Monday, August 25, 2008

More unjustified harassment from U.S. immigration officials

A Queensland [Australia] YouTube blogger who went to the US looking for love was denied entry because immigration officials thought he might have been a terrorist. Beenleigh resident Daniel Meadows sold everything he owned to buy a cheap flight via Japan to get to the US to foster an internet relationship. He said he was stopped on arrival as a suspected terrorist, body searched and held for a day and sent home without being given a valid reason.

Meadows's story is the focus of the ABC's Australian Story on Monday, August 25. Having never met the people he was intending to visit and being in possession of a light-hearted email about shoe bombs and box cutters did not sit well with US authorities at Detroit Airport.

"I filled out the standard entry form for a tourist visa and on that form you have to write where you're headed and that was West Virginia and they looked at that and it was suspicion straightaway almost and they made a call and I was just standing there and these two guys came up from Homeland Security," Meadows tells Australian Story.

"One of the officers said 'this guy looks iffy'. "They looked through my bags and pulled out a novelty hat that I had - how it got there, my mum put it in - they said 'have you ever worked for the FBI?' and I just sort of laughed at them and said 'No I don't work for the FBI, it's just a novelty hat'.

"They'd found an email from a friend of mine that was a joking kind of email about 'you better not bring box cutters and, you know, exploding shoes and that sort of thing'."

Meadows, whose YouTube pseudonym is Dr Lemur, said the interrogation included a grilling at the hands of border security who asked him about his personal life, how many dogs he owned and why he had been filming at the airport in Japan. "Well they actually came up to me and said 'good news' almost 'we no longer think you're a terrorist'," he said. "And they were looking more into the fact that I may just disappear into America and work there illegally. They were going from one idea or suspicion to another suspicion and were all over the place. At one point they were almost arguing with themselves about what are we going to pin him on."

Within four days of leaving Australia, Meadows arrived home within minimal sleep and without ever having set foot outside the US airport. The American girl he had become attached to over the internet, Shannon Jones, has since visited Meadows although the relationship is unlikely to develop into anything substantial. Meadows's YouTube blog on his disastrous trip to the USA is at

Original report here (Via Immigration Watch)

There are lots of videos about the affair here

(And don't forget your ration of Wicked Thoughts for today)

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