RE: Belgian Woman Strip Searched By US Immigration

Sun Jul 06, 2003 8:01 am

Well said Patrick.
About time immigration officials got tougher (and not just in the US) about who they let in and who gets turned back.
Far too many scum get into countries on false papers that are made to look old and worn so the differences in facial features won't arouse suspicion (people change over time don't they? and if you've been through a rough perion (shown by a worn passport) it's all the more likely).
I wish I were flying
 
aloges
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RE: Belgian Woman Strip Searched By US Immigration

Sun Jul 06, 2003 8:13 am

Jeroen, it was about a passport that couldn't be read by a machine. How would you like it when some guy said "I don't like you plastic passport." and sent you to a cell after being handcuffed in front of your children? Would you think "Good thing they don't let scum like me in."?
Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.
 
JAL777
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RE: Belgian Woman Strip Searched By US Immigration

Sun Jul 06, 2003 8:41 am

Aloges... it was an old passport. US law states that you cannot have an old passport upon entering the US if you are Belgian. If you don't like the law, then don't come.

The "strip-search" was uncalled for, but I bet there's more to this story then what was told in this article.
 
bobrayner
Posts: 2038
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RE: Belgian Woman Strip Searched By US Immigration

Sun Jul 06, 2003 9:07 am

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/news/archive/2003/07/05/state1836EDT0058.DTL

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- A Belgian woman traveling with her family arrived at Los Angeles International Airport last month for a six-week vacation in Southern California. Instead, she was held 15 hours, handcuffed, strip searched, fingerprinted and sent back to Brussels.
Her alleged crime was violating a new rule for travel to the United States.

"I'm not used to crying, but my tears were just coming and coming," said Noelle Lhoist, 49. "I wasn't allowed to stand, use the phone or speak. I couldn't write anything because they wouldn't give me a pen."

Under homeland security laws passed after Sept.11, foreign visitors must have newer, machine-readable passports that are encoded with digital information and cannot be easily counterfeited.

The rule goes into effect Oct. 1 for 26 countries but kicked in May 15 for Belgians because of concerns by Atty. Gen. John Ashcroft that their passports could be faked, said Stuart Patt, spokesman for the State Department's Bureau of Consular Affairs in Washington.

That was news to Lhoist, whose passport was issued in 2000 and was not machine-readable. Officials at Swiss International Air Lines, formerly known as Swissair, had accepted her travel documents in Zurich without hesitation for the flight to Los Angeles, she said.

Swiss airline officials at LAX said other visitors have been denied entry to the United States since the rule was enacted but couldn't say how many.

After spending $700 for a new ticket and obtaining a different visa, Lhoist returned to Los Angeles and joined her companion and her three children for a vacation in San Diego.

She said the harrowing experience hadn't soured her opinion of the United States.

"I love Americans and the way they think and their way of doing things." she said. "This trip has just been a bad experience."


Now, rules may well be rules, and refusing entry is not so unreasonable; it's a shame that she didn't know a 3-year-old passport wasn't good enough.

But stripsearching? Detaining her for 15 hours in conditions like this?
"I wasn't allowed to stand, use the phone or speak. I couldn't write anything because they wouldn't give me a pen."

Don't you think that's just a little bit drastic? What kind of uproar would you get in the media if this happened to a US citizen coming to an Old European country for a family holiday, who failed to bring the right piece of paper?
Cunning linguist
 
JAL777
Posts: 2453
Joined: Wed Jun 04, 2003 10:13 pm

RE: Belgian Woman Strip Searched By US Immigration

Sun Jul 06, 2003 9:16 am

The whole fiasco was uncalled for, but we don't know the whole story. I've worked at airports in customs areas before and you wouldn't believe how downright violent some people will get when pulled aside for questioning or denied entry. Remeber, we only heard one side of the story here. After working customer service for many years, I don't believe much of it.

We once had a gentleman (?) arriving from Jamaica who was set aside for questioning. I stayed in the customs office becuase he was our last passenger. Long story short, when he was told he would have to be deported back to Jamaica, he got so violent that the officer had no choice but to mace and arrest him. Therefore, when I read stories like this, I take them with a grain of salt... I haven't heard the other side of the story yet.
 
rojo
Posts: 2254
Joined: Tue Sep 05, 2000 6:08 am

RE: Belgian Woman Strip Searched By US Immigration

Sun Jul 06, 2003 9:25 am

JAL777 said:
"Aloges... it was an old passport. US law states that you cannot have an old passport upon entering the US if you are Belgian. If you don't like the law, then don't come"
----------

How do you know it was an old passport?? Passports that are not machine readable don't have to be old. When you get a passport from an embassy of your country because you live far away from it most of them are not machine readable. The technology to make them is expensive and most of the embassy's don't justify the expense for machine readable passports because they get very few applications...

The US Law doesn't state that you can't have an old passport upon entering the US if you are Belgian, it states that your passport has to be machine readable in order to use the Visa Waiver Program to enter the US and if not, you have to get a machine readable visa from a US Embassy of Consulate. But the deadline was October 1st for all VWP countries and the responsible here was the airline that aloud the Belgian national to travel on a non machine readable passport, assuming that the INS (I don't remember their new name) did send a new communication with the new deadline for Belgian citizens.

What I will like to know is if the airline she flew had this new communication and if they did actually cover the expenses from deportation, the fines from the INS and apologize to the lady for letting her fly to the US without the proper documents.
Just my two cents...
 
rojo
Posts: 2254
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RE: Belgian Woman Strip Searched By US Immigration

Sun Jul 06, 2003 9:34 am

Bobrayner:

Thanks for the new link, far more detailed...
 
JAL777
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RE: Belgian Woman Strip Searched By US Immigration

Sun Jul 06, 2003 9:39 am

Documents is not the responsibility of the airline... that's your responsibility.
 
jcs17
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RE: Belgian Woman Strip Searched By US Immigration

Sun Jul 06, 2003 9:39 am

Cry me a river. Stuff like this supposedly happens all the time in EU countries (including Britain). They do things like this to prevent illegal entry and keep contraband and terrorists out of the country. The woman's passport was not up to date, therefore they had a reason to be suspicious.
America's chickens are coming home to rooooost!
 
rojo
Posts: 2254
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RE: Belgian Woman Strip Searched By US Immigration

Sun Jul 06, 2003 9:48 am

JAL777

It is the responsibility of the airline to "verify" that you are traveling with the proper documents, see it for yourself:

* non-compliance with entry requirements result in fines
varying between USD 2,000 and USD 3,000 per passenger
and either deportation or indefinite delay for passenger
at point of entry (detention costs at carrier's expense);

------------------
National BELGIUM (BE)
Destination U.S.A. (US)
ALSO CHECK DESTINATION INFORMATION BELOW

U.S.A. (US)

Passport required (must be valid at time of entry; passenger
may be authorized to stay up to 6 months beyond the expiry date
of the passport; for validity see: For details, click here - item 2).

Visa not required if travelling under the U.S. Visa Waiver
Permanent Program and following conditions are met
(EFFECTIVE May 15, 2003 a machine-readable passport must be
presented):

Passenger:
- travels for holiday or business purposes only; and
- will stay up to 90 days or less (see note below); and
- arrives on a carrier that has signed agreement I-775
with the U.S. Immigration (see: For details, click here for
a full list); and
- holds a signed Form I-94W (Visa Waiver arrival/departure
form issued either by a carrier having signed the agreement
I-775 or by a travel agency); a separate form must be
filled in for each child included in parents' passport; and
- holds onward/return ticket (or electronic ticket record or
return passages) with a final destination to a country other
than Canada, Mexico or countries/islands situated in or
bordering the Caribbean sea, unless passenger holds proof of
residence in such country/islands in which case onward/return
ticket to that country accepted. Ticket validity is
considered 1 year regardless of fare type; and
- is a non-immigrant; and
- waives the right to protest any action for deportation.

Deportation will follow if Immigration Officer determines that
passenger is inadmissible.
Passenger can make side trips to Canada, Mexico or Caribbean
countries/islands provided first entering the U.S.A. on a
carrier participating in the V.W.P.P. and provided all other
conditions of the V.W.P.P. are met.
Total stay in the U.S.A. not to exceed 90 days. No additional
time is given (extension) based on the departure to contiguous
territory. Passenger is admitted for up to a 90-day period and
a specific date of departure is given on the Form I-94.

* If coming directly from Guam or Virgin Isl: pre-inspection by
the USA Immigration and Naturalization Services (INS) will
have taken place prior to embarkation, when passengers are
required to provide proof of their legal right to enter
U.S.A.
If coming directly from Puerto Rico: pre-inspection may take
place by INS prior to embarkation, when passengers are
required to provide their documents and proof of their legal
right to enter U.S.A.;
* if not holding tickets and documents required for return/
onward destination entry may be refused and deportation
may follow. This depends on the Immigration Authorities;
* non-compliance with entry requirements result in fines
varying between USD 2,000 and USD 3,000 per passenger
and either deportation or indefinite delay for passenger
at point of entry (detention costs at carrier's expense);
* fines for incomplete/inaccurate Form I-94, I-94T or I-94W
are USD 1,000.- per passenger;
* for valid visas in an expired passport, see For details, click here
- Item 10;
* minors: for specific information see: For details, click here -
Item 11 and For details, click here - Items 2, 3 and 4.


 
FDXmech
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RE: Belgian Woman Strip Searched By US Immigration

Sun Jul 06, 2003 10:54 am

>>>Don't you think that's just a little bit drastic? What kind of uproar would you get in the media if this happened to a US citizen coming to an Old European country for a family holiday, who failed to bring the right piece of paper?<<<

Since 9/11, there have been publicized cases of American little old ladies being strip searched as well. That's is of little consolation to this women but she's not alone.
You're only as good as your last departure.
 
Alpha 1
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RE: Belgian Woman Strip Searched By US Immigration

Sun Jul 06, 2003 10:59 am

Cry me a river. Stuff like this supposedly happens all the time in EU countries (including Britain).

Gee, Jcs, isn't the U.S. supposed to be better than everyone else? You don't have a problem against this women being strip-searched, and held for 15 HOURS? What kind of sadist are you, in the name of "national security"? If this had been your redneck mom in another country, you'd be crying bloody murder.

The woman's passport was not up to date, therefore they had a reason to be suspicious.

So naturally, it's OK to impose KGB-like tactic in holding her for hours and stripping her of her clothes and dignity, right? You're really out there, Jcs.

Since 9/11, there have been publicized cases of American little old ladies being strip searched as well.

When I saw your name FDXmech, I KNEW you'd excuse it by using 9/11 as a crutch. EVERYTHING in your scared, blinded, reactionary mind is justified by 9/11. You're really a sorry figure, my friend.
 
FDXmech
Posts: 3219
Joined: Sun Mar 19, 2000 9:48 pm

RE: Belgian Woman Strip Searched By US Immigration

Sun Jul 06, 2003 11:07 am

Alpha, please put on your thinking cap.

For those slightly more objective, my response meant that it wasn't directed at this Belgian women because of her nationality (I hope), but since 9/11 you hear about such occurances more and more to other Americans as well.
You're only as good as your last departure.
 
Alpha 1
Posts: 12343
Joined: Sat Feb 03, 2001 12:12 am

RE: Belgian Woman Strip Searched By US Immigration

Sun Jul 06, 2003 11:09 am

... but since 9/11 you hear about such occurances more and more to other Americans as well.

I haven't heard of any. Show me the stories. And do you justify EVERYHTING based on 9/11? Man, you ARE scared.
 
FDXmech
Posts: 3219
Joined: Sun Mar 19, 2000 9:48 pm

RE: Belgian Woman Strip Searched By US Immigration

Sun Jul 06, 2003 11:10 am

Also, I read my original post and no where did I excuse this action.

Alpha, relax dude, have a nice long cold one.
You're only as good as your last departure.
 
cptkrell
Posts: 3186
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RE: Belgian Woman Strip Searched By US Immigration

Sun Jul 06, 2003 11:19 am

The Belgian lady probably waffled when asked questions by officials...Jack
all best; jack
 
buckfifty
Posts: 1278
Joined: Tue Oct 16, 2001 4:05 pm

RE: Belgian Woman Strip Searched By US Immigration

Sun Jul 06, 2003 12:19 pm

Tougher security is one thing, Americans flexing political muscle is another. One of the reasons why I think this administration is even worse than the last one. Not in recent memory, since the Reagan era, do I remember seeing such overt political power plays from the American government. 9/11 is one thing, but it seems that the Bush administration is squeezing it for all it's worth.

If you are so inclined to believe that Belgian passports just so happens to be much more easily counterfeited than most of the other passports out there, c'est la vie.
 
charleslp
Posts: 321
Joined: Wed Oct 31, 2001 9:33 am

RE: Belgian Woman Strip Searched By US Immigration

Sun Jul 06, 2003 12:32 pm

"Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder"

'Nuff said.
 
bobrayner
Posts: 2038
Joined: Sun Apr 27, 2003 8:03 am

RE: Belgian Woman Strip Searched By US Immigration

Sun Jul 06, 2003 12:55 pm

Of 9/11...

Forging a Belgian passport is no more easy or difficult than forging most other passports, by the look of it. (Disclaimer: I am not a forger).

So, presumably, fraudulently applying for a Belgian passport is the method that we're most worried about. I can assure you that it would require the patience of a saint. Any would-be terrorist would die of boredom long before completing all the required forms and formalities, I suspect.  Smile

The VWP boils down to concerns about illegal immigrants, and absconsion rates. If you cite the risk of terrorism as a reason to treat somebody like this for not having a VWP-eligible passport like the rest of their family, then why do certain other countries (in which it is rather easier to fraudulently obtain a passport) stay in the VWP?
Cunning linguist
 
jaysit
Posts: 10186
Joined: Thu Jun 01, 2000 11:50 pm

RE: Belgian Woman Strip Searched By US Immigration

Sun Jul 06, 2003 1:23 pm

Can you imagine if this happened to an American woman in, say, France?

The usual posse of right wing nitwits would be frothing at the mouth as they choke on their brie and stella artois.

"When I am traveling to the USA (or to any other country in this world), I make sure that my passport will get accepted.

Patrick"

I'm sure you have no clue of what that entails. And neither do your supporters on this site. What do you do? Take your passport to the Ministry of Passport Acceptance at the EU? What a load of BS. I sometimes wonder if some of the folks on here have half a brain.

The truth is that when you get a VALID passport from the passport office in your country (a country with which the United States has perfectly good relationships with) you assume that there is a reciprocity and an agreement of acceptance.
Atheism is Myth Understood.
 
aloges
Posts: 14842
Joined: Tue Jan 17, 2006 3:38 am

RE: Belgian Woman Strip Searched By US Immigration

Sun Jul 06, 2003 6:50 pm

JAL777 said: "If you don't like the law, then don't come."

If I had plans to visit your country, I'd be reconsidering it now since I don't want to risk being treated like a terrorist for bringing a passport that Ashcroft doesn't like. And if that same man thinks that revenue from tourism and other travel is a burden, I'll certainly not want to drive him crazy by spending my money in his country.

Furthermore, I hope you know that things like these don't make people like the US more. Her passport was valid, she was on a vacation with her family (that was let in and could identify the own mother), she was from the country where NATO is based, but her only fault was being from a country that has judges that didn't dump charges against Tommy Franks. If that's bad enough to award her such treatment, and also me, from October 1st, I'm sure less people will want to travel to the US.
Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.
 
L-188
Posts: 29881
Joined: Wed Jul 07, 1999 11:27 am

RE: Belgian Woman Strip Searched By US Immigration

Sun Jul 06, 2003 6:57 pm

The don't strip search without cause or for kicks.

We only have half the story here.

Like JAL777 said in his earlier post. It is amazing how angry some people can get.

Not say that she was, but just something to consider.
OBAMA-WORST PRESIDENT EVER....Even SKOORB would be better.
 
Alpha 1
Posts: 12343
Joined: Sat Feb 03, 2001 12:12 am

RE: Belgian Woman Strip Searched By US Immigration

Sun Jul 06, 2003 11:07 pm

The don't strip search without cause or for kicks.

We only have half the story here.


Amazing, L-188, as anti-government as you are-a common trait in Alaska-you're sure as hell willing to give the government all the benefit of the doubt on this one. I'm not.

If her passport wasn't in order, DEPORT HER BACK!!! Don't hold her 15 hours, don't strip search-SEND HER BACK! Case closed. But no, we can do whatever the hell we want since 9/11.
 
L-188
Posts: 29881
Joined: Wed Jul 07, 1999 11:27 am

RE: Belgian Woman Strip Searched By US Immigration

Sun Jul 06, 2003 11:08 pm

Alpha 1

It is not that I trust the government.

It is just I figure strip searching is a nasty job in most cases, and a fed probably would prefer not to do it if they don't have to.

OBAMA-WORST PRESIDENT EVER....Even SKOORB would be better.
 
srbmod
Posts: 15446
Joined: Tue Mar 20, 2001 1:32 pm

RE: Belgian Woman Strip Searched By US Immigration

Sun Jul 06, 2003 11:29 pm

Looks like LAX is fast becoming the new "Deportland". In a way, it looks like Belgium is being singled out amongst European nations by the US. If the passport is still valid (even if the design has changed, not everyone can take time off to go get the new version, let alone justfy the cost of getting it, especially if it doesn't change the expiration date of the passport), and all of the paperwork seems to be in order, let them in. It is easy to tell the difference between a genuine passport and one that has been altered. The technology is in place, and is used at many airports around the world. Homeland Security is threatening not only our freedoms here in the US, but also the rights of those of other nations to travel here.
 
flyboy36y
Posts: 2897
Joined: Sun Mar 19, 2000 1:45 pm

RE: Belgian Woman Strip Searched By US Immigration

Mon Jul 07, 2003 1:24 am

What the hell is wrong wirth this country? What is wrong with America??? I was also "detained" by INS for 15 minutes (and then US Customs for 45). They began asking me why, if I was going to NY, would I chose to enter the country via MIA. My reply "none of your buisness". See, the thing is, i'm an American citizen. It's INS's job to process me back in, not to question my travel plans.
 
pacificjourney
Posts: 2659
Joined: Wed Jul 04, 2001 9:12 pm

RE: Belgian Woman Strip Searched By US Immigration

Mon Jul 07, 2003 8:24 am

Good for you Flyboy36y !

One of these arseholes with a uniform once asked me, "How are you supporting yourself in Japan ?".

Answer, "None of your fucking business !"
" Help, help ... I'm being oppressed ... "
 
JAL777
Posts: 2453
Joined: Wed Jun 04, 2003 10:13 pm

RE: Belgian Woman Strip Searched By US Immigration

Mon Jul 07, 2003 8:29 am

One of these arseholes with a uniform once asked me, "How are you supporting yourself in Japan ?".

That's a very common question and has been asked of me a few times. Usually it is directed at people who travel for long periods of time (30 days +). It's your kind of attitude that leads to the situations above. Just answer their questions politely and they will return the favor. When I go to Japan, I have to give Japanese Customs my hotel, my expected return date, and my reason for the trip. When I return to the United States, they ask the same things. Stop acting as if this is something that only happens in the United States because its not.


[Edited 2003-07-07 01:36:05]
 
pacificjourney
Posts: 2659
Joined: Wed Jul 04, 2001 9:12 pm

RE: Belgian Woman Strip Searched By US Immigration

Mon Jul 07, 2003 9:04 am

The only immigration service which has the right to ask what I do in Japan is Japan's.

US immigration may quite rightly ask me about my stay in the US, other than that I know my rights and will forcefully remind these goons what those are !

Nothing more than bullies in dirty uniforms and US immigration is about the worst !
" Help, help ... I'm being oppressed ... "
 
artsyman
Posts: 4516
Joined: Wed Feb 28, 2001 12:35 pm

RE: Belgian Woman Strip Searched By US Immigration

Mon Jul 07, 2003 9:06 am

The problem with threads like this is that this sort of thing while totally out of order happens like once out of the millions and millions of passengers that come in. If it happened more than once in every few years it would be a surprise, yet the media and the anti-american band wagon treats it like it is the norm and that it happens all the time
 
JAL777
Posts: 2453
Joined: Wed Jun 04, 2003 10:13 pm

RE: Belgian Woman Strip Searched By US Immigration

Mon Jul 07, 2003 9:14 am

The only immigration service which has the right to ask what I do in Japan is Japan's.

Wrong. Immigration services have a right to ask what you do or did outside of their country upon arrival.
 
bobrayner
Posts: 2038
Joined: Sun Apr 27, 2003 8:03 am

RE: Belgian Woman Strip Searched By US Immigration

Mon Jul 07, 2003 9:32 am

The only immigration service which has the right to ask what I do in Japan is Japan's.

US immigration may quite rightly ask me about my stay in the US, other than that I know my rights and will forcefully remind these goons what those are !


What rights?

They're supposed to make a spot decision on whether or not you should be let into the country. To make a good decision, they might need to ask you about more than just your travel plans for the next few weeks.

Of course, you may refuse to answer. But in that case, they might not be able to confirm that it's OK to let you in; in which case you'll be on the next flight home.

My sympathy is reserved for those who are turned away because of petty politics, or because the customs official was having a bad day; not for those who are intentionally obstructive or deceptive.
Cunning linguist
 
delta-flyer
Posts: 2631
Joined: Mon Jul 30, 2001 9:47 am

RE: Belgian Woman Strip Searched By US Immigration

Mon Jul 07, 2003 9:35 am

.... this administration is even worse than the last one.

That may be true, but how would you know that from an employee of the Customs and Imigration? He may have been employed there for 25 years!

Pete
"In God we trust, everyone else bring data"
 
teva
Posts: 1764
Joined: Thu Feb 01, 2001 12:31 am

RE: Belgian Woman Strip Searched By US Immigration

Mon Jul 07, 2003 6:16 pm

In the reply 6, I have seen this very interesting sentence:
"The rule goes into effect Oct. 1 for 26 countries but kicked in May 15 for Belgians because of concerns by Atty. Gen. John Ashcroft that their passports could be faked, said Stuart Patt, spokesman for the State Department's Bureau of Consular Affairs in Washington. "

There is just one thing I do not understand. And I cannot believe it is a lie by a member of the Bush administration...  Innocent
How is it that it is easier to counterfeit a Belgian passport than let's say... a French, or a British passport?
They are ALL European passports. So there should be no difference between all the members of the EU.
In addition to that, deny the entry is one thing. Humiliate the person is a different thing, especially in a country where the administration wants to give lessons to the world about the Human Rights.

Teva

PS Once again, pls note that I make a difference between the people and the administration, before starting to flame me.
Ecoute les orgues, Elles jouent pour toi...C'est le requiem pour un con
 
pacificjourney
Posts: 2659
Joined: Wed Jul 04, 2001 9:12 pm

RE: Belgian Woman Strip Searched By US Immigration

Mon Jul 07, 2003 6:24 pm

If you guys want to give some power-crazed idiot with three weeks training and a sad uniform a whole lot of personal infornation which they are NOT entitled to ask then go ahead. I myself have a spine and won't be doing so.

As per another thread I have visited 74 countries with about 200 plus border crossings in all and have never been refused entry because I 'forcefully' stuck up for myself because most public officials know the limits of their authority.

Don't be such wimps and that percentage will keep increasing !
" Help, help ... I'm being oppressed ... "
 
Guest

RE: Belgian Woman Strip Searched By US Immigration

Mon Jul 07, 2003 9:31 pm

What the hell is wrong wirth this country? What is wrong with America??? I was also "detained" by INS for 15 minutes (and then US Customs for 45). They began asking me why, if I was going to NY, would I chose to enter the country via MIA. My reply "none of your buisness". See, the thing is, i'm an American citizen. It's INS's job to process me back in, not to question my travel plans.

It is INS' job to question your travel plans. It is their job to make a determination as to if you are allowed entry to the United States or not, and they may need to ask you questions to make that determination. It is of course your right not to answer, and in that case it is their right to deny you entry to the country.

I see you didn't mention why you were detained, so I will say it for you. Flyboy36y here is an underage individual who was trying to bring alcohol into the country, which is illegal to do if you are under 21. Thus, it was confiscated and his bags searched to see if they could find anything else he wasn't supposed to have: rightful suspicion to do so if they already found one thing, wouldn't you say?

U.S. Customs as well as Immigration have a right to search everything coming into the United States as well as every person. Any kind of strip search is a continuation of that inspection and legally they can do it to whoever they want. Whether that makes it right or not, I won't judge.

But in Flyboy's case, when the dogs smell something and single out your luggage, you have no right to complain about being searched, especially when carrying something you aren't supposed to be bringing into the US.
 
buckfifty
Posts: 1278
Joined: Tue Oct 16, 2001 4:05 pm

RE: Belgian Woman Strip Searched By US Immigration

Mon Jul 07, 2003 10:17 pm

That may be true, but how would you know that from an employee of the Customs and Imigration? He may have been employed there for 25 years!

From the way you wrote that, I suppose you're implying that I'm laying blame on the customs employee for this fiasco.

Actually, I don't. In fact, strip searches happen almost daily across the world. Some justified, some not. And yes, people do make mistakes, some of which are due to circumstances perhaps not all of us can understand.

But I understand one thing. The fact that the Belgians got singled out for May 15th (and it's a recent development, I've been told) is another reason why I don't like the bullying tactics that this administration has been exhibiting in recent history (including cutting the aid to countries that does not support the U.S. getting immunity from war crimes tribunals). And if you're going to argue that, of all the EU countries, that Belgium does have a problem with its passports, well good luck to you.

The U.S. claims that this court will be unfair to their interests. That's bollocks, unless if they have something to hide...
 
CHRISBA777ER
Posts: 3715
Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2001 12:12 pm

RE: Belgian Woman Strip Searched By US Immigration

Mon Jul 07, 2003 10:30 pm

whilst i agree that this case is a little heavy and stupid, (on facts reported), im glad there is such tight security - id rather have this than some nutters with knives on my flight.

CM
What do you mean you dont have any bourbon? Do you know how far it is to Houston? What kind of airline is this???
 
flyboy36y
Posts: 2897
Joined: Sun Mar 19, 2000 1:45 pm

RE: Belgian Woman Strip Searched By US Immigration

Mon Jul 07, 2003 11:03 pm

Jason,

You assume too much. My other bags were never opened. While I'm not saying I should not have had the alcohol, I honestly did not know I could not have it. In fact, the only way they found out about it was because I was stupid enough to DECLARE it. I always declare my alcohol and have NEVER been stopped by customs in JFK. All they did in JFK was remind me not to open it and only give it as a gift. That precedent made me assume what the law was. As for dogs.... dogs do not sniff out alcohol and no dog sniffed out my bag. When US Customs detained me to the point I missed my flight and WASNT even questioning me or searching my bags... That's when I got upset. I told them flat out that they can keep the alcohol...

As for imigrations, I did tell them to mind their own buisness regarding my travel plans. They let me in. Where would they deport me to? My home in NY?

Don't retell stories you never heard yourself as if you know them for fact.
 
N79969
Posts: 6605
Joined: Tue Jan 29, 2002 1:43 am

RE: Belgian Woman Strip Searched By US Immigration

Mon Jul 07, 2003 11:22 pm

If it turns out this incident was the product of pure ineptitude or wrongdoing, then I hope those responsible are punished.

I don't understand all of the whining responses in this thread though. The immigration officials of any country (including your own) have the right to ask you what you plan to do on your visit or how you support yourself abroad. I would bet they are more interested in observing your composure than the content of your answer. The immigration line is not the place to "assert" yourself.

INS agents who ask you these questions or enforce laws regarding machine readable passports they had no part in writing are just doing their somewhat thankless job. Hassling these guys while they are doing their job does not make you a tough guy.

I agree with FdxMech. 9/11 is a seminal event in US history and has had a pervasive effect on all forms of law enforcement of every level. I would guess that INS agents lost some of their discretionary power in enforcing rules after 9/11 and have been given orders for zero tolerance on some of these rules. I suspect that rules regarding passport authenticity are particularly important.

Question: Does every member of the EU use identical procedures and standards for issuing passports? Or do they vary country-by-country?

[Edited 2003-07-07 16:30:06]

[Edited 2003-07-07 16:32:31]
 
flyboy36y
Posts: 2897
Joined: Sun Mar 19, 2000 1:45 pm

RE: Belgian Woman Strip Searched By US Immigration

Mon Jul 07, 2003 11:34 pm

N79969,

I don't think it is INS buisness why I bought tickets to JFK via MIA any more tha it is ANY other gov't agencys buisness if I was to go to MIA directly from JFK. The question is am I a citizen and if so is my passport valid. Anything more than that is not their concern.
 
N79969
Posts: 6605
Joined: Tue Jan 29, 2002 1:43 am

RE: Belgian Woman Strip Searched By US Immigration

Mon Jul 07, 2003 11:45 pm

Flyboy36y,

I disagree. INS is the country's first line of defense. They are federal law enforcement agents and work in conjunction with other agencies to keep out the bad guys. INS are there to look at more than your passport. You chose an unusual itinerary and they are trained to pick up on the unusual.

Just because a person is a US citizen does not automatically mean that individual could not be a threat to this country. US citizens have been arrested for plotting terror attacks against this country and recently even India. Then you have guys like Walker-Lindh. Terrorists, drug smugglers, and the other dregs of society may hold US passports.

People try to game the system because they hear customs or immigration is more lenient at one airport than another. That is probably why you were questioned.

I don't understand why you would take such offense at such a minor intrusion.
 
B747-437B
Topic Author
Posts: 8777
Joined: Thu May 30, 2002 6:54 am

RE: Belgian Woman Strip Searched By US Immigration

Tue Jul 08, 2003 12:01 am

Just because a person is a US citizen does not automatically mean that individual could not be a threat to this country.

US citizens have absolute right of re-entry into the United States. Once an immigration officer is satisfied about the validity of the documents presented by a person to demonstrate US citizenship, he is NOT permitted to detain them any further. Any further investigation may be carried out by any of the domestic security/investigative agencies but not by the erstwhile INS or the current BCS.
"The A340-300 may boast a long range, but the A340 is underpowered" -- Robert Milton, CEO - Air Canada
 
N79969
Posts: 6605
Joined: Tue Jan 29, 2002 1:43 am

RE: Belgian Woman Strip Searched By US Immigration

Tue Jul 08, 2003 12:05 am

I did not say they are free to detain US citizens ad infinitum. Asking questions does not equal detention. Not even during a traffic stop.

[Edited 2003-07-07 17:09:56]
 
B747-437B
Topic Author
Posts: 8777
Joined: Thu May 30, 2002 6:54 am

RE: Belgian Woman Strip Searched By US Immigration

Tue Jul 08, 2003 12:32 am

Asking questions does not equal detention. Not even during a traffic stop.

Not in itself, but asking questions when it is not clear that the target of interrogation is free to leave at any time does indeed constitute detention as per the interpretation of the Supreme Court.
"The A340-300 may boast a long range, but the A340 is underpowered" -- Robert Milton, CEO - Air Canada
 
Alpha 1
Posts: 12343
Joined: Sat Feb 03, 2001 12:12 am

RE: Belgian Woman Strip Searched By US Immigration

Tue Jul 08, 2003 12:35 am

Asking questions does not equal detention. Not even during a traffic stop.

15 Hours equals detention, I would imagine.
 
bobrayner
Posts: 2038
Joined: Sun Apr 27, 2003 8:03 am

RE: Belgian Woman Strip Searched By US Immigration

Tue Jul 08, 2003 12:35 am

N79969,
Question: Does every member of the EU use identical procedures and standards for issuing passports? Or do they vary country-by-country?

There are certain minimum standards and common practices, but still each country does it slightly differently. Differences really fall into to 3 categories:
1. Rules on eligibility;
2. Paperwork requirements / proof of ID;
3. Nature of issuing agency (not much difference here).

Typical example - those countries with an ID card system will check the ID card (or a central record of ID cards) before issuing a passport. Countries without an ID card system obviously don't have that extra layer, and may or may not take other measures.

IIRC, there was a big loophole in UK policy (closed recently):
You could request the birth certificate of someone born on roughly the same date as you but who died very young, before they'd had a chance to start a paper trail; the certificate wasn't updated to show that the individual had died, so you could build a new identity around it. When you apply for bank accounts / passports / other paperwork, nobody ever considers checking for a death certificate in your name too  Smile

A Friend Of A Friend (tm) claims that exploits similar to this are possible in a number of other countries. Would it be feasible in the USA?
It's a bit academic in this context, as no customs/immigration official would ever suspect a problem with paperwork obtained in this way.

Belgian passport policy is certainly not the weakest of the EU or VWP countries.

Hope that helps?
Cunning linguist

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