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Fox writes: "The way I was interviewed was monstrous."

Mem Fox, beloved Australian children's author. (photo: EPA)
Mem Fox, beloved Australian children's author. (photo: EPA)

Mem Fox on Being Detained by US Immigration: 'In That Moment I Loathed America'

By Mem Fox, Guardian UK

01 March 17


The celebrated Australian children’s author tells how on her 117th visit to the US she was suddenly at the mercy of Donald Trump’s visa regime

was pulled out of line in the immigration queue at Los Angeles airport as I came in to the USA. Not because I was Mem Fox the writer – nobody knew that – I was just a normal person like anybody else. They thought I was working in the States and that I had come in on the wrong visa.

I was receiving an honorarium for delivering an opening keynote at a literacy conference, and because my expenses were being paid, they said: “You need to answer further questions.” So I was taken into this holding room with about 20 other people and kept there for an hour and 40 minutes, and for 15 minutes I was interrogated.

The room was like a waiting room in a hospital but a bit more grim than that. There was a notice on the wall that was far too small, saying no cellphones allowed, and anybody who did use a cellphone had someone stand in front of them and yell: “Don’t use that phone!” Everything was yelled, and everything was public, and this was the most awful thing, I heard things happening in that room happening to other people that made me ashamed to be human.

There was an Iranian woman in a wheelchair, she was about 80, wearing a little mauve cardigan, and they were yelling at her – “Arabic? Arabic?”. They screamed at her “ARABIC?” at the top of their voices, and finally she intuited what they wanted and I heard her say “Farsi”. And I thought heaven help her, she’s Iranian, what’s going to happen?

There was a woman from Taiwan, being yelled at about at about how she made her money, but she didn’t understand the question. The officer was yelling at her: “Where does your money come from, does it grow on trees? Does it fall from the sky?” It was awful.

There was no toilet, no water, and there was this woman with a baby. If I had been holed up in that room with a pouch on my chest, and a baby crying, or needing to be fed, oh God … the agony I was surrounded by in that room was like a razor blade across my heart.

When I was called to be interviewed I was rereading a novel from 40 years ago – thank God I had a novel. It was The Red and the Black by Stendhal – a 19th century novel keeps you quiet on a long flight, and is great in a crisis – and I was buried in it and didn’t hear my name called. And a woman in front of me said: “They are calling for Fox.” I didn’t know which booth to go to, then suddenly there was a man in front of me, heaving with weaponry, standing with his legs apart yelling: “No, not there, here!” I apologised politely and said I’d been buried in my book and he said: “What do you expect me to do, stand here while you finish it?” – very loudly and with shocking insolence.

The way I was interviewed was monstrous. If only they had been able to look into my suitcase and see my books. The irony! I had a copy of my new book I’m Australian, Too – it’s about immigration and welcoming people to live in a happy country. I am all about inclusivity, humanity and the oneness of the humans of the world; it’s the theme of my life. I also had a copy of my book Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes. I told him I had all these inclusive books of mine in my bag, and he yelled at me: “I can read!”

He was less than half my age – I don’t look 70 but I don’t look 60 either, I’m an older woman – and I was standing the whole time. The belligerence and violence of it was really terrifying. I had to hold the heel of my right hand to my heart to stop it beating so hard.

They were not apologetic at any point. When they discovered that one of Australia’s official gifts to Prince George was Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes, he held out his hand and said: “It’s been a pleasure to meet you, Ms Fox.” I was close to collapse, very close to fainting, and this nearly broke me – it was the creepiest thing of all.

I had been upright, dignified, cool and polite, and this was so cruelly unexpected, so appalling, that he should say it was a pleasure. It couldn’t have been a pleasure for him to treat me like that, unless he was a psychopath.

In that moment I loathed America. I loathed the entire country. And it was my 117th visit to the country so I know that most people are very generous and warm-hearted. They have been wonderful to me over the years. I got over that hatred within a day or two. But this is not the way to win friends, to do this to someone who is Australian when we have supported them in every damn war. It’s absolutely outrageous.

Later in the hotel room I was shaking like a leaf. I rang my friend, my American editor and bawled and bawled, and she told me to write it all down, and I wrote for two hours. I fell asleep thinking I would sleep for eight hours but I woke up an hour and a half later just sobbing. I had been sobbing in my sleep. It was very traumatic.

After I got back to Australia I had an apology from the American embassy. I was very impressed, they were very comforting, and I’ve had so many messages of support from Americans and American authors.

I am a human being, so I do understand that these people might not be well-trained, but they now have carte blanche to be as horrible and belligerent as they want. They’ve gone mad – they’ve got all the power that they want but they don’t have the training.

They made me feel like such a crushed, mashed, hopeless old lady and I am a feisty, strong, articulated English speaker. I kept thinking that if this were happening to me, a person who is white, articulate, educated and fluent in English, what on earth is happening to people who don’t have my power?

That’s the heartbreak of it. Remember, I wasn’t pulled out because I’m some kind of revolutionary activist, but my God, I am now. I am on the frontline. If we don’t stand up and shout, good sense and good will not prevail, and my voice will be one of the loudest.

That’s what it has taught me. I thought I was an activist before, but this has turned me into a revolutionary. I’m not letting it happen here. Instead of crying and being sad and sitting on a couch, I am going to write to politicians. I am going to call. I am going to write to newspapers. I am going to get on the radio. I will not be quiet. No more passive behaviour. Hear me roar. your social media marketing partner


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+98 # Phillybuster 2017-03-01 13:29
I am very sorry to hear that you were forced into this absurd, Kafkaesque situation. This sort of thing used to be a movie cliche in which the Gestapo would interrogate unfortunate train passengers - the old "Papers, please" routine, followed by a stern grilling. Apparently the training of CPB officers is based on these old movies.

Unfortunately, I expect a lot more of these types of incidents to occur over the next several years as the U.S. increasingly becomes a nation of authoritarian rule and crony capitalism.
+41 # Texas Aggie 2017-03-02 08:02
And a lot more of these incidents HAVE been occurring since this lady was brutalized.
+29 # Jaax88 2017-03-02 13:14
Sorry Mem Fox for your tribulations. I will have to read one of your books.

What happen to Ms Fox is not a new policy, although in her case perhaps it is a lot more extreme under trump than previously. Back in 2009 I flew into America from Europe (I am an American citizen) to Detroit or perhaps Chicago to get a connecting flight to my home city. On the incoming declaration form it wanted to know my destination street address. I did not see any reason to give it. The result was I got hauled into a small backroom by a customs officer. For a while he tried to talk me into writing down my destination street address. But I kept saying I did not need to declare it under Fifth Amendment rights. Then the officer brought in a hulking bruiser of an officer with a Big f**king gun on his hip. He tried to browbeat me into telling them my destination street address. I continued to decline. All this took enough time that I missed my connecting flight which those guys knew would happen. They eventually released me even tho I did not give up that address. The cost of having to pay for a hotel room until I could get another flight did not dampen my satisfaction of insisting on my rights.
+12 # John S. Browne 2017-03-03 19:31

Thank you! A non-cowardly advocate for human and civil rights, what a novelty! If most of us did this, these liberty-freedom -and-rights-vio lating cretins couldn't continue to this increasingly evil bullshit; but, because most of us have been conditioned to bow down to them, they are getting worse and worse, and our outward liberties, freedoms and rights are becoming a thing of the past. God help us if we don't stand up en masse against all of this human-rights-an d-civil-liberti es-violating crap; because, if we don't, and if we don't bring it to an end, we will very soon be living in a repeat of Nazi Germany in the U.S. that is far worse than the former; and we're already well on the way to the realization of that madness. The steps to eviscerate our liberty, freedom, privacy and other rights that have been going on for the past fifteen years in particular, are the obvious warning signs, but most "Amerikans" aren't paying attention, nor do they, because of how brainwashed into bowing down they are, feel any responsibility to curtail the mass-insanity that is taking over. Are we doomed? We are if most of don't wake the frack up and stand up again this madness.

+25 # HowardMH 2017-03-02 13:47
When is something actually going to be done to eliminate those animals from the immigration department in LA and EVERY WHERE else in the US?

These animals are definitely helping create terrorists where terrorists never existed and frankly I really can not blame those who turn on the US, after being treated like Mem Fox was.
+97 # BetaTheta 2017-03-01 14:22
We now have a bully-in-chief, and a lot of wannabes out to emulate him, it seems.

The ascendancy of Mr. Trump has unleashed some dark instincts in the reptilian brain of America. The campaign against “political correctness” is bearing fruit in an attitude that whatever one feels is valid and may (or must) be expressed. But “political correctness” was never anything other than what your grandmother taught you: Be polite and respect the views and feelings of others, particularly those not like you.
This, and our recent glorification of a militaristic, hard-ass line, has brought us to what Ms. Fox experienced.
It still represents a minority attitude, but we must fight it on all fronts. Bravo to Ms. Fox for vowing to do so!
+21 # Aaron Tovish 2017-03-02 01:50
Whoa! These bullies were hired and "trained" pre-Trump, and I dare to hazard that they were just as obnoxious before 2017 as they are now. It may well get worse now that Trump is President, but it takes a lot more than one incident to reach that conclusion with any certainty. From what I have seen of law enforcement authorities is that they are trained to assert dominance (which is not the same as gaining respect) immediately. That might make sense with someone who could challenge them physically, but it makes no sense to apply it -- perhaps out of some weird notion of 'equal treatment' -- to everyone, least of all a 80 year old in a wheelchair.
One other point: Expecting all travelers to understand English is wrongheaded. Would it be easy enough for them to show people a Wikipedia-like list of languages and let them identify their own?
+65 # Farafalla 2017-03-01 18:19
Our government hires haters and killers to do the jobs of law enforcement. ICE is particularly emboldened by Trump. They are more ideologically on the right than even the FBI. Out-of-the-clos et racists can now operate without fear. Even Sheriff Arpaio in Arizona is happy that nobody can question his racism and illegal actions.
+74 # hipocampelo 2017-03-01 19:03
Ms. Fox, I'm pleased that you see the urgency of our situation, and we are
happy to have you actively on our side.
+58 # John S. Browne 2017-03-01 19:05

Right-on, Mem! I have tears in eyes reading this heart-rending true portrayal of the U.S. government gone mad; and, you are quite right whether you meant it that way or not, they are psychopaths, or at least sociopaths. Mentally healthy people don't do that kind of job, they certainly don't do what they're told no matter what, and they don't treat people who are all supposed to be presumed innocent that way.

In the past fifteen, going on sixteen years, I have been ashamed of "my country" before (it really isn't my or any True American's country anymore, because it is only an empty-suit, and/or uniform, of what it used to be), but I am so inconsolably ashamed of what they did to you. Thank you so much for not giving up on all of us, though you were, quite understandably, tempted to do so, and for putting your story about this incident so honestly and eloquently.

Unfortunately, I can't apologize for those cretins, or for the American Embassy in Australia's phony apology to you, but I am sincerely sorry for what you went through, from the bottom of my heart, to its very top, brimming to overflowing; as my tears are also brimming to overflowing.

Yes, please continue to be an activist against this madness. If only more Americans had your backbone, courage and resoluteness; but, very sadly, most Americans have also been turned into only a shadow of their former bravery and heroism, having been literally brainwashed for decades now to blindly bow down...

+10 # John S. Browne 2017-03-02 14:31

God help us all, and save the U.S. and the entire world!

+58 # suzyskier 2017-03-01 19:27
Your ordeal is terrible and unacceptable! Unfortunately this new "regime" has loosened the feeling of Gestapo like power in some of these "officials". People that never had this power before are behaving much more aggressively than ever before. Not a good sign of things to come. Our newly elected "President" has given these people power to behave like Nazi officials. It's grotesque!
+12 # billwinkle 2017-03-02 22:43
I traveled through 12 or so countries in Europe in the '70s, including East Germany, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, & Romania. Even in "Communist" countries I was treated better than Mem was. I was a skinny, long-haired, & bearded guy who needed a shower, & almost never had problems like Mem. The 1 exception in E. Europe was in '77, when our 24 hour transit visas through E Germany expired minutes before crossing into Czechoslovakia. The E Germans were very polite, & formalistic, but my friend & I had to get off the train & wait in the customs building. They finally returned our passports, & we were sent to the Czech customs officers. They were fun to talk to in broken Czech & German. After customs, we went outside, & our E German friend & wife were there, as they learned of our plight. They motorcycled there, & we talked for a while, and later boarded the next train to Prague.
As to the notion that US customs people were always so rude & nearly threatening, I can agree up to a point, but it's qualified. They've always had potential to act like they did w/ Mem, but they were also far more formalistic & neutrally polite, & simply did their jobs. The DIFFERENCE, as others have noted, is that they're in a different mind set, w/a new administration, & those who MIGHT'VE been so threatening, now had sort of a 'green light'.
In all of my E European travels, I was never treated like Mem was in the USA. I had a few snags, but not close to what Mem had.
+33 # spercepolnes 2017-03-01 19:34
This is not new, but it is new to an articulate middle aged white woman who is not afraid to speak up about it.
Don't specifically blame Trump for this - Most (not all) US Immigration officials I've encountered act like proper Arsewipes - I think a lot don't evevn realise they are doing it - it's an ingrained part of the culture - an arrogant and bullying domineering behaviour that makes them seem powerful, but wins them no friends - and lots of enemies - just like their countries foreign policy.......
+7 # Texas Aggie 2017-03-02 08:14
Ditto on the Arsewipes.
+22 # Dave_s Not Here 2017-03-01 19:45
Its called "having your consciousness raised."
+31 # btraven 2017-03-01 19:49
Welcome to Trumpestan. we're taking over the world where Hitler failed. How lucky you were that they didn't send you t Guantanamo. Count your blessings.
+26 # munza1 2017-03-01 19:49
A call to action for us all!
I just got landed immigrant status in Australia so I'll see how I'm treated on arrival in Sydney.
+34 # elkingo 2017-03-01 19:59
BRAVA MEM! We sane Americans are with you!
+39 # waldemar 2017-03-01 20:00
Brava, Ms. Fox. Your treatment was unconscionable. As an American citizen, I am appalled, and I apologize for my government. Roar away -- long and loud! So many Americans will be raising their voice with yours. Thank you for sharing your experience; I'm sure reliving it was difficult.
+30 # Gordon Berry 2017-03-01 20:01
She is a wonderful author of wonderful children's books. It is disconcerting to know that our fascist government has such a lot of racist haters working for them
+1 # Caliban 2017-03-02 23:18
"Racist haters"? I have no doubt there are plenty of those on our borders. But Ms Fox is describing dangerous hyper-nationali sts from whom nobody will be safe but their own kind.
+44 # Charles3000 2017-03-01 20:11
This is a story that should appear on the front page on paper and in the digital media. What she experienced is not my America.
+29 # futhark 2017-03-01 20:33
First in the Rules of Civility, copied out by a young George Washington, possibly from a French Jesuit source of some centuries earlier, but still applicable today:

"Every Action done in Company, ought to be with Some Sign of Respect, to those that are Present."

Successful interaction between parties is always contingent on the degree of respect shown to the opposite party. Yelling, threats, and torture are means that may be unnecessary, waste time and energy, and jeopardize the possibility of further positive relations.

Perhaps training in the basics of etiquette is not required of immigration officers.
+14 # Texas Aggie 2017-03-02 08:07
By the time they get to be immigration officers, it is too late to train them. The behavior they exhibit is hardwired by that time, and they should have learned in grade school how to behave.
+32 # elizabethblock 2017-03-01 20:39
In the piece about Mem Fox by Cynthia Zarin, on the New Yorker website, she said that the American who apologized (if that is the word) for the way she was treated said that the officials behaved with courtesy and professionalism.

Now we know what it means to be a professional, if you are a border official. And we know what courtesy means to them, too.

Makes me wonder: Did these people behave like this BEFORE Trump was elected? And are the thousands of new officials he has promised to hire going to be chosen for their rudeness, immaturity, and their ambition to power-trip?
-10 # itchyvet 2017-03-02 03:58
Seriously Elizabethblock, where have you been the last 15 - 16 years ?
This behavior began a long time BEFORE Trump ever stuck his hand up volunteering to run for office.
Do a little research yourself, come out of your comfort zone, see the wood for the trees, you will discover it all began with Bush 2. But then, I guess that would be unpalatable to recognize.
+7 # Michaeljohn 2017-03-02 18:54
Quoting itchyvet:
Seriously Elizabethblock, where have you been the last 15 - 16 years ?
This behavior began a long time BEFORE Trump ever stuck his hand up volunteering to run for office.
Do a little research yourself, come out of your comfort zone, see the wood for the trees, you will discover it all began with Bush 2. But then, I guess that would be unpalatable to recognize.

Yes, and probably even before Bush; some of these jerks have been in the service for a number of years, BUT, Trump's ascendancy to POTUS has put the stamp of approval on their psychopathic fantasies of power.
+4 # billwinkle 2017-03-02 22:54
Although your observation is true as to the POTENTIAL to act that way, they were far more restrained & formalistic. Now, however, many feel that they have a "green light" to be far more assertive, and to do so in more c=instances than before.
I traveled a lot in Europe 40 years ago, and was never treated the way Mem was. That includes Eastern Europe, during the Cold War & "Iron Curtain". Yet the East Germans, Poles, Czechs, Hungarians, & Romanian customs officials were more polite than those in my own country - the USA.
The change in the administration has made US officials bolder, more challenging & assertive, and especially with a far wider cross-section of foreign travelers to the USA. Mem's case is now closer to the rule, whereas earlier they were more constrained.
+22 # grandlakeguy 2017-03-01 20:45
I am ashamed for my country and I am outraged that the Democratic Party has learned nothing from their humiliating defeat in November.
+1 # ericlipps 2017-03-03 05:56
Quoting grandlakeguy:
I am ashamed for my country and I am outraged that the Democratic Party has learned nothing from their humiliating defeat in November.

Ahem. That "humiliating defeat" was one in which Hillary Clinton beat Donald Trump by 3 million votes.
+5 # librarian1984 2017-03-03 14:23
Not only did she lose but she dragged down the Senate and the House too.

Progressives on this site and others predicted ALL this -- yet you continue to act as if WE are the problem -- and then you're okay with the DNC keeping the same losers in charge of the NEXT election?

Neoliberals are not learning a thing.
+41 # dotlady 2017-03-01 20:50
Untutored American officials tend to be rude and arrogant. Why is this? Little teeny people with power and no grace or world knowledge. What Fox describes makes my hair stand on end and my heart beat with hers in fury. We have become a low-level banana republic. I hope she will write and protest. Go!
+28 # Wordslinger 2017-03-01 20:56
She's lucky they didn't waterboard her! Sneaking into our pristine country with books! No doubt about it, anyone who can read is potentially dangerous. Obviously, her interrogator has to compensate for his dreadfully persistent thoughts of inadequacy. Poor guy. Imagine, everyday facing dozens of foreigners, squalling babies, old women with flatulence. Thanks be to God people like him are keeping us safe.
+11 # Kootenay Coyote 2017-03-01 21:41
Remember when only the USSR had an Iron Curtain? What good company the USA chooses…
+11 # keenon the truth 2017-03-01 21:59
Oh shite. Poor lady. And now I am worrying for my Japanese daughter-in-law and my three year-old granddaughter . They will be flying out soon to join my son who is working in Boston. My daughter-in-law is already seriously scared of going to America now that Trump is in power. Treatment like this will traumatise her and she will likely decide to come back to Japan. I exaggerate not.
+16 # sharag 2017-03-01 22:56
Mem Fox was able to write about this. She was treated badly, but was able enter the US, be with friends and return to Australia, as is her right. What about the thousands of others who are treated far worse, held in detention cages and have absolutely no voice or friends, no hope? A valid visa is no longer protection from ignorant and illegal abuse by US immigration staff. Sorry Mem. Welcome to the new America.
+17 # Greg Scott 2017-03-01 23:19
Is this really the best we can do as a country? Be assholes to foreigners in the cloak of defending our 'freedom'?

This is not the way I was brought up. And I do not appreciate this behavior from representatives of my government. But leadership is example and our 'leader' is a liar and a boor.
+14 # JayaVII 2017-03-01 23:21
I apologize on behalf of my country. I've traveled to many different lands and the only place I've ever been treated rudely by customs and immigration people is the U.S., upon my return. It creates a strange sort of reverse culture shock. People just about everywhere understand the concept of basic human dignity and respect. Only here is dignity such an unknown thing. This is the psychological price of empire.
+15 # candida 2017-03-02 02:53
Folks, THIS IS NOT NEW! This is how brown people get treated ALL THE TIME by ICE and Customs at the border, in border states, throughout the South and, increasingly, north of border states, as well as airports. What's new is it happened to a white, privileged woman. Even she acknowledges that! This was inevitable, really, given the complacency of white people toward the widening repression of brown and black people over the past decades. Did you know that Constitutional rights and freedoms are suspended at the border? And that the definition of "the border" has been expanding for decades? You have been living in a nation that is Kafkaesque and Nazi-istic, (well, since forever), but ever since the border was drawn and, especially, since the 1990's when militarization of the border went on steroids due to NAFTA (keeping out all the dispossessed they knew would be wanting to come over after losing their lands and livelihoods due to the US corporatization of Mexico's and Central America's economies). So many of the posters here seem oblivious to this. I just hope that, if one day the people are able to counteract Trump and his policies, they won't forget that democracy, freedom of movement, life and liberty needs to be for everyone and not just white people.
+6 # vitobonespur 2017-03-02 03:33
From late in 2000 to late 2008, if anybody had asked, I was actually ashamed to say I was an American, so I became Canadian. Then in early 2009 I became American again and have been up until recently. So, Mother Canada, I'm ba-aack!
-22 # itchyvet 2017-03-02 03:55
I love how this sort of behavior is laid at Trumps feet, when the EVIDENCE clearly establishes it began with Bush 2 in the Whitehouse.
I bet too, Ms Fox thought his policies were all a good thing as long as they did not interfere with her interests.
When I first saw her posts, I straight way thought to myself, here is one of those people who thought the laws being passed curbing people's freedoms were a good thing and only people who had something to fear would be effected.
Well Lo and Behold M's Fox, now you know, you don't have to be a law breaker to be treated like a criminal. Nice to see you've finaly seen the light.
+19 # engelbach 2017-03-02 12:24
You have no reason to be insulting to Ms. Fox.

You have no idea what she thought of G. W. Bush, or to believe that she "thought the laws being passed curbing people's freedoms were a good thing."

What presumptious arrogance on your part.
+7 # Nancy Jakeman 2017-03-02 05:26
I think many of us are being put through difficult situations to bring out the activist in us. I remember feeling this way when began. Instead of sitting at home eating peanut butter sandwiches I began to take note of what was "really" happening in our world, on our Earth. Just a thought...
-7 # johnmortl 2017-03-02 06:11
Not very pleasant when the shoe is on the other foot, is it? This sort of mistreatment has been going on for as long as I can remember and was ignored or possibly applauded when meted out to those that didn't merit consideration because they were arbitrarily labelled as Anti-Semites, bigots, Fascists, etc,etc, by narrow minded ideologues unwilling to allow inconvenient views.
-2 # engelbach 2017-03-02 12:27
Why don't you show us an example of someone being falsely labeled as a bigot and who was thus treated this way.
+15 # QueenBee62 2017-03-02 06:34
I have been ashamed to call myself American ever since the election of Donald Trump. Your experience, Ms, Fox, only intensifies my feeling. I am sorry that you were subjected to this treatment. I know that ICE officials are typically uncivil--my Canadian husband was detained years ago at JFK--but until I read your account I was unaware of the level of hostility and hatred that people are now routinely subjected to. Trump, with his anti-immigrant rhetoric, is directly responsible for attracting and unleashing the expression of this hatred.

Your experience may have been the proverbial blessing in disguise, as it gives us a window into the inhumane treatment that immigrants and visitors less fortunate than you experience upon entry to the U.S.

Thank you for speaking out!
+5 # John Escher 2017-03-02 14:06
Quoting QueenBee62:
until I read your account I was unaware of the level of hostility and hatred that people are now routinely subjected to. Trump, with his anti-immigrant rhetoric, is directly responsible for attracting and unleashing the expression of this hatred.

+5 # Salburger 2017-03-02 07:37
Forget the new regime crap, the immigration people have been like this for many decades. And while they were more polite the Canadians gave me a similar hassle once when I was to give a talk in Canada
+9 # AUCHMANNOCH 2017-03-02 07:46
It may be getting worse under Trump but according to at least three of my mates who have visited the U.S.A. during Obama's time they were treated with no respect either.
+17 # mill valley maven 2017-03-02 09:14
"– they’ve got all the power that they want but they don’t have the training."
"Mentally healthy people don' what they're told no matter what..."

Don't assume that only psychopaths act this way. The cruel behavior of petty officials is quite predictable, based on the Stanford prison study in the 1971. When even ordinary people are given unchecked control over others, they tend to become brutal tyrants.
Another experiment, by Milgram, shows that ordinary people will follow orders, even when they think they are causing harm to another person.
+12 # RaW 2017-03-02 11:43
Have we learned nothing from the Stanford Prison Experiment or the Milgram experiments? In a closed room, given control, uniforms and guns, even decent people can easily devolve into a psychopathic culture. Worse, these agents self-select for this job by applying for it and staying in it.

When we talk about "extreme vetting", that is what is needed for the agents who can and do unnecessarily radicalize people and damage our reputation around the world.

Please investigate this and legislate the necessary controls and protections.
+5 # elkingo 2017-03-02 14:25
Hey Munza: I visited Sydney about 8 years back as a tourist. I was pulled aside, briefly questioned, the goddamn dog sniffed me (and everybody else) for explosives (which I absolutely hate) - BUT I WAS NOT ABUSED OR EXCESSIVELY DETAINED! THAT'S THE DIFFERENCE! CHALK ONE UP FOR DOWN-UNDER! THE JOINT IS MORE CIVILIZED THAN WE ARE!
+4 # 2017-03-02 17:34
When we came back from teaching in China in 1988-89 and were evacuated after the Tiananmen student movement. We came into the US and my wife, a Canadian, who had two American children applied for a new green card. Then she went to Canada to see her relatives, and when she tried to re-enter the US she was not allowed. Apparently if you apply for the green card from within the States you cannot leave the States until it is granted. She was stopped at the Windsor-Detroit border on the day that the Berlin Wall came down and all the propaganda was being blared on the news about freedom. She was told if she tried to cross again before her green card was granted, that she would be banned for life from entering the country and I would also be fined a large sum of money for attempting to aid her to cross. It took almost a year until she got the card and was allowed back in to the US. We had live apart for a year. Everytime I crossed to Canada to see her and came back to the US I was interrogated at the border for 20 or 30 minutes. Never ever let a pseudo patriot tell me about freedom. Most immigrants to the US could tell you stories that would make your skin crawl. If Trump wants to hire 5,000 more border guards, where is he going to find that many qualified and sober people?
+5 # Desiderata 2017-03-03 15:11

If Trump wants to hire 5,000 more border guards, where is he going to find that many qualified and sober people?

Qualified ?What has that got to do with the job ? These will be jobs for people with little to no formal training and even less education.A new way for the politicians to spin the "I created more jobs than...myth. Great idea ..give power to morons and set them loose on foreigners entering your country for business and pleasure.
I am a Canadian ,previously married to a U.S citizen and now living overseas . In my considerable experience with US border officials I have come to the conclusion that they have the collective intelligence of a Gnat.
Manners ? What manners ? We foreigners are privileged to be ALLOWED to enter into the "greatest nation on earth ". They have something they think we all want ...America.. so they are entitled to treat us anyway they see fit.
I too have been rudely treated but these people .
IHowever I can't set myself up for more abuse if I don't put myself in their line of fire.
Hence my decision to boycott the hallowed kingdom of The USA. I fly over it , around it ,but have no further interest in wasting my time or my money it.
If more people do likewise maybe some sort of financial message will get through.
Who needs it ? The world is a big place . There are lots of other interesting , beautiful and far more welcoming options.
-1 # Arden 2017-03-02 20:33
When the guy said "what do you expect me to do, stand here while you finish it?", I'd like to think I would have said "Well, if you will........." in a nice, sweet, southern drawl, but the truth is most likely a bit different.
+3 # joeray 2017-03-03 01:15
I am a criminal defense attorney, white and a judicial officer the courts. I have been providing free legal services to those harassed and offended by the customs service here in Alaska... We have your back Ms Fox... These bastards have picked up on Trump's arrogance and are acting in an "extreme vetting manner"... No one vets better than Israel and they do not treat people like you were treated... Peace...
+3 # John S. Browne 2017-03-03 19:40

They do if you're Palestinian.

+3 # John S. Browne 2017-03-03 19:42

...Or someone who's known to be going there to support the Palestinians.


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