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martina_plaschka
Community Member

A cautionary tale...

to all the people on student or tourist visas in the US:

A few days ago a guy travelled from UK to US to visit his girlfriend, customs went through his phone and found messages that he will move to see her. (Yes they are allowed to access all your social media, apparently.) Anyways, they interpreted this to him moving illegally and planning to stay longer than 3 months (who knows, the relationship seemed to be rocky at best), arrested him, questioned him, all the while his girlfriend is waiting at the airport to pick him up and doesn't know what's going on, and then deported him. He is permanently banned from ever travelling to the US in his WHOLE ENTIRE LIFE. Because of a text. They mean business. 

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pponso
Community Member

Thanks Martina, for sharing this! I guess, most of the people in US are on student  and tourist Visa, but they have never been tracked, I don't know why, may be US government is trying to play both side.

  • Stopping people from migrate and eat the employment
  • Keeping the immigrants, who have finished their Graduation and post graduation in US.
luce-neidert
Community Member


Martina P wrote:

to all the people on student or tourist visas in the US:

A few days ago a guy travelled from UK to US to visit his girlfriend, customs went through his phone and found messages that he will move to see her. (Yes they are allowed to access all your social media, apparently.) Anyways, they interpreted this to him moving illegally and planning to stay longer than 3 months (who knows, the relationship seemed to be rocky at best), arrested him, questioned him, all the while his girlfriend is waiting at the airport to pick him up and doesn't know what's going on, and then deported him. He is permanently banned from ever travelling to the US in his WHOLE ENTIRE LIFE. Because of a text. They mean business. 


What is your source, please?

 


Luce N wrote:

Martina P wrote:

to all the people on student or tourist visas in the US:

A few days ago a guy travelled from UK to US to visit his girlfriend, customs went through his phone and found messages that he will move to see her. (Yes they are allowed to access all your social media, apparently.) Anyways, they interpreted this to him moving illegally and planning to stay longer than 3 months (who knows, the relationship seemed to be rocky at best), arrested him, questioned him, all the while his girlfriend is waiting at the airport to pick him up and doesn't know what's going on, and then deported him. He is permanently banned from ever travelling to the US in his WHOLE ENTIRE LIFE. Because of a text. They mean business. 


What is your source, please?

 


Daily mail yesterday's online edition.


Martina P wrote:

Luce N wrote:

Martina P wrote:

to all the people on student or tourist visas in the US:

A few days ago a guy travelled from UK to US to visit his girlfriend, customs went through his phone and found messages that he will move to see her. (Yes they are allowed to access all your social media, apparently.) Anyways, they interpreted this to him moving illegally and planning to stay longer than 3 months (who knows, the relationship seemed to be rocky at best), arrested him, questioned him, all the while his girlfriend is waiting at the airport to pick him up and doesn't know what's going on, and then deported him. He is permanently banned from ever travelling to the US in his WHOLE ENTIRE LIFE. Because of a text. They mean business. 


What is your source, please?

 


Daily mail yesterday's online edition.


Not sure that's the most reliable source....

This person is a freelancer on UW so perhaps he will chime in....

 

Right now it's a one-sided story. Might be 100% true or might not. Hopefully we get more of the story than what has been reported. Every country has border horror stories. Doesn't excuse them but sometimes it's bad or over zealous border agents more than policy. Perhaps we'll see in this case. 

I do know that they will take and search phones and also computers.  (I experienced this in Atlanta a few years ago.  Someone tweeted a threat against our plane.  We were all thoroughly questioned and the FBI and ATF searched my phone,  my son's phone and my computer.  Such fun.)


Mary W wrote:

I do know that they will take and search phones and also computers.  (I experienced this in Atlanta a few years ago.  Someone tweeted a threat against our plane.  We were all thoroughly questioned and the FBI and ATF searched my phone,  my son's phone and my computer.  Such fun.)


Twitter... bless their hearts. 

 

Did they eventually let the flight depart for its destination?

Melissa - After we were VERY thoroughly screened and they were assured that my son was not a terrorist (long story there), we were brought to the terminal and re-booked on other flights. 

 

Southwest Airline was wonderful and offered to put anyone who missed their flight and couldn't be rebooked OR anyone who just didn't want to fly at the Sheraton for the night.  We got on another flight fairly easily.  The whole ordeal only took about 3 hours.

Mary, how nice to hear of good airline customer service! I mean, really, that is the bright spot in the whole story. 

Ahhh, for the good 'ole days before all of the insanity.  Unfortunately we'll probably never see them again.  Those of us that did were privileged; so many will never have the opportunity to see or understand them. 

I'm old enough to remember simpler times.

 

Fun Fact:

The Wells Fargo Stagecoach company allowed travel without searching your social media accounts.

 

stagecoach11.png

I fly through Atlanta regularly to visit my parents and almost always have problems coming through TSA. I'm in a wheelchair and fly with a cat, and so TSA thinks I am the biggest threat there. Wheelchair has to be checked, I have to be patted down, cat's paws have to be swiped for explosive residue, and medications screened by hand. 

 

Biggest horror story though was coming through a tiny airport in upstate NY. I was flying with a friend and she left a multi-tool (with no sharp edges) in her wallet. While they were interrogating her, my wheelchair tested positive for explosives because of a cleaner I used on the cushion. Needless to say that was an hour taken out of our lives being investigated. I guess two 5' 2" women flying to see our parents are more threatening than the guy behind us travelling with ammo. 


Martina P wrote:


Daily mail yesterday's online edition.


They did a 2 page piece on me (or rather my book) many years ago after weeks of interviews and what wasn't made up was twisted beyond all recognition.

 

I consider anything beyond the title on that Käseblatt to be unreliable... between altered-beyond-recognition and complete invention.

 

 

On Netflix you can watch separate Border Patrol series featuring New Zealand, Australia, Canada and the United States.

 

You can watch over 100 hours of actual footage of customs and border patrol activity, much of it featuring agents going through people's phones and social media accounts. Travelers are routinely barred from entering countries based on what agents find. Sometimes these bans are for long periods of time, or permanent. It depends on the situation.

 

I don't know if the story that the original poster read about is true or not. But the elements of the story, such as border and customs agents investigating travelers' phones, are factual.

After France refused to come along to the second war in Iraq, (France refused because the first war has been boring, because there was no proof of mass destruction weapons, and because French thought that the most powerful military in the world could certainly deal with the three tanks and the two planes still in operation in Iraq all by itself), there was this freedom fries movement in the US. Some Americans protested symbolically against France by not eating French fries anymore. Nobody told them that fries are not actually a French invention, but Belgian one, but this is irrelevant since they needed to focus their anger onto something. See, friends don't refuse to help friends invade countries.

 

At this time, I had few bad experiences with US CBP officers while entering, or re-entering the US either from Canada or from France. One of these bad experience happened when I was driving from Sherbrooke, Québec, to the US with a pal. We intended to lunch someplace after the border and to buy gas, which was cheaper in the US than in Canada after the Katrina hurricane, for some reason.

 

It was a rainy day and at this small border station, we encountered a very POed CBP officer. He asked us for an itinerary and we had none to offer. Standing under the cover of a porch, he demanded that we take a map and that we stand outside under the rain until we decide upon an itinerary. He was watching us getting wet while imagining a fictional route that eventually granted us the safe passage. He didn't actually care about where we wanted to travel, he just wanted to punish two French rebels whose country refused to join a war it thought it was not worth fighting.

 

After that, all my recent interactions with US CBP officers were great.

 

 

-----------
"Where darkness shines like dazzling light"   â€”William Ashbless

Well, I feel very lucky, as I was able to enter the United States with TWO apples given me during a trip with Delta. I was so sleeply after a long flight that I just forgot this was illegal.

 

A few weeks later, someone made the news for having been caught entering the United States with One apple. This unfortunate smuggler was fined $500.

 

I have therefore been able to save $1000. Smiley Wink

 

I just look so innocent...

How d'ya like them apples?

 

I never thought Luce was a stone-cold criminal.


Preston H wrote:

How d'ya like them apples?

 

I never thought Luce was a stone-cold criminal.


It's always the innocent looking ones, always.

Luce N wrote:  "I was so sleeply after a long flight that I just forgot this was illegal."

Y'know this happens to me all the time. Like the other day i was so sleepy i forgot it was illegal to smoke crack! So when this guy asked if i wanted to buy some, I was just like, "(Yawn) what? Crack? (yawn) Sure, i'll take $20 worth (yaaaawn) sorry, i'm just so sleepy! Got a light?" Then for some reason i couldn't sleep but i was still really sleepy so i decided to rob a liquor store, I forgot it was illegal because of sleepiness!

The owner even said, as he handed me the register, "You need to get some sleep, buddy, you look really tired" I was like, "I know right? I've been up all day smoking crack and you're the first liquor store i've robbed today so I gotta hit a few more still (yawn). Sure glad this is perfectly legal. (yawn) have a nice day!" I was so sleepy i forgot it totally wasn't!

Then i get outside and this guy gets out of his car, leaves it running and goes into the store! I was so tired it slipped my mind that grand theft auto was illegal! So i drove off in his car and I'm cruising along trying to remember where i live cause i was so sleepy I forgot.

A cop pulls up behind me and hits the lights! I'm like, "What the heck? What did i do wrong? Why is he pulling me over?" He comes up to the window and wakes me up cause I was really sleepy. He says, "Sir do you know how fast you were going?" I said, "Well that sign says the speed limit is 25mph..." But then I said something stupid, I have no idea why, probably due to sleepiness. I said,  "But i never obey the speed limit so i was probably going about 60." I was just so darn sleepy I forgot that was illegal.

So the officer says to me, "Actually sir you were going 3 mph so I just stopped you to make sure everythings okay." I said, "Yeah i just need to get some sleep."  He was very polite and said, "Okay just be careful!" But I was so sleepy i forgot it was illegal to grab an officers gun. I was just fooling around cause I was just very very sleepy! So now i'm in a place where i can finally get some sleep.

Sorry Luce, I was not making fun of what you wrote, I understood what you meant. just couldn't resist a funny skit.

 


 

OK, American citizens, this is exactly what happened when I smuggled the 2 apples: after a flight from Paris to Atlanta, I was forced to be part of a huge crowd, lining up for I don't even remember what - I could hardly keep my eyes open.

 

Usually, going through customs meant answering the questions of a human being. Not any more. After an extremely long wait, I was to answer the questions of a MACHINE. I vaguely remember seeing something about food on the screen, but I had already pressed the button to go to the next question. Here I was, surrounded by a huge crowd, trying to think what to do about it. Should I eat the apples right away, should I throw them as far as I could? Should I try to alert a human being in uniform? I really was too sleepy to bother, so I just thought I wouldn't try anything but getting to the end of the ordeal. I went along with the crowd and as nothing happened, I was able to enter the States with the 2 apples in their Delta airline bags. I guess they were American anyway....

 

I do look very innocent.


Luce N wrote:

OK, American citizens, this is exactly what happened when I smuggled the 2 apples: after a flight from Paris to Atlanta, I was forced to be part of a huge crowd, lining up for I don't even remember what - I could hardly keep my eyes open.

 

Usually, going through customs meant answering the questions of a human being. Not any more. After an extremely long wait, I was to answer the questions of a MACHINE. I vaguely remember seeing something about food on the screen, but I had already pressed the button to go to the next question. Here I was, surrounded by a huge crowd, trying to think what to do about it. Should I eat the apples right away, should I throw them as far as I could? Should I try to alert a human being in uniform? I really was too sleepy to bother, so I just thought I wouldn't try anything but getting to the end of the ordeal. I went along with the crowd and as nothing happened, I was able to enter the States with the 2 apples in their Delta airline bags. I guess they were American anyway....

 

I do look very innocent.


You really should have thrown them. The result might have been interesting to read about. 


Martina P wrote:

You really should have thrown them. The result might have been interesting to read about. 


Yes! Thrown them like grenades, you know? That would have been amazing Smiley LOL


Sergio S wrote:

Martina P wrote:

You really should have thrown them. The result might have been interesting to read about. 


Yes! Thrown them like grenades, you know? That would have been amazing Smiley LOL


I don't expect custom officers to have any sence of humour. I would probably have been arrested for apple terrorism.

 By the look of this https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-48486672 it might be time for some of us to quit usig social media.

Oh good grief...and there my husband and I were...thinking of going over to the US on a 2-month (much-needed) holiday to visit friends.

re: "Oh good grief...and there my husband and I were...thinking of going over to the US on a 2-month (much-needed) holiday to visit friends."

 

You can come to the U.S.

Don't even worry about it.

 

U.S. Customers and Border officials don't check people's social media accounts any more than officials do in Canada, Australia, New Zealand and dozens of other places.

 

They're not trying to cause problems for legitimate travellers. Pretty much the only things they really care about are:

a) catching people trying to bring in contraband (including but not limited to apples);

b) catching people intending to enter the country without the correct visa or authorization (such as people coming to stay permanently or work while using tourist visas); and

c) terrorists.


Preston H wrote:

re: "Oh good grief...and there my husband and I were...thinking of going over to the US on a 2-month (much-needed) holiday to visit friends."

 

You can come to the U.S.

Don't even worry about it.

 

U.S. Customers and Border officials don't check people's social media accounts any more than officials do in Canada, Australia, New Zealand and dozens of other places.

 

They're not trying to cause problems for legitimate travellers. Pretty much the only things they really care about are:

a) catching people trying to bring in contraband (including but not limited to apples);

b) catching people intending to enter the country without the correct visa or authorization (such as people coming to stay permanently or work while using tourist visas); and

c) terrorists.


Preston, I'm afraid this is only the beginning. 1984 is just around the corner.

And I guess whoever want's to catch "them" doesn't need to read "their" messages on social media, as when "they" are planning something wrong, "they" won't brag about it on social media. "They" use more sophisticated methods (or maybe I think "they" are smarter than they are).


Irene B wrote:

Oh good grief...and there my husband and I were...thinking of going over to the US on a 2-month (much-needed) holiday to visit friends.


I travelled on April. It took me two hours and half of waiting in the queue at JFK to clear the CBP. The interview process itself lasted 30 seconds.

 

-----------
"Where darkness shines like dazzling light"   â€”William Ashbless

re: "...to clear the CBP. The interview process itself lasted 30 seconds."

 

You have an honest face.


Preston H wrote:

re: "...to clear the CBP. The interview process itself lasted 30 seconds."

 

You have an honest face.


Sort of. 😉

 

Rene, I once waited at CGD for 2 & 1/2 hrs. It still doesn't top the time I waited to get back into the US at Dulles for 3 & 1/2 hrs. Flew in on a gigantic airliner that landed in the same 30 mins as 8 other gigantic airliners... all of us were processed by 2 agents. 

 

This was before Global Entry expedition was a thing. 

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