Back to previous post: Pasta e fagioli thinghi

Go to Making Light's front page.

Forward to next post: To boldly spoil: Trek thread

Subscribe (via RSS) to this post's comment thread. (What does this mean? Here's a quick introduction.)

May 11, 2009

Legal Immigration
Posted by Jim Macdonald at 11:32 AM * 212 comments

So it looks like we’re going to lose our bakery. I’m pretty sure that some of our Loyal Readers and such have had some of their bread: Patrick and Teresa, Miss Nancy, I know that I’ve brought you loaves from Le Rendez-Vous (corner of Bridge Street and Main Street, Colebrook). Folks who went to Moose Festival, I’m pretty sure that you’ve had some too.

That’s our favorite spot for going over galleys—big tables, they don’t mind writers hanging out, they make the coffee, and there’s pastries. That’s why The Apocalypse Door mentioned Le Rendez-Vous in the acknowledgments. Our author photo for Land of Mist and Snow was taken there.

So what to my wondering eyes should appear in the newspaper this week but this?

Local, State Officials Rally to Help Stranded Bakery Owner.

State officials and U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen’s office are working to help Le Rendez-Vous French bakery owner Verlaine Daöron, stranded in her native France after having been denied a visa renewal. Her partner, Marc Ounis, has been operating the bakery and café on his own for the past month, and fears that he will have to close if Verlaine is unable to return.

Over the past eight years Le Rendez-Vous has become a favorite meeting place and cultural center, where visitors can hear local music or exchange the news of the day. As one Lancaster resident recently stated, “It’s the envy of every town around you.”

Before Le Rendez-Vous, folks who wanted fresh French bread had to drive to Coaticook (pronounced Quaticook), in Quebec. Looks like folks will have to do that again, soon. Why?
That is precisely what Benoit Lamontagne, who works as an agent for the N. H. Department of Resources and Economic Development is hoping will help the situation. The criteria for a class E2 visa require the business to make a substantial profit, which it does not; the alternative is to prove that the bakery is vital to the local economy.
“Substantial profit”? Who are they kidding. We’re talking about the North Country of New Hampshire here. We’re talking about “hardscrabble farming.” Just staying in business around here is showing a substantial profit, no matter what it might look like to Embassy people assigned to Paris, France. The Chrysler dealership in town closed last year. The Ford dealership in town closed in January of this year. And right now we’re waiting to find out (the decision will be reached this week) whether GM will close their dealership in town, leaving us with no car dealers (or factory service) closer than fifty miles away.

“Vital to the local economy.” Oh yes. Any vacant storefront on Main Street is a substantial percentage of the local economy.

“We continue to hope that the American Embassy in Paris will understand the importance of this establishment to Colebrook and Northern New Hampshire, and realize that they have made an error in denying the renewal of Verlaine’s E2 visa,” Mr. Lamontagne said on Monday. “I contacted DRED commissioner George Bald when Marc told me this had happened. He immediately called Sen. Shaheen’s office and they agreed to help. We have since been working on this, gathering data and making a case for Verlaine.”
That was Wednesday’s News and Sentinel. Friday’s Colebrook Chronicle had this: Le Rendez-Vous May Soon Be Facing Decision
The clock is ticking for Le Rendez-Vous Bakery regarding whether it will be able to remain open in Colebrook.

On Tuesday, the Chronicle spoke with Marc Ounis, whose partner, Verlain Daeron, is in Paris after having been denied her E2 Visa renewal. He appeared resigned to the idea that it’s just a matter of days before he’ll have to make the decision to close up shop. We asked him what would be the cut off date for deciding to close the bakery and he tlod use, “When I run out of flour for making the bread, then I will have to close. And I have enough flour for less than two weeks.”

There have been many locally who have stepped in to help Ounis for free. Last weekend a group from Kheops International helped Marc run the business on a busy Saturday. Others have offered to handle the counter or help in any way possible. “I am very grateful to everyone,” Marc said.

What else? There’s a petition going around. Doyle and I have signed it. We sent a letter to Jeanne Shaheen. Anyone who’s familiar with the place… please do the same.
To better understand the E2 Visa process, the Chronicle spoke with David West, owner of Liebl Printing in Colebrook. West is a citizen of England and is also in this country on an E2 Visa. He explained that until a few years ago, those in this country on an E2 Visa were not required to return to their home countries to get their Visas renewed. He explained that when the passport system was updated a few years ago, the embassies in the United Stated did not have the funds to upgrade their systems, and that is why so many E2 Visas are handled through the American Embassy in Paris.

However, as the volume of those looking for an E2 Visa increased, that embassy has not been able to keep up with demand and, once an application has been denied—such as Verlaine Daeron’s—it is highly unlikely that she will be returning to the U.S.

This may not seem like much to folks who live in big cites with six bakeries to the block, but it is a big deal up here. The only trick will be getting the American Embassy in Paris to agree.

I would take it kindly if folks would link to this and write about it elsewhere.

Links:

  • Congressman Paul Hodes (Democrat, District 2. He wants to be a senator.)
  • Senator Jeanne Shaheen (Democrat)
  • Senator Judd Gregg (Republican. He’s up for re-election in two years, in a state that’s going increasingly blue.)
  • Benoit Lamontagne
    [UPDATE: More links]
    [UPDATE: Blog reactions] [UPDATE]
  • Comments on Legal Immigration:
    #1 ::: Jim Hetley ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2009, 12:38 PM:

    Washington (DC, not the state of) has little comprehension and less care about life in areas where the population is measured in hundreds rather than hundreds of thousands, and one business matters.

    Good luck. And make sure your passport is up to date if you need to run over to Quebec for decent bread. Washington (DC) doesn't know much about living on the border, either.

    #2 ::: Liza ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2009, 12:57 PM:

    If he's going to stay open as long as he has flour, has anybody started dropping off anonymous gifts of flour yet?

    #3 ::: mds ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2009, 01:06 PM:
    This may not seem like much to folks who live in big cites with six bakeries to the block, but it is a big deal up here.

    Such local businesses are a big deal to some of us in big(gish) cities, too, where it's likelier to be six Paneras to the block.

    #4 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2009, 01:12 PM:

    Liza, getting the correct grade of flour matters.

    #5 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2009, 01:21 PM:

    Jim -- who does he buy his flour from? If it's King Arthur (Vermont) -- they might be willing to contact their Senators and Reps.

    #6 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2009, 01:40 PM:

    Just to clarify, Senator Judd Gregg (R-NH) has said that he's unlikely to seek re-election in 2010. Which probably makes Representive Paul Hodes (D-NH2) even more eager to oblige his constituents right now, because Judd's retirement combined with NH's increasing blueness gives Hodes a once-in-a-lifetime optimal shot at scoring a Senate seat.

    #7 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2009, 01:46 PM:

    Lori, they're closed on Mondays. I'll try to find out tomorrow.

    #8 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2009, 01:53 PM:

    Why doesn't she have a Green Card?

    #9 ::: Torrilin ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2009, 02:04 PM:

    There are no more permanent green cards. That's why. 10 year visa, max. There's still more fun in store even if you have a green card... imagine what happens if you got your green card at age six and try to apply for citizenship. They want to know every single time you have left the United States. Ever. If you "lie" because you don't remember a school trip to Canada, or a quick trip to visit your grandmother, you can be deported.

    I hate our immigration system. It is evil, both in design and in execution.

    #10 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2009, 02:04 PM:

    Why doesn't she have a Green Card?

    I don't know, but suspect "Isn't eligible for one" is the answer.

    #11 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2009, 02:08 PM:

    Fragano Ledgister @ 8 ...

    Probably because she's never succeeded at the Green Card Lottery? Just as probably because there's some reason why she's not eligible for a green card in the first place?

    While I wish her luck, I fear the US Immigration system is (at best) a Kafka-esque nightmare of conflicting and obscure directives ruled over by a group of folk about whom, for the most part, the less said the better[0]. It also does not, as near as I can tell, support the concept of compassion which is common to many other systems.

    [0] ... and I think it says something that my first though on posting that second sentence was to wonder if it was a bad and dangerous idea to say something negative about US INS...

    #12 ::: Doug ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2009, 02:12 PM:

    Y'all might also consider working this from the Paris end. I don't know anybody in the Embassy there, but here is the contact page for Democrats Abroad in Paris:

    http://www.democratsabroad.org/node/5878

    Here are their counterparts from across the aisle:

    http://www.republicansabroad.fr/RAF_Contact.htm

    They may not have any direct responsibility, but (1) immigration snags are something that Americans abroad can almost always relate two; and (2) people active in expat communities will often know people at the US embassies, with the bonus of informal lines of communications.

    Good luck!

    #13 ::: debcha ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2009, 02:29 PM:

    Torrilin, #9: There are no more permanent green cards. 10 year visa, max.

    I believe that you are conflating two things. Having a green card gives you the right to live permanently in the US - it is not a visa. However, the actual card needs to be renewed every ten years. It's an administrative renewal, although presumably the USCIS takes the opportunity to check that you haven't violated any of the conditions.

    As for wondering why she doesn't have a green card, Reason Magazine's cartoon flowchart of the legal immigration process into the US might provide some insight.

    #14 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2009, 02:35 PM:

    debcha @ 13 ...

    That cartoon is wonderful, thank you!!!

    #15 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2009, 02:43 PM:

    Jim Hetley @1: Washington DC certainly knows a lot more than you think about life under bureaucracy, and about life along a border. I think you mean to refer to Members of Congress, many of whom are simply overworked bureaucrats and some of whom are venal idiots. Most of Washington DC is occupied by people who can't even vote for their own representation in Congress.

    We've just finished an 8 year reign of security theater designed to make things difficult for any non-American (and for Americans with the Wrong Ideas). Immigration and Naturalization were a key part of that, and it should be no surprise that immigration is more difficult than it used to be, compared to the time when INS was not part of DHS.

    Getting rid of DHS would solve a lot of problems. Upgrading all the embassies would solve a lot of other problems. Blaming "Washington DC" doesn't get anything done.

    #16 ::: Liza ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2009, 02:44 PM:

    debcha @ 13: Thanks for the cartoon! Both my (American) parents are or have been married to non-citizens, and had to deal with immigration. I think they'll enjoy the cartoon.

    #17 ::: Steve Miller ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2009, 03:00 PM:

    SFWA member Mark J. McGarry is a newspaper editor in Paris ...
    have you told him about it?

    #18 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2009, 03:19 PM:

    Ginger:

    I have boundless faith in the ability of the previous administration to make things worse, but my impression is that immigration laws were a godawful jumble long before W darkened the door of the white house, and long before the 9/11 security theater industry got its start.

    #19 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2009, 03:30 PM:

    Steve, do you know Mark?

    #20 ::: Torrilin ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2009, 03:42 PM:

    Debcha, my view of the INS is that of a (youngish) citizen with a lot of immigrant adopted aunties and uncles, who have come in over about a 30 year period. So I know some of them have had green cards that are just plain permanent, with no strange paperwork or need to visit the embassies or INS, and others tear their hair out over the INS every so often. The idea of my family getting stuck overseas or deported is just horrifying... and due to the rules and rule changes, it's a real possibility. And facing that as a 10 year old is not much fun. (now that I'm an adult, I have friends of my own who are immigrants... and the rules are just as confusing and evil)

    If *I* have this much trouble, I can't imagine how someone from another country manages.

    And yes, I'm passing the story along.

    #21 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2009, 03:43 PM:

    albatross @ 18: Immigration was always clunky, but it didn't take a minimum of 7 years for the qualified-and-desirable* to get through. It's gotten clunkier, not less, and it's gotten more difficult to navigate as errors become ejection points rather than reset points. In general, it's gone from just bureaucratic inertia to active malevolence.

    *Assuming non-Beckham-like status, of course.

    #22 ::: Sharon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2009, 04:03 PM:

    Jim #19: Mark's establishment and ours exchange Christmas cards. He used to be the editor of the Bulletin.

    #23 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2009, 04:10 PM:

    Sharon, then would you be good enough to point him to this story?

    #24 ::: Anna Feruglio Dal Dan ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2009, 04:21 PM:

    Tell her to get a job at Goldman Sachs. No problem with getting a Visa there.

    There are very good arguments for doing for the movement of people what we consider just and obvious and As God Intended for movements of goods and capital: let them through. It would profit the countries that let people in (GDP rises along with the numbers you let in), it would be immensely more useful than any aid program in lifting the origin countries out of poverty, it would save thousands of people from death every year, lessen the grip of organized crime and exploitative bosses on illegal immigrants.

    And of course it would be fairer.

    But good luck convincing the teeming masses of this.

    #25 ::: debcha ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2009, 05:49 PM:

    Torrilin, #20:

    I think you implied this, but just to clarify: green cards (the physical card) used to be permanent - you got one, and that was it (this was likely the case for the earlier arrivals in your country). Now, they have to be renewed, but you don't go through the whole process again. This [PDF] is the renewal form.

    Having said that, every interaction with the USCIS is fraught when you are an immigrant. The rules are byzantine, to say the least. Something can always go wrong, you have virtually no recourse if it does, and the consequences are, as you point out, horrifying (deportation = losing your job, your community, and quite possibly your family if you have to move back to your home country and they stay).

    Incidentally, there is a simple and obvious reason why immigration rules are clunky and have only gotten worse under the previous administration: immigrants can't vote.

    #26 ::: debcha ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2009, 05:53 PM:

    Er, 'in your country,' above, should read 'in your family.'

    #27 ::: Giacomo ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2009, 06:07 PM:

    I hate our immigration system. It is evil, both in design and in execution.

    All immigration systems are evil in design and execution. To harass and keep away those pesky foreigners is the reason they exist.

    Don't let me start ranting about the Italian immigration laws and their many Kafka-esque contradictions and absurdities, it's late and I'm supposed to work tomorrow.

    #28 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2009, 07:23 PM:

    I'm so glad that I became a citizen of America in 1994 and not now. Maybe the INS doesn't want a repeat of 2004, when many resident aliens became Americans in 2004 so that they could vote against Dubya. As for Giacomo's comment about all immigration systems, I wouldn't call them evil, but when my wife-to-be went thru the Canadian system to come live with me in the Great White North, Canada's bureaucracy acted as it feared a massive influx of Californians.

    #29 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2009, 07:35 PM:

    Torrilin #9: As a Green Card holder, I can assure you of my certain knowledge that they continue to exist. I asked because I wondered if there was a particular reason preventing her from having received one.

    #30 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2009, 07:44 PM:

    debcha #25: I'll add a rider to your final statement: encumbrances on immigrants* are red meat for Republican voters. This has had certain, ahem, blowback effects. Please see your nearest California for examples.


    *For "immigrants" please read "Hispanics" where applicable.

    #31 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2009, 08:14 PM:

    Serge @ #28, Canada's bureaucracy acted as it feared a massive influx of Californians.

    Doesn't everybody?

    (I was born in Oakland, Ca.)

    #32 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2009, 08:21 PM:

    Linkmeister @ 31... Just below Californians, the other great fear of Canada's immigration officials is that all Hawaiians will decide to relocate to Ottawa.

    #33 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2009, 08:24 PM:

    Serge @ #32, all Hawaiians will decide to relocate to Ottawa.

    Pfffft! It snows there!

    #34 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2009, 08:44 PM:

    Linkmeister @ 33... Coming this autumn, Tom Selleck in Magnum P.Ice....

    #35 ::: debcha ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2009, 08:49 PM:

    Serge, #28: when my wife-to-be went thru the Canadian system to come live with me in the Great White North...

    Did you sponsor her, or did she immigrate under her own steam? If you sponsored her, that's an interesting distinction right there - the US only recognizes marriages (not common-law relationships) for immigration purposes. I know of some shotgun weddings because one partner's job was transferred from a Canadian to the US office.

    It's possible that either there is no pathway from an E2 visa to residency, or that there is but that she is still in the (normally very long) process.

    Fragano, #30:...encumbrances on immigrants* are red meat for Republican voters. This has had certain, ahem, blowback effects.

    Fragano, did you get your green card as I did, through a faculty position, or was it via a different pathway?

    #36 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2009, 08:49 PM:

    Serge @ 32 ...
    Linkmeister @ 31... Just below Californians, the other great fear of Canada's immigration officials is that all Hawaiians will decide to relocate to Ottawa.

    What's to worry about? They might all get lei'd ?

    #37 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2009, 09:25 PM:

    debcha @ 36... Immigration was making it impossible for her to move to Toronto on her own so I suggested that, if we promised Immigration that we'd get married after her moving up there, they'd let her in. that's not the only reason why I made that suggestion, of course.

    #38 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2009, 09:27 PM:

    xeger @ 36... Or they were afraid that the Hawaians would try to fuse their national musical instrument with Canada's national sport and the country wind up with Hockeylele Night on the CBC.

    #39 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2009, 09:45 PM:

    Oh, man, Serge. What would Don Cherry make of Jake Shimabukuro?

    #40 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2009, 10:04 PM:

    The first time I had to renew my Alien Registration Card (as a Canadian with permanent residence in the US) it cost me $18. The second time, it cost $75. The last time, it was $300, and required keeping a scheduled appointment in another city.

    To be fair, it is an impressive card: iridescent images on the front surface, and microprinted portraits of the presidents and the flags of the states on the back surface. Sure to be a collectible.

    #41 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2009, 10:09 PM:

    Rob Rusick @ #40 Sure to be a collectible.

    Particularly at $300 a pop for the original.

    #42 ::: Sharon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2009, 10:27 PM:

    Jim -- done.

    #43 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2009, 10:40 PM:

    Serge, I'm so glad I did not have a mouthful of beer. This keyboard is supposed to be 'moisture resistant' but I don't want to test it (you seldom find good keyboards for $10).

    #44 ::: Melissa G. ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2009, 10:42 PM:

    Another bit of fun with the INS:

    Friends of ours moved from CA to Canada for his work. While there, their son was born. Pretty soon after that, the job went away, and they moved back to the US.

    Fast forward 3 1/2 years. Turns out, since they didn't "report his birth to the US embassy in Canada," they now have to go thru filing a full immigration request, along with a $1300 fee. Along with a full medical exam, and fingerprints (at their expense). And, probably, an immigration attorney, since the paperwork packet they were given has only vague instructions.

    Of course, nothing was mentioned to them when they moved back to the US. Oh, no, that would have been too easy.

    You'd think that in this kind of situation, if the INS _really_ wants to be sure that this minor child was produced by these two natural-born citizens, couldn't they just get a DNA sample to confirm he's actually their kid?

    #45 ::: debcha ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2009, 11:24 PM:

    Rob Rusick, #40: To be fair, it is an impressive card: iridescent images on the front surface, and microprinted portraits of the presidents and the flags of the states on the back surface.

    I have to say that I'm looking forward to seeing a new one (I hope to get my citizenship before mine renews). The presidents are negative images, so they appear dark on light. I want to see the latest addition...

    Linkmeister, #41: Particularly at $300 a pop for the original.

    It typically costs about ten times that to go through the green card process. The black market price for real, valid green cards is higher still - I've heard it's in the $10K range.

    Melissa G, #44: ...couldn't [the USCIS] just get a DNA sample to confirm he's actually their kid?

    Unfortunately, bureacracy doesn't move at the same speed as technology. Or possibly at all: in order to get my green card, I had to swear that I wasn't a Communist, for example (also, among many other things, that I wasn't a leper, a procurer, or had 'knowingly committed a crime of moral turpitude,' which I had to get translated).

    #46 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2009, 11:52 PM:

    debcha @ 45 ...
    Not to mention genocide and prostitution...

    #47 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2009, 12:11 AM:

    I find that there's a wikipedia page listing what Immigration considers crimes of moral turpitude, "conduct that is considered contrary to community standards of justice, honesty or good morals."

    Strangely, the list doesn't include:
    1. Typing email or forum posts in ALL CAPS.
    2. Forward alarmist email that you should have checked on Snopes.
    3. Serving Coors beer to guests.

    Any of these would certainly offend the standards in my community!

    #48 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2009, 12:18 AM:

    Sharon: Thanks.

    #49 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2009, 12:32 AM:

    JANETL@47 U IZ 2 RITE!!!!! LOL!!!!!

    #50 ::: Summer Storms ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2009, 12:34 AM:

    Janetl, 47:

    You forgot #4: letting drunken friends attempt to perform Baby Got Back in public on karaoke night.

    #51 ::: debcha ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2009, 12:40 AM:

    xeger, #46: Oh, and also that I wasn't a Nazi collaborator between 1933 and 1945 (here's the full list, if anyone is interested in what else me, xeger, Rob, Serge, Fragano et alii are not - p. 3 of the PDF).

    janetl, #47: Interesting. I asked my lawyer, and he said that a good rule of thumb was any crime that would put you in jail for more than 5 years. He also pointed out that you're asked if you knowingly committed the crime - if you were drunk or high at the time, you could legitimately answer 'no.' (I guess thinking of things like that is why immigration lawyers get paid the big bucks.)

    #52 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2009, 01:47 AM:

    debcha: Unless being drunk, or high, might violate those standards. :)

    #53 ::: debcha ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2009, 02:24 AM:

    Well, I definitely know people who are a crime against the community when they are drunk. I do think it was the local standards that were relevant, so being drunk in Saudi Arabia, say, might qualify (being drunk in Canada--or high, for that matter--not so much).

    I should add that all of my interactions with the USCIS have been straightforward, and I certainly make a conscientious effort to make sure I fulfill all the conditions of being in the US (like notifying the USCIS when I move). But, like all immigrants, I live in fear of discovering I made a minor error, with catastrophic consequences.

    Unfortunately, one of the side effects of this discussion is that we haven't exactly made a case for the USCIS acting in a timely, responsive manner, which doesn't bode well for Verlaine Daoron's case and Le Rendez-Vous. She's essentially been retroactively deported, and her life has been turned upside-down, to say the least. It's clear that the bakery is important to the community, and I hope that this can be made clear to the USCIS and this mess gets straightened out.

    #54 ::: Linkmeister sees trite spam on Legal Immigration ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2009, 03:23 AM:

    Even these days, that's trite commenting.

    #55 ::: Nathan Russell ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2009, 05:09 AM:

    debcha@#51, I find it interesting that they *presently* ask about the communist party. Is there presently a communism exemption to the 1st amendment to go with the terrorism exemption to most of the others?

    Also, how do you live in certain countries without affiliating with a totalitarian party?

    #56 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2009, 08:36 AM:

    debcha @ 53 ...
    But, like all immigrants, I live in fear of discovering I made a minor error, with catastrophic consequences.

    This is, I think, the telling point. The default assumption of the US INS appears to be that you are willfully, maliciously and intentionally doing the Wrong Thing(tm) -- innocent mistakes, dotting the T and crossing the I -- these are not a part of the INS lexicon.

    I can't imagine US INS, upon my failing to have the correct number of photos of the correct type, telling me "The photo place in the mall opens at 10am -- get the pictures, and then come back to see me, and we'll get this wrapped up"[0].

    [0] ... and indeed, the response from US INS was "Here's all of your paperwork back, via the mail, we won't tell you what the correct format should be, but you'd better fix it. Don't forget the correct fees.".

    #57 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2009, 09:35 AM:

    debcha #35: I got my Green Card the easiest way, by marrying a United States citizen.

    #58 ::: Tim Illingworth ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2009, 09:40 AM:

    Debcha @ 53:
    But, like all immigrants, I live in fear of discovering I made a minor error, with catastrophic consequences.

    Or, worse, that they made a mistake and won't admit it. When we put in the initial Petition last year, they had a list of the required documents and a Strong Warning against enclosing anything else. This list did not include my birth certificate.

    So, of course, they bounced it for not including my birth certificate...

    It probably didn't cost us more than a month and possibly $20,000 or so (the pound was falling when we finally moved).

    #59 ::: John Houghton ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2009, 11:23 AM:

    Nathan Russell #56:
    What is worse is that they have been known to interrogate the citizen spouse about his/her possible Communist politics.

    And the Communist Party is a legal and active party in the United States -- there is no provision in the Constitution that allows banning politics. Methods can be banned, but basic politics can't be(violent overthrow of the Government isn't allowed, but the American Communist Party doesn't actually advocate violence, although they do use words like "fight" and "revolution" a whole lot).
    I personally think that having an active Communist Party in the US is a good thing since they bring interesting and useful perspective to the table, but I have no desire to see them succeed in their overarching goal. Communism seems to work fine in small groups, but not in anything larger than, say, a village or a Monastery.
    Cranking up our level of Socialism to universal health care and a better safety net are goals that I heartily contribute to.

    #60 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2009, 11:30 AM:

    I don't think immigration laws automatically have to be evil, but Tim's example is pretty good evidence that the people setting the administrative rules are going to have an interesting time when they meet Saint Peter.

    If that is their Afterlife of Choice, that is.

    #61 ::: John Houghton ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2009, 11:37 AM:

    debcha #51:
    I wouldn't qualify under item 4 -- I've funded terrorist and other banned activities by virtue of paying US federal taxes...

    #62 ::: Doug K ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2009, 11:43 AM:

    debcha @ 13, thanks for the cartoon.. it made me laugh for a particular reason, the panel "are you skilled ?"

    I came over on a H1-B, the so-called 'skilled immigrant'. When I went to the social security office to register, a week after arriving, the nice lady looked at my visa and said: "Wow, are you a circus clown ?"
    Umm, no ?
    "The last one of these I saw was a clown".
    Highly skilled, indeed.

    When my wife went in to register, an old man tried to pick her up, saying once his SS payment came in he was going to hit the road and did she want to come ?

    For the next step in the cartoon, note that in the business of software, the costs of a H1-B sponsorship pale in comparison with the savings available by underpaying the H1-B employees..

    I do hope for all concerned that Verlaine Daöron can get back again. We live in a large city, with a severe shortage of bakeries. Isabella and her husband have just opened a French bakery in a strip mall near us. Isabella's quiche is the food they eat for breakfast in heaven.

    #63 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2009, 11:44 AM:

    Are there countries where the immigration/customs bureaucracies function especially well?

    #64 ::: debcha ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2009, 12:22 PM:

    John Houghton, #60: ...there is no provision in the Constitution that allows banning politics.

    True, but in case it isn't obvious by now, immigrants do not get the same rights as citizens.

    I can haz due process, plz?

    #65 ::: MD² ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2009, 12:45 PM:

    albatross@64: Are there countries where the immigration/customs bureaucracies function especially well?

    Depends on what you mean by "well". I think most of them do what they were intended to pretty well. They keep people away, disunited and miserable.

    Or, worse, that they made a mistake and won't admit it.

    One of my teachers had to fly back to the US midterms because of one such mistake made by the French administration. "Kafkaian administration" is so redundant you barely see it at times.

    #66 ::: Amanda G ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2009, 01:02 PM:

    Well, I was seriously considering moving to New Zealand a couple of years ago and the process didn't seem that bad. I mean, not *easy*, but...the New Zealand Immigration Service struck me as being mostly made up of reasonable people. Granted, while I looked at all the forms and steps, I never pursued it any further than getting a working holiday visa (the which was pretty painless, but getting permanent residency is a lot more involved), so I don't really have personal experience of the process, and could be mistaken. I did hang out on an NZ emigration forum for a while, though, and read lots of posts from people who *were* in the process of emigrating, or had already done so. They had to go through hoops, yes, but nothing like some of the comments I've seen about the INS. Seems a bit like the difference between going through customs at a U.S. airport and going through customs in Auckland, both of which I *do* have personal experience with (and if I never have to fly through the U.S. again, it'll be too soon...)

    Mind you, New Zealand has only four million people, and obviously a correspondingly small civil service, so it may not be fair to compare it to larger countries - I think it's harder for bigger organizations to refrain from making things more and more complicated.

    #67 ::: debcha ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2009, 02:17 PM:

    Fragano, #58: I got my Green Card the easiest way, by marrying a United States citizen.

    Ah. I got my green card the second-easiest way; in my case, the answer to the question in the cartoon, "Can you prove that you are a genius?", was "Yes." To be precise, institutions applying for green cards on behalf of faculty make the case that there is no one else in the US with those specialized skills and knowledge, and it's therefore in the national interest for them to reside here. So it only took me about a year and a half to get my green card.

    This, of course, makes me pretty much the best case scenario for dealing with USCIS: I'm female, Canadian, English-speaking, educated, on a national interest waiver, and I had a lawyer to guide me through the process. What would it be like to go through the process as a refugee? Or even to not be fluent in English (much less in bureaucratese)?

    #68 ::: Pendrift ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2009, 02:41 PM:

    The NY Times featured immigration stories a year ago as a companion feature to an article about a couple who were perfectly legal immigrants until they made the mistake of applying for citizenship.

    The ones caught in these nightmarish situations are those who are actually trying to do things by the book.

    My immigration experiences (in France, as a student, then in Belgium) have been fairly painless, but I still remember that feeling of dread at the end of every school year while waiting for news about my scholarship. The embassy, you see, had kindly awarded me a study grant for the first year of a 3-year program, and renewal was at their discretion.
    Belgium left me bemused - I wanted to join my boyfriend there on a "reunification" visa, but when the consul heard about our situation (no joint property, no apartment leases in both names), he explained it would be quite unlikely I'd be granted the visa and ended with "get married, it's the best way." Not something I expected to hear from an immigration official!

    Meanwhile, some of my relatives have been less lucky. A distant relative hasn't seen his father since he was 11 (he's 30 now) - his dad was petitioned by a sibling in the US. Apparently, if he wants to get his green card, he can't leave the country while his papers are being processed. Last I heard, he was quite relieved because there were only four more years to go. Meanwhile, my relative has spent the past twenty-odd years with a telephone for a parent.

    #69 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2009, 02:55 PM:

    For the record, although they ask whether you're communist, answering "yes" doesn't disqualify you. My wife did, and yes, got her green card, way back when.

    She's considering getting her naturalized citizenship. Our 20th anniversary is coming up, so we're going to trade citizenships. (Now that holding two is deemed A-OK, I'm starting a collection.)

    #70 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2009, 03:01 PM:

    Pendrift @69:
    "get married, it's the best way." Not something I expected to hear from an immigration official!

    I was urged to get UK citizenship by an official of the British Immigration and Nationality Directorate at Stansted Airport as I returned from a vacation in France. He even had a handy little leaflet on the subject, which he kindly tucked into my US passport with the permanent residency stamp.

    "Aren't you supposed to be keeping people out?" I asked him.

    #71 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2009, 03:14 PM:

    debcha #68: When I arrived, the normal wait for entry was two to three years. I had to wait three months. The questions asked me (and bear in mind, I was in an interracial marriage) were a lot less intrusive and a lot more courteous than those asked most people entering the US from the Caribbean. It helped that I was (a) educated, and (b) not obviously trying to get into the US to find employment.

    #72 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2009, 03:25 PM:

    abi #71: The last time we were in the green and pleasant, my best beloved decided to get in the non-EU citizens line. As a result, she was still in line after I'd passed through, been escorted back across to look for a particular exchange facility (it wasn't where I thought it was) by a friendly passport officer (who then escorted me back through to the customs side), and got through passport control half an hour after I did. She seems to think that the British are prejudiced against Johnny Foreigner for some reason.

    #73 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2009, 03:32 PM:

    One of the nice things about having a full UK passport is that it is proof of entitlement to live and work anywhere in the EU.

    It'll need renewing soon, and there's the whole ugly post-9/11, big-brother, biometric ID thing looming.

    I reckon that other European countries are less worried by ID card systems because everyone knows how they can be abused, and nobody wants to repeat the experience. It's a cultural thing. There's an us-and-them collective memory, and nobody wants to be "them".

    Neither the USA nor the UK really has that. And both countries seem to have examples of Chief Police Officers who appear quite happy to behave like "them".

    (In the European context specifying an example "them" would be a Godwin-class post.)

    #74 ::: Wyman Cooke ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2009, 03:33 PM:

    I'm more than a little torqued at the INS, or ICE, or whatever they're calling it this week. Here you have someone like Ms. Daöron who is following the rules and is an asset to her community. Meanwhile we have people who have not only come to this country illegally, but have committed crimes while they are here. But does Immigration go after them? Hell no! They go after people who have followed the rules, since they're easier to find. And Immigration wonders why they are investigated all the time.

    I hope Ms. Daöron will be allowed to return soon.

    #75 ::: debcha ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2009, 03:36 PM:

    Pendrift, #69:...an article about a couple who were perfectly legal immigrants until they made the mistake of applying for citizenship.

    Suddenly I am a lot less enthusiastic about applying for my citizenship as soon as I can. Sigh.

    #76 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2009, 03:48 PM:

    debcha: The sooner you do it, the less time there is for a mistake to happen.

    #77 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2009, 03:50 PM:

    Dave Bell @74:
    One of the nice things about having a full UK passport is that it is proof of entitlement to live and work anywhere in the EU.

    "It is indeed; that's one of the major reasons I got off my duff and got one*," writes Abi in the Netherlands.

    -----
    * Also, it was admitting the reality that after 15 years, I am British as well as American. But I didn't need the UK passport to live in Scotland.

    #78 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2009, 03:54 PM:

    Wyman Cooke #75: ICE goes after illegal immigrants quite firmly (and sometimes grabs US citizens with brown skins in their net).

    #79 ::: Christopher Davis ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2009, 04:31 PM:

    Fragano (#73): Yup. In 1997, a few months after Hong Kong returned to China, my wife and I arrived at Manchester (UK)...right behind a pair of 747s from Hong Kong and Singapore.

    The non-EU citizen line was so long, and moved so slowly, that she was able to get all of our bags and return to the area just behind the immigration desks before I got to the front of the line.

    When the officer asked about the purpose of my trip, I said "visiting my wife's family." "Oh, your wife's British then?" "Yes, she's right over there."

    "Enjoy your stay!" *stamp stamp*

    When we got back to Boston, we started the various processes necessary to get me an Irish passport[1] so that I'd never have to wait in the long line again.

    [1] First, we had to get H's Irish citizenship documentation filed (her mother was born in Dublin, so that part was relatively easy); once that's complete, we filed the paperwork for a "post-nuptial declaration" (no longer available); when the certificate finally arrived, I applied for a passport. At least having a local consulate (In Boston? Of course there's an Irish consulate!) made the process easier and faster, but not easy nor fast.

    #80 ::: Christopher Davis ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2009, 04:33 PM:

    Dave Bell (#74): That reminds me, my recently-renewed Irish passport has an RFID chip; I keep meaning to get a tinfoil hat shielded sleeve for it.

    #81 ::: Wyman Cooke ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2009, 04:48 PM:

    Fragano Ledgister @ 79:

    And your point is?

    #82 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2009, 05:20 PM:

    Christopher Davis @81, RFID blocker cases are available for passports these days, however, if you ever come under suspicion, such a blocker could be considered an instrumentality of a crime and, as such, subject to seizure.

    Wyman Cooke @82, you should be aware that you could be accused of racism if you say the wrong thing about illegal immigration around here. It's a hot button issue for some.

    #83 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2009, 05:23 PM:

    Christopher 81: This one is out of stock at the moment, but they generally get things back in approximately when they say they will. Of course, if you want to go fancy, you can get this one right now.

    #84 ::: Julia Jones ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2009, 05:34 PM:

    I've had a chipped UK passport for a couple of years now, because they'd just started issuing them from the embassy in the US the last time I needed to renew mine. I did wonder what would happen if I dug out my lead foil bag from the days when I travelled with $MANY rolls of film, and carried my passport in that. However, given that I am clearly On A List as far as US airports are concerned, I decided not to experiment.

    (I am still curious as to why I am on that list, given that said list has equally clearly either not been passed to the UK and Australian authorities, or those authorities don't take any notice of it.)

    #85 ::: Marc Mielke ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2009, 06:08 PM:

    A similar case happened on Maui with a widely beloved coffee house, Mark Aurel's. In their case, the staff actually managed to buy the business from the owner wholesale and continues to operate it.

    Regarding evil immigation: I met a woman who lived between Canada and the U.S. for twenty years, and continued to fly on a Finnish passport (her home country) because neither the U.S. nor Canada would give her citizenship.

    She had a Ph.D.
    From Harvard.

    #86 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2009, 06:12 PM:

    Wyman Cooke @ 82... I take it that you've never heard of the dangers of Driving While Brown? Also, should people take a look at this photo, who do you think people will assume was born elsewhere? As for aliens who come to America illegally, I do hope it's not being suggested that they all go on to commit a crime more serious than taking on work that nobody else will.

    #87 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2009, 06:13 PM:

    I'm sure she did, Marc. But the key question is was she a communist? That question, of course, trumps all others.

    #88 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2009, 06:54 PM:

    Wyman:

    It seems to me that there are a moderate number of "get tough" actions and policies targeting illegal immigrants, but that these are done in such a way as to rarely have much large-scale impact--a couple dozen Mexicans get sent home by la migra, this makes the news and lets politicians and bureaucrats proclaim their willingness to deport illegals. But everyone listening to that story on the radio will know a dozen other places where most of the workforce is illegal, and those places stay open.

    My take is that this happens because employers of large numbers of illegal immigrants are politically important--they have money, which means they have a voice. Often, they're important employers of voters as well as illegal immigrants, important in the local tax base, and (most of all) useful sources of campaign contributions. And having a basically endless pool of low-wage workers means that, around here at least, the food-service and cleaning and construction industries save a huge amount of money on wages. So, cosmetic "get tough" policies are acceptable, but never anything that would actually decrease the availability of low-wage labor.

    One result of that is that a lot of those cosmetic policies are actually pretty nasty. Why not--the people being screwed over don't vote, and for every defender they have, there's another person p-ssed off at illegals and wanting to see them get clobbered. This gives us the worst of both worlds--pointless cruelty, random disasters visited upon individual illegals, with no significant positive effect at all. Along with this, we get some really stupidly counterproductive policies, like denying illegal immigrants who've lived in the state for many years in-state tuition[1], or making it hard for them to get drivers' licenses[2].

    By contrast, if we were serious about decreasing the number of illegal immigrants here, we'd make it not pay, financially, to run a business that was dependent on illegal immigrants.

    [1] Because hey, the last thing we want is first-generation immigrants going to college and maybe making something of themselves. How does *that* help the bottom line of Tyson foods?

    [2] Because after all, if we keep 12 million people living here illegally, but make it really hard for them to have drivers' licenses, it will make everyone safer on the roads.

    #89 ::: debcha ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2009, 07:04 PM:

    ...I met a woman who lived between Canada and the U.S. for twenty years, and continued to fly on a Finnish passport (her home country) because neither the U.S. nor Canada would give her citizenship.

    That might be precisely the issue, actually; getting citizenship in either country requires satisfying quite stringent residency requirements, which would be much harder to satisfy if you were splitting your time.

    She had a Ph.D.
    From Harvard.

    Well, mine is only from a lowly public school, but as I discussed above (#68), the key point (at least in the US) is that an institution or company has to go to bat for you.

    It's an interesting thought experiment, though - what if we automatically offered green cards to every foreign student who earned a PhD at a US institution?

    Terry, #77: The sooner you do it, the less time there is for a mistake to happen.

    You raise a good point, although mostly I worry that there is an unexploded mine somewhere in my past (I signed a form but forgot to date it? I didn't file a state tax return in Washington?) that's better left unprodded.

    #90 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2009, 07:11 PM:

    Wyman, #82: You said: Meanwhile we have people who have not only come to this country illegally, but have committed crimes while they are here. But does Immigration go after them? Hell no! They go after people who have followed the rules, since they're easier to find.

    Fragano was saying that your assumption is not only incorrect, but tilted in rather the opposite direction from reality. That's the point.

    #91 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2009, 08:14 PM:

    What, he wonders idly, would be the effect of zapping the mag stripe/rfid in the US Passport with a Tesla coil?

    #92 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2009, 08:25 PM:

    My guess would be about five years federal prison time for tampering with a US passport.

    #93 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2009, 08:33 PM:

    My guess would be that you'd have an obvious burnt spot on your passport, and the RFID might or might not actually be disabled. Try an accident with a hammer.

    #94 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2009, 08:40 PM:

    Terry Karney @ 92: You probably don't want your passport to catch fire, or get singed. When I got my new RFID passport awhile ago, I did some reading, and finally decided to just buy a leather passport cover with a blocking lining.

    #95 ::: Craig R. ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2009, 09:10 PM:

    Insane.

    There are thousands of non-citizens who are allowed into the US on the H1B program, that displace U.S. citizens and depresses wages for permanent workers, and the State Department wants to keep out of the country someone who has a business that is important to the local community.

    Maroons.

    And just how much of this latest wrinkle in Kafkaesque protocol is the fault of the last 8 years under Shrub?

    Ghods, even when its been out of power for 4 months the prior administration is *still* able to screw people over by its xenophobia.

    #96 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2009, 09:34 PM:

    re tesla coils: The Tampering Charge, of course, would require the damage to be of a sort which can't be ascribed to some random thing; and probably also has an element of intent.

    xeger: When using a tesla coil on other heavy/plasticated paper stocks, all one gets is small black specks. On the pasport those would be lost (I am reasonably certain) in the deckle pattern of the paper.

    I don't think (as I have other devices with RFID/smart chips) the hammer is a good option. The passport seems to be in the middle of a mag-strip. I don't know how to apply a hammer which will break the chip, without being an obviously intentional act.

    janetl: It won't catch fire (unless there is some aspect of the secret security measures which makes the paper really flammable). Point sparks (and a tesla coil one is likely to have ready access to isn't going to be that large) aren't enough heat energy to raise paper to the flash point for the milliseconds of contact.

    So the real question's are, does it completely ruin the mag strip, or just corrupt it some? Will it damage/disable the RFID?

    Will the tampering be obvious. From playing with paper, the answer to the latter is, visually, not much. Informationally, I have no idea.

    #97 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2009, 09:38 PM:

    debcha: If there are those mines, they won't go away. It might be easier to deal with them now, than later (on the assumption they are fixable, not fatal).

    But I don't know, it's not something I have to worry about; at least not with the US. I might someday, want to move to Ireland, or Canada.

    #98 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2009, 09:41 PM:

    Terry Karney @ 97:

    Do passports have magstripes? I know the modern ones have RFID stuff in them. Would misadventure by way of microwave work, or is there too much fancy foil stuff in them that would go crispy?

    #99 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2009, 09:45 PM:

    KiethS: They have both. So far I've yet to encounter a passport control station with either (to the best of my knowledge only the magstripes are being read, in any location).

    If you look at the passport you can see the strip (inside the back cover, at the spine), where they live.

    I don't know, but I am leery of causing the adhesive which binds the film over the photo, to misbehave, or worse, cause that film to become opaque. Were I in the business of designing a passport, I'de make sure one, or both, of those things happened when microwaved/heated.

    #100 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2009, 09:53 PM:

    Craig R @96 “The evil that men do lives after them,”

    One point of having power is influencing others' future.

    #101 ::: debcha ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2009, 10:19 PM:

    Terry, #98:

    Well, the alternative is just renewing my green card.

    The problem, of course, is that I believe in citizenship. I'm extremely happy to live where I live, to have the life that I have, and to belong to my local community. Granted, my emigration was nowhere near as dramatic a transition as my parents' move from India to Canada was four decades ago, but the motivation was not dissimilar and like them, I am grateful for the opportunities in my adopted country. And I want to be able to participate fully in this democracy.

    So yes, that means that I'll probably apply for citizenship as soon as I can, and take my chances with the mines.

    #102 ::: John Houghton ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2009, 10:26 PM:

    Wyman Cooke #82:

    Fragano Ledgister @ 79:
    And your point is?

    Perhaps Fragano's point is that he is a US Citizen, with brown skin, and (though I haven't met him AFK) his speech is probably spiced with a bit of a Jamaican(?) accent.

    My point would be does having a brown skin and/or a Hispanic name mean that you have to carry proof of citizenship (papers please) even if you're a natural born citizen? Should people have to schedule extra travel time because of the significant extra risk of being stopped by police on a pretext simply because of the color of their skin?

    And does anything justify taking a mentally disabled brown-skinned, Spanish speaking, US citizen teenager off the streets of Chicago and flying him to Mexico and dropping him off. Last I heard (and my info is years out of date) they couldn't find him. He needed daily drugs to stay healthy. Would you want this to happen to your child?

    Illegal aliens are for the most part very law abiding (except for their status crime). They can't afford to have even minor run-ins with the law.

    #103 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2009, 10:49 PM:

    Terry Karney #100: The RFID passports have been discussed a bit on Bruce Schneier's Blog. It's been a while since I read the early discussions, but I suspect you've thought of a countermeasure which the passport-makers would have put in, if they'd thought about it.

    In any case, what to do about "damaged" passports (not responding to the readers) would probably be up to the officials where you're trying to get through, and one of their options is surely to reject it as an "invalid document".

    #104 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2009, 11:17 PM:

    John Houghton: lets not forget that for most the status crime is an infraction; basically in the same category as traffic tickets.

    #105 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2009, 11:33 PM:

    David Harmon: I am not surprised if I have a better idea about meaningful security measures than the designers of the present passport.

    #106 ::: Wyman Cooke ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2009, 11:49 PM:

    Earl @ 83: I have been accused of racism in the past; I've also been accused of being a quote "Ni**** Lover" unquote. I just ignore both accusations. I take people as they are; as individuals, not groups.

    You'll note that I haven't mentioned any race or nationality in my earlier post.

    I was going to comment on Lee @ 91's remarks, but the Mad Hatter said that the tea party was on, so I've gotta go.

    #107 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2009, 12:30 AM:

    David Harmon @ 104:

    For what it's worth, the US Department of State's electronic passport FAQ says that if the chip doesn't work, it's still a valid passport.

    #108 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2009, 12:32 AM:

    John, #103: One of our friends, who is also a dealer at conventions, is frequently stopped and hassled for Driving While Brown. He's Jewish -- but to the cops, that looks Hispanic, and apparently Hispanic male driver alone in a van = drug dealer. So far he's been lucky, but that could change at any time, and he spends a LOT of days on the road.

    Illegal aliens are for the most part very law abiding (except for their status crime). They can't afford to have even minor run-ins with the law.

    An excellent point, and one which seems to escape a lot of people... especially those who are determined to blame "illegal aliens" for high crime rates. This is an example of the principle I describe as "you can do ONE wrong thing" -- IOW, you can fly under the radar on something like an expired driver's license for quite a long time, as long as you don't do anything else that brings you to the attention of someone who'd notice.

    #109 ::: Marc Mielke ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2009, 05:11 AM:

    With the Finnish lady, it really WAS a matter of her splitting her time between Maui and Canada. She just found it a bit exasperating that she's been in the Americas for 20+ years and still travels on a passport for someplace she's rarely been.

    She liked my Jon Stewart-esque 'We don't like...smart people here' crack. It's the only Finnish passport I've run into and was curious, since I my favorite band (Nightwish) is from there.

    #110 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2009, 08:28 AM:

    Wyman Cooke #82: My point was that ICE goes after illegal aliens. In fact, is very active in doing so.

    #111 ::: Christopher Davis ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2009, 11:03 AM:

    Xopher (#84): I'm likely to cheap out and just get some of these. (Hmm. They'll do custom printing. Maybe we need a Making Light logo to put on them?)

    #112 ::: Andrew L. ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2009, 11:28 AM:

    INS (the Immigration and Naturalization Service) is no more. Has not existed in any form since March 1, 2003.

    The enforcement side of INS (the folks concerned with arresting, prosecuting, and deporting illegal immigrants, overstayers of visas, and so forth) became ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement). ICE also has various bits of what used to be USCS (US Customs Service) and other organizations tagged onto it.

    The benefits side of INS (the folks concerned with issuing visas, permanent residency, and citizenship) became USCIS (US Citizenship and Immigration Services).

    ICE and USCIS still have a deeply confusing (and confused) relationship, having been part of the same organization and same infrastructure, but they do, at least in theory, operate independently of each other.

    One of the reasons that enforcement is more prominent now than it used to be, quite apart from the political environment of the last 8 years, is that in the INS days the benefits side of the house was heavily favored over the enforcement side. Enforcement costs money -- benefits makes money (all those lovely fees). So the benefits side got more funding and had more political pull. Now that they're separate, ICE has its own budget and doesn't have to feed off the scraps from the benefits folks.

    Hope that clarifies the unholy tangle just a little.

    #113 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2009, 01:00 PM:

    Wyman Cooke @ 107: I take people as they are; as individuals, not groups.... You'll note that I haven't mentioned any race or nationality in my earlier post.

    ...Oh dear. I don't know whether to make popcorn or run away screaming. This never turns out well.

    {{backs away slowly}}

    #114 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2009, 01:03 PM:

    Nicole @ 114... He probably didn't mention any race or nationality because he was afraid to incur the ire of the former inhabitants of Eire.

    #115 ::: Pendrift ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2009, 01:25 PM:

    Serge @115:

    Or torqued by the former inhabitants of Turkey.

    #116 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2009, 01:48 PM:

    Pendrift... Or to be scuttled by former Scots.

    #117 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2009, 01:58 PM:

    Or to be quashed by former Quebecers.

    #118 ::: Pendrift ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2009, 02:22 PM:

    Or to be dunned by ex-Danes.

    #119 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2009, 02:38 PM:

    Pendrift #119:

    But if you're dunned by Danes, the big question is whether you pay the Danegeld. (And once you have paid them the Danegeld, of course, you'll never be rid of the Dane.)

    #120 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2009, 02:53 PM:

    Bashed by ex-Basques.

    #121 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2009, 03:01 PM:

    Lee @109

    "who is also a dealer at conventions"

    You can just hear the cops saying "Oh, so you're not denying you're a dealer then...

    #122 ::: Wyman Cooke ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2009, 03:29 PM:

    #114 @ Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little

    I know, adding elipsis [...] where there is none in the original post never ends well. I almost want to use the phrase libeled by liberals but I won't.

    #123 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2009, 03:46 PM:

    Libeled by liberals.

    #124 ::: Wyman Cooke ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2009, 03:49 PM:

    Fragano Ledgister @ 111: I agree. I hope you'll agree that nothing I said precludes what you have said. I still contend that ICE's enforcement is wildly uneven.

    #125 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2009, 03:50 PM:

    Let's get it all through at once, shall we?

    Libeled by liberals
    Conned by conservatives
    Fashed* by fascists
    Socked by socialists
    Compromised by communists
    Mooned by monarchists
    Roiled by royalists
    Anonymized by anarchists
    Liposuctioned by libertarians

    ---
    * Scottish fascists, of course

    #126 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2009, 03:51 PM:

    Abi... Canned by Canadians.

    #127 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2009, 03:56 PM:

    Wyman @#123: Perhaps you're unaware of the convention that, when quoting only part of someone else's text, one adds elipses to indicate where there are bits missing.

    In theory, there should be 4 dots if there's a sentence-end in the elided bit, but I'm pretty sure I'm one of five people on the planet who remembers that one. :)

    #128 ::: Wyman Cooke ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2009, 03:57 PM:

    dcb @ 122: That actually happened a Con where there was a conference of DEA agents meeting at the same venue. The Agent In Charge was disconcerted to hear the phrase Dealer's Room, but it worked out well; they were allowed in to look around and bought some stuff. Everybody was happy.

    #129 ::: Wyman Cooke ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2009, 04:01 PM:

    My point Carrie was that there _wasn't_ anything missing at the point of the elipse. It implied that there was something else there in the middle.

    #130 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2009, 04:05 PM:

    Serge @127:
    I was just trying to get the political philosophy stuff over with in a non-personal way. Nations are less likely to turn into cute little needling comments.

    Which cute little needling comments are strongly deprecated, by the way*. Reread before posting, peeps.

    Less seriously:
    Beleaguered by Belgians, which splits to:
    Waylaid by Walloons, and
    Flummoxed by the Flemish

    -----
    * not that I am accusing you of so doing, Serge; the warning simply floated to the surface of my stream of what can be arguably called consciousness

    #131 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2009, 04:12 PM:

    Abi @ 131... Your stream has probably more consciousness than mine, which is highliy caffeinated albeit only by Folger's Instant 'Coffee' because I'm too much of a cheapskate to get my daily brew from Starbuck.

    #132 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2009, 04:14 PM:

    Wyman Cooke @ 129

    Doesn't surprise me!

    #133 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2009, 04:15 PM:

    Christopher Davis #112: Hmm. They'll do custom printing. Maybe we need a Making Light logo to put on them?

    I think an EFF logo on passport protector sleeves would be more appropriate.

    #134 ::: pericat ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2009, 05:04 PM:

    Wyman Cooke @ 130: there was something omitted: the new paragraph marking. Hence, ellipsis.

    It is not in fact an attempt at misquoting you. I don't know if this makes things less fun for you, or more.

    #135 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2009, 05:15 PM:

    Serge #127:

    Some years ago, I was laid off by my Canadian employer, so I was indeed canned by Canadians.

    #136 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2009, 05:17 PM:

    Wyman Cooke: All enforcement is wildly uneven. It's the nature of the beast. What is, so far as I can tell, true, is that when ICE conducts visible enforcement, the results are arbitary; the sweeps apparenlty racist, and the methods guaranteed to include the innocent in the process.

    At any given time, I can't prove I'm a native. My saving grace (since I've lived in area where "l'immigre" is a powerful force, and pretending to flash an immigration badge can clear a bus) is that I'm white. Where I lived "Born in E. LA" was funny, but it was funny because it was bitterly true. I know people who were deported because they were brown. Who had to get to a consulate to reenter the US.

    Carrie S: I know from adding the period to an ellipses.

    #137 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2009, 06:07 PM:

    I was taught that an ellipsis is a punctuation mark in itself, and that you don't put a period after another punctuation mark. Imagine putting a period after ? or ! and you'll see my point. The ellipsis also a perfectly acceptable thing to end a sentence with.*

    That said, I probably wouldn't use one at all for the mere omission of a paragraph break. Anyone who complains of being misquoted because their paragraphing was edited was spoiling for a fight to begin with, and you do yourself no favors by cutting them any slack at all.

    If you're not like me in that you DO want to indicate the omission of the paragraph break, and you want to preserve the independence of both sentences, methinks it should look like this:

    I take people as they are; as individuals, not groups. ... You'll note that I haven't mentioned any race or nationality in my earlier post.
    Otherwise I think it should be:
    I take people as they are; as individuals, not groups...You'll note that I haven't mentioned any race or nationality in my earlier post.
    But I probably would have quoted it as:
    I take people...as individuals, not groups...I haven't mentioned any race or nationality...
    But that's me. I like concise.
    ___
    *Yeah, I did that on purpose. Perhaps you know why.

    #138 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2009, 07:05 PM:

    Wyman Cooke #125: I suggest you take a look at who gets pulled over at the immigration checkpoint at San Onofre, California (just south of the San Diego County/Orange County line).

    #139 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2009, 07:07 PM:

    abi #131: Surely you mean "Flim-Flammed by the Flemings"?

    #140 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2009, 07:30 PM:

    Ugh. Leaving out the word 'is' in the asterisked sentence in my last post was not the thing I did on purpose. Meh.

    #141 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2009, 07:50 PM:

    When I commit and act of online snippage, I usually use [...]

    Not sure where I picked up that habit, though.

    #142 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2009, 07:51 PM:

    drat

    Ah hates not being able to fix typos here.

    #143 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2009, 08:39 PM:

    Frazzled by Frisians.

    #144 ::: lorax ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2009, 08:55 PM:

    Earl @142, I do the same thing. It's a logical extension from using square brackets to indicate other minor modifications of the quoted text -- in particular, clarifying a pronoun that in the context of the original was clear but is ambiguous or confusing when quoted.

    I don't think that would have satisfied Wyman in this case, however, because his complaint seems to be that the paragraph break was not important enough to be worth noting that it had been changed.

    #145 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2009, 10:18 PM:

    Spanked by Spaniards
    Caned by Canadians
    Whomped by Walloons
    Mauled by Mexicans
    Bazshed by Brazilians
    Pounded by Paraguayans
    Usurped by Uraguayans
    Clobbered by Costa Ricans
    Vandalised by Venazualans
    Battered by Bolivians
    Peppered by Peruvuans
    Eviscerated by Ecuadorans
    Gutted by Guatamalans

    #146 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2009, 11:18 PM:

    Terry Karney @137 At any given time, I can't prove I'm a native.

    On the other hand, most times I could prove I am a Registered Alien (how far away are we from a National Identity Card? — 'papers please, citizen...').

    Thirty years ago, I was robbed. As the young thieves were running down the street with my wallet, I yelled after them: "You got the money... I need the ID".

    A few seconds later one came back around the corner of the building, and tossed my wallet onto the sidewalk.

    Perhaps today, they'd see the ID as worth more than the trash in my pocket.

    #147 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2009, 11:31 PM:

    Rob Rusik: And that's a type of privilege. It happens I can, mostly, show right of residence, but that's not the same as citizenship.

    But I, a white male, pretty much assume I won't get hassled by immigration.

    #148 ::: Wyman Cooke ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2009, 11:36 PM:

    Fragano Ledgister @ 139: I'm not likely to get out to California anytime soon.

    #149 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2009, 12:18 AM:

    The future of immigration enforcement: the Boy Scouts of Amerika

    #150 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2009, 12:27 AM:

    Earl... that is... scary.

    #151 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2009, 12:59 AM:

    Earl Cooley III @ 150:

    That's bloody scary. I know that Tom Lehrer wasn't overly fond of the Boy Scouts back in the 50s, but they hadn't been taken over by the nutjobs who had come along by the 90s.

    #152 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2009, 01:44 AM:

    Earl, Terry, that's into ChiCom Red Guards territory.

    #153 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2009, 02:20 AM:

    Earl,

    Give them brown shirts and Sam Browne belts and they'll be ready for the big time. Is this a deliberate attempt to pack the law enforcement system with fascisti, or the equivalent of a tin foil hat chowder society with more firepower? Either way it's scary and disturbing.

    #154 ::: Craig R. ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2009, 07:02 AM:

    What the hell happened to the organization where Scouts were youngsters, and men and women, we could be proud of?

    I am nowadays heartily glad none of my children have shown an interest in Scouting.

    That entire article is truly disturbing.

    Janissaries-R-Us?

    #155 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2009, 08:53 AM:

    150 et seq: Whoa, Nellie! First of all, those are Explorers (and technically, they're Venturers now -- the BSA changed the name years ago). Explorer/Venturer Scouts are affiliated with an outside group like a medical office, as mine was, in order to explore that "world". There's Explorers affiliated with the ocean-going groups, or with police stations, etc., etc. This looks very much like a Venturing/Explorer post that is affiliated with a police station on the border, so naturally they are focused on border patrol.

    I'm not all that happy to see adolescents performing mock entries and raids, but that would be a natural outgrowth of the local police needs, plus that's something I'm sure they've all grown up with seeing and reading about.

    Secondly, with respect to the BSA policies, that's very dependent on the council and troop leadership. In my area, the DC Capitol Area, there's no overt homophobia, and that's good because otherwise, I estimate that a good 50% or more of Cub Scout pack leaders* would not be available.

    Of course, they still train leaders and scouts to be careful, emphasizing the buddy system on both sides. I was a trained Webelos assistant*** den leader, and currently am a merit badge counselor for my son's troop. Every troop, pack, den, and post is semi-independent, and takes most of its direction from the immediate leadership, not the national leadership.

    *Remember, at the Cub Scout level, for some "odd reason", the leaders are 99%** female. We've got a lot of two-mom families in the area.
    **Admittedly, this suffers from small-sample bias, but you know what I mean: it's all the moms and a rare dad at that stage. Dads don't take over until the boys shift to Boy Scouting, i.e., the fun stuff.
    ***One guess on who was the den leader, starting from Tiger Scouts.

    #156 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2009, 09:43 AM:

    Addendum to my post @156: I am not supporting the use of the Explorers in mock raids, and I should have written that part more carefully. I firmly believe that this is an error on the part of the local post leadership. What I also think is, the kids might have requested doing things like this, as part of their post activities, because they're affiliated with the police station. Since it seems to be a common activity for police along the border, it probably didn't trip any warning flags for the leadership or the police department (i.e., they're inured to it). Outside of that area, though, it comes across as paramilitary behavior and a completely ridiculous thing for those kids to be engaging in.

    #157 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2009, 10:03 AM:

    Ginger #156/7:

    Thanks for writing that. I was about to say something similar, but I think you know more about this than I do. But our cub scout troop is not obviously creepy or evil, and our interaction with the scouts has been pretty uniformly positive so far.

    #158 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2009, 10:10 AM:

    Terry #148:

    I'm pretty sure that's not just white male privilege. People who don't look or sound foreign (for whatever the local version of "foreign" is) rarely get hassled for possible immigration violations. Are blacks with US accents regularly hassled on immigration stuff? (They may be hassled for other stuff, but not generally immigration issues, right?)

    One real issue here that's easy to miss is that any kind of immigration enforcement will impose costs on innocent people, and sometimes, those costs will be steep. We ought to do our best to minimize those costs (because it's a bad thing to dump costs onto innocent people), but I think this works out rather like all other law enforcement--sometimes, innocent people will get stopped, hassled, arrested, and even convicted.

    ISTM that one big problem with all immigration law is that there's very little effective feedback--when the immigration bureaucracy burns 40 hours of your life in pointless paperwork exercises, that doesn't really cost anyone making the decisions anything.

    #159 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2009, 11:12 AM:

    Wyman Cooke #149: Perhaps not, but you might want to find out. It might be a lot easier than making half-assed assumptions about the way immigration law is enforced.

    #160 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2009, 11:18 AM:

    Some people will think I'm weird.

    You see, I'm British, but I don't react with horror or fear to the sight of guns. The laws, and their enforcement, have become more and more onerous, but when I grew up in rural Lincolnshire, shotguns were commonplace. And they had a use. And fifty years before, my grandfather had been in France carrying a Lewis Machine Gun.

    I got the basic rules pretty thoroughly instilled. And I feel ever so slightly nervous about the idea of paintball and airsoft and laser-tag. Pointing a gun at somebody isn't trivial.

    It's almost 70 years since WW2 started, and Boy Scouts did provide sentries and firewatchers and such. But everybody was watching for jackbooted parachuting nuns. And the equivalents of those American teens playing at being cops (their language makes it sound disturbingly like playing) were, in a year or two, going to be in the Home Guard, getting prepared to join Army, Navy, or Air Force.

    It might be the reporting, but I don't get the feel that these modern-day American Scouts are being taught to take guns seriously. Even the photograph looks oddly wrong. It looks like the preliminary to a multiple blue-on-blue clusterfuck.

    I'm not sure what my grandfather would have said to those lads, but he was an Army Sergeant.

    #161 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2009, 12:29 PM:

    Dave Bell @161: [..] I feel ever so slightly nervous about the idea of paintball and airsoft and laser-tag. Pointing a gun at somebody isn't trivial.

    Over the past couple of years, on two separate occasions in different areas of the city, I have been shot in the head while out on my bicycle with a paintball fired from a passing car; the first time, I was so startled I went down. Agreed, not trivial — I've wondered what the best answer would be to prevent this kind of misbehavior (design the guns so they could only be fired with a key that could only be obtained in the shooting range/game space?)

    #162 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2009, 02:00 PM:

    Dave 161: But everybody was watching for jackbooted parachuting nuns.

    That's either a typo or a fascinating bit of history I've never heard.

    #163 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2009, 02:16 PM:

    Xopher @ 163: Well, when you parachute in, you do need sturdy boots, not just sensible shoes. Surely the First Battalion, Transvestite Brigade, has the habit of dressing sensibly at times? After all, nun better --

    (runs away to hide in convent convenient hiding place)

    #164 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2009, 02:19 PM:

    Dave Bell @ 161, Rob Rusick @ 162:
    I'm afraid it comes back to "there's no such thing as a dangerous weapon, only dangerous people." I've had a young child deliberately shine a flashlight into my eyes while I was cycling; the adult-in-charge did tell him not to, but in my opinion not nearly strongly enough. Take away the paint-ball guns and they'll go back to catapults.

    I learned my basic rules of distance weapons when I started archery, and I'm pretty sure they were repeated to me when I was starrting to use a dart gun, and when a friend took me to a firing range to try pistol shooting. They stuck. Result: I got really nervous at a wildlife veterinarian conference when people were trying out the dart guns and casually sighting towards people. One of my colleagues thought it funny when I ducked away from where he was aiming: "it's not loaded!" I was not amused - I've seen/heard about two many cases where the "not loaded" dart gun (and other guns) turned out to be loaded.

    #165 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2009, 02:27 PM:

    Well it was part of the general invasion scare after the Fall of France in 1940, when people were encouraged to believe in fifth columnists, and disguised Germans dropped by parachute, who prevented the French Army from usefully opposing the invasion.

    There's film from the time of training exercises, involving fake nannies pushing perambulators which contain machineguns rather than babies.

    Of course, these Boy Scouts will be on guard against parachuting Mexican nuns. Riding pigs.

    #166 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2009, 02:31 PM:

    dcb @ 165

    At least a proper longbow has the virtue that it needs a bit of effort to make it work. Not like dropping a cocked Sten gun.

    #167 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2009, 02:32 PM:

    Ginger @ 164... How much drag in that brigade's parachutes? Nun?

    #168 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2009, 02:44 PM:

    Dave Bell @ 167

    Agreed. That used to be my argument when people suggested I was being reckless by having a bow in my room. The average person isn't going to be able to put a take-down bow together properly, never mind aim it. You rarely see a "carry concealed" longbow - except in comics with Green Arrow carrying his in what I presume was a case meant for fishing rods. And in Grendel (Oevna), with the hinged bow (I was never very sure about that).

    (And I did preview, honest, "too many cases").

    #169 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2009, 02:49 PM:

    Dave Bell @161 - But everybody was watching for jackbooted parachuting nuns.

    Perhaps they should have been watching for parachuting Dominicans. "Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!"

    #170 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2009, 02:50 PM:

    @ 169... I wonder how he manages to fit the boxing-glove arrow in that fishing-rod case.

    #171 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2009, 02:50 PM:

    Dave Bell @ 161:

    It might be the reporting, but I don't get the feel that these modern-day American Scouts are being taught to take guns seriously. Even the photograph looks oddly wrong. It looks like the preliminary to a multiple blue-on-blue clusterfuck.

    The way the story is written, it looks like they're being taught to be the stars of their very own action movie. They get to be the heroes, there are obvious and easily-spotted villains, and the good guys always win. That's what sends shivers up my spine.

    #172 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2009, 02:54 PM:

    Dave Bell @166:
    Of course, these Boy Scouts will be on guard against parachuting Mexican nuns. Riding pigs.

    Dave, dear boy, any Mexican nuns who (a) invade and (b) are stoppable by Boy Scouts will be riding flying pigs, and will thus have no need to parachute.

    #173 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2009, 02:58 PM:

    abi @ 173:

    In the unlikely event that your porker takes a plunge, you will be glad for having a parachute.

    #174 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2009, 03:01 PM:

    How do you call it when many parachuting nuns jump off in a row? A nun sequitur?

    #175 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2009, 03:05 PM:

    Serge @168:
    How much drag in that brigade's parachutes? Nun?

    If the nuns are from the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, then all the drag is in the brigade rather than the chutes.

    #176 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2009, 03:48 PM:

    Rob #162:

    The best solution to that I can think of is for people who do it to get arrested when possible. But honestly, random nastiness done anonymously is kinda hard to prevent, and I doubt technical fixes of the kind you're imagining would be worthwhile.

    Every now and then, you hear of people being killed by stupid crap like this--some kids decide it would be funny to drop bricks from an overpass onto cars on the highway, or some similarly nasty thing. It's the same basic phenomenon as drivers that occasionally run people off the road for fun. Our social systems and built-in morality circuits seem to do a really bad job of handling anonymous interactions, with many people becoming far nastier, and some becoming disturbingly, dangerously evil. Rudeness, road rage, and intentionally running people off the road all fall into this pattern, as do the destructive actions of trolls and griefers of various stripes on the net, and any number of similar nastiness.

    #177 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2009, 03:50 PM:

    any number of similar kinds of nastiness.

    #178 ::: debcha ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2009, 04:06 PM:

    In a competition in Arizona that he did not oversee, Deputy Lowenthal said, one role-player wore traditional Arab dress. “If we’re looking at 9/11 and what a Middle Eastern terrorist would be like,” he said, “then maybe your role-player would look like that. I don’t know, would you call that politically incorrect?”

    No, I would call that idiotic. I'm pretty sure that the 9/11 hijackers were not wearing 'traditional Arab dress.'

    Good job of conditioning teenagers to believe that brown people are illegal immigrants, and people in traditional Muslim dress are terrorists.

    I'd love to parachute those kids into New York City, or Toronto, or London, and watch their heads asplode.

    #179 ::: John Houghton ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2009, 04:48 PM:

    Allan Beatty #144:

    "Frazzled by Frisians" gave me a frisson.

    #180 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2009, 04:56 PM:

    debcha:

    But wait. We already know that terrorists who have somehow acquired a nuke and successfully planted it in Manhattan will, upon being captured, taunt their captors with that knowledge and then clam up, in order to retroactively justify the hundreds of people we've tortured for information in the war on terror. Of course they will also dress up like movie villain Arabs.

    Similarly, their bomb will have flashing LEDs and a countdown timer, and will be disarmed by cutting the red wire. But only after a spectacular car chase, a pointless gun battle with the terrorists, a badly-choreographed martial arts fight scene in which the main villain is defeated by the male lead, and at least one unnecessary shower scene with the female lead.

    Geez, don't you know *anything* about fighting terrorism?

    #181 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2009, 05:00 PM:

    [Yes, I've been reading James Macdonald's movie reviews. Why do you ask?]

    #182 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2009, 05:18 PM:

    Serge @ 171

    This is "Longbow Hunters" Green Arrow - the grown-up (ish_ one who doesn't use all those trick arrows.

    Keith S @ 172
    Me too. If they're going to be taught this stuff they should also have to learn about responsibility. And they shouldn't find guns "exciting" - they should be taught the reality of what damage these can do - maybe some pictures of children shot accidentally or something.

    #183 ::: sisuile ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2009, 05:26 PM:

    dcb @ 169 I got into a serious argument with my res director my freshman year over that. She wanted me to put it in the 'weapons locker' on campus, rather than keep my (oak and osage orange, and incredibly temperamental) longbow in my room, even if I kept my arrows in my ceramics locker halfway across campus. The campus security weapons locker wasn't big enough, and they kept sticking it in out of the way corners that no one could find it in, with an hour search ensuing *every time*. With three time a week practices, this just wasn't working. I just returned to sneaking it into my room. This had it's own issues.

    #184 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2009, 05:53 PM:

    Ginger: Yes, they are Venture Scouts, but it's still Venture Scouting BSA. The only real differences are the older age to join, and the allowance of girls (well, the awards structure is different too).

    It disturbs me, not so much because it's BSA, but because of what it is. No, that's not true. It does bother me beacause it's BSA. If those agencies were to establish such a program independent of some outside organisation (esp. one with the social respect the Boy Scouts get... Eagle Scout still has real world advantages), there would be a hue and cry.

    But as it is, these kids, young and impressionable, are being taught to "put his face in the dirt, and a knee in his back," to keep someone quiet.

    Not on.

    They are being taught all sorts of things, which concern me. No, it's not the weapons handling per se (and the use of AirSoft isn't bad. They are as heavy as the weapons they emulate, more finicky, and they sting). It's the mindset.

    As to the weapons handling, from the photos it looks no worse than regular cop behavior. They have the same poor finger placement, and inconsistent loadout (look at the first image, the front kid has no magazine in the well, the one to the right has one in the well, and the kid in the middle has a pistol at the low ready).

    The shot at the bus... typical cop/army drill for entering close quarters (it looks like a snake, much better than a flood. It's a bus, so a flood isn't really possible, and I'd not use a snake, but that's me, I'm not a cop. I'm trained as a soldier. We do things differently).

    I don't want young people to get the us/them, cops good/non-cops questionable/suspects =skells attitude. I certainly don't want them spreading it among their peers.

    #185 ::: Mycroft W ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2009, 07:59 PM:

    I've been reading David Drake. "Frazzled by Frisians" has a different connotation for me right now...

    #186 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2009, 08:15 PM:

    Terry@185: The Explorer Scouts were coed. All they did was change the name.

    #187 ::: Wyman Cooke ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2009, 08:29 PM:

    Fragano Ledgister @ 160

    I'll appreciate it if you don't use the phrase half-assed to describe me and my thought processes. I'm not using assumptions. My conclusions are based on news sources, spread over the political spectrum. I don't have time to provide you with links, and even if I did I doubt they would change your closed mind. Enough. I do not intend to post further in this thread since I'm feeling disrespected.

    #188 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2009, 08:50 PM:

    Ginger, Terry, Dave Bell:

    My concern about the poor gun discipline is that many police forces in the US show that and poor fire discipline as well, usually resulting from bad or no training. I'm not surprised the Scouts aren't taught any better.

    My problem with the whole operation is that it seems to be deliberately teaching the use of force as a first resort in policing, as well as the obvious racism of the teachers, and the conflation of anti-terrorism with border control, in a context where that could easily result in innocent deaths.

    #189 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2009, 08:55 PM:

    Wyman Cooke #188: Now there's a flounce if ever I saw one.

    #190 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2009, 09:51 PM:

    Ginger: I know (I am not a current Unit Commissioner, but I have been one, which meant managing Venturing, Boy Scout, Cub Scout, and Webelos).

    I was saying the only real difference betweeen Venturing, and Boy Scouts.

    It happens a Venturing Crew doesn't need an affiliation. What they need is a common interest. It can be canoing, so long as they have a leader, and a place to meet.

    Wyman Cooke: Without venturing an opinion on your motives, "I have lots of sources, and they prove me right, but I don't have time to share, and you have a closed mind" isn't persuasive.

    In fact, it seems pretty half-assed to me, esp. since you are imputing motives to Fragano that you really can't support.

    It may be his mind is closed. It may be the lack of your having the time to cut/paste references means he (as a professor, who sees a lot of half-assed arguments) doesn't think the ones you presented are suasive.

    In either case, you don't know.

    #191 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2009, 09:55 PM:

    Ginger: Sorry, I got distracted. One of the differences when it became Venturing, was the lack of affiliation.

    They were Explorer Posts, which connected them to an outised enterprise. They are now Venturing Crews, which ties them to each other. Those which are affiliated with things like vets, cops, etc., tend to last longer, because they have an easier time being visible.

    One of the tricks of being a commissioner is to keep a going Troop/Pack/Crew a going concern. This is hard with Venturing Crews because they can have older scouts (active to 21, which means they can be self-regulating, in a way Troops and Packs can't) who aren't aware/interested in promoting the crew to newer members, and so they wither away.

    #192 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2009, 10:23 PM:

    Fragano, #190: I don't buy the "across the political spectrum" bit either, but I wouldn't characterize it as a flounce. Unwillingness to provide sources (which is in and of itself dubious) and/or to entertain the possibility that he might be wrong about this, yes.

    #193 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2009, 11:15 PM:

    Followup: Our heroic youth save the world, a slide show

    All that is missing is an Anton Bruckner symphony playing in the background....

    #194 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2009, 11:33 PM:

    Earl: Guh...

    Way too much rah-rah. As presented the training is way too much black and white.

    #195 ::: Craig R. ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2009, 01:12 AM:

    From the NY Times article & slideshow:
    If there are critics of the content or purpose of the law enforcement training, they have not made themselves known to the Explorers' national organization in Irving, Tex., or to the volunteers here on the ground, national officials and local leaders said.

    Somehow I doubt that that statement would pass an independent audit.

    There will *always* be parents who will criticize *any* program.

    These spokescritters would have been better off with the *little* lie about just how *much* criticism they got, rather than the *big* lie about not getting *any* complaints.

    It's like everybody in those official enclaves failed to notice that at least some in the U.S. and the outside world actually paid attention to the difference between what the government said happened and what actually happened....

    #196 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2009, 06:49 AM:

    Is a parachuting nun a Nun of the Above?

    #197 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2009, 09:48 AM:

    David Goldfarb @ 197... Meanwhile, on Cloud Nun...

    #198 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2009, 10:49 AM:

    Serge: Wait until they make the movie, "Plan Nun from Outer Space".

    On a more serious note, there is a really fun book, "Dwarf Rapes Nun, Flees in UFO"

    #199 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2009, 11:19 AM:

    Terry Karney @ 199... I want someone to make a movie called "Creatures of Habit", about the superpowered Singeing Nun and her evil twin, the Frying Nun.

    #200 ::: John Houghton ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2009, 11:48 AM:

    I can't think of a good pun, so I'll wimple out, once again.

    #201 ::: Hex168 ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2009, 12:13 PM:

    Serge @200: Is that an order?

    #202 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2009, 12:18 PM:

    Craig, #196: Oddly enough, I tend to believe the claim that there has been no internal criticism of the program; I strongly suspect that any parents who disapproved of it would not allow their children to take part in the first place.

    No external criticism, now, that's harder to swallow. I would have expected them to say that criticism had been limited to "a few cranks and moonbats". OTOH, in the areas where this is happening, perhaps the people who might object to it have all been forced into the closet...

    #203 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2009, 12:31 PM:

    Hex168 @ 202... More likely a temporary madness induced by fevered dreams.

    #204 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2009, 08:25 PM:

    Lee #193: You may be right. Generally, when I see "I rely on a lot of sources across the political spectrum" without any citations, it's not the most convincing of statements.

    #205 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2009, 03:17 PM:

    Terry @146:

    Spanked by Spaniards
    Caned by Canadians
    Whomped by Walloons
    Mauled by Mexicans
    Bazshed by Brazilians
    Pounded by Paraguayans
    Usurped by Uraguayans
    Clobbered by Costa Ricans
    Vandalised by Venazualans
    Battered by Bolivians
    Peppered by Peruvuans
    Eviscerated by Ecuadorans
    Gutted by Guatamalans

    ...and Ayn Randed, and nearly branded
    A communist, 'cause I'm left-handed...

    #206 ::: Vicki ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2009, 05:19 PM:

    Nicole @ 206:

    But not, I hope, Phil Spectored, unless you can in fact be resurrected.

    #207 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2009, 12:36 PM:

    In case y'all haven't noticed, I've added some more links to the main post.

    #208 ::: PurpleGirl ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2009, 07:02 PM:

    I clicked through to the editorial from the Union-Times and then made the mistake of reading the comments. Many of the commenters do not know how to read and/or interpret and understand what they read. Regardless of its level of profit the bakery supports the economy of the whole area and is, therefore, very important. Anyway I hope the Verlaine Daeron gets her new visa and that the bakery is able to stay open.

    #209 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2009, 09:48 PM:

    Casual mentions of Le Rendez-Vous (without even mentioning their name, and with an odd spelling of Colebrook):

    Nancy Bell, the New England director of The Conservation Fund, is leading us on a forced march, actually a forced drive, through some of northern New England's most isolated areas. At the same time, operating her four-wheel-drive vehicle like a mobile office, she arranges property transactions with colleagues in Washington, D.C., gives advice to a sick friend, and makes good on her promise of real croissants in the hardscrabble town of Cole brook, New Hampshire, all the while pointing out valuable natural resources up for grabs.

    Emphasis mine.

    That's from The Boston Globe, 15 December 2002, in "THE UN-GREENING OF NANCY BELL OVER HER TWO DECADES ON THE NEW ENGLAND CONSERVATION SCENE, SHE'S MORPHED FROM STAUNCH TREE-HUGGER INTO AN ECO-PRAGMATIST WILLING TO NEGOTIATE - UP TO A POINT - WITH HER WORST ENVIRONMENTAL DEMONS."

    There's only one possible place she could have gotten croissants in Colebrook in 2002.

    #210 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2009, 06:47 PM:

    Remember how in the various stories about the difficulties of making it up here, we heard about how the Ethan Allen furniture plant in Beecher Falls, VT (just a few miles up the road) had suffered a couple of rounds of layoffs?

    Well, today they closed their doors.

    That's another three or four hundred unemployed folks here.

    #211 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2009, 07:25 PM:

    You know, the story of Le Rendez-Vous could make a really good Food Network profile.

    #212 ::: Xopher sees incoherent and/or cryptic SPAM ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2011, 04:38 PM:

    Yeh, whatever.

    Welcome to Making Light's comment section. The moderators are Avram Grumer, Jim Macdonald, Teresa & Patrick Nielsen Hayden, and Abi Sutherland. Abi is the moderator most frequently onsite. She's also the kindest. Teresa is the theoretician. Are you feeling lucky?

    If you are a spammer, your fate is in the hands of Jim Macdonald, and your foot shall slide in due time.

    Comments containing more than seven URLs will be held for approval. If you want to comment on a thread that's been closed, please post to the most recent "Open Thread" discussion.

    You can subscribe (via RSS) to this particular comment thread. (If this option is baffling, here's a quick introduction.)

    Post a comment.
    (Real e-mail addresses and URLs only, please.)

    HTML Tags:
    <strong>Strong</strong> = Strong
    <em>Emphasized</em> = Emphasized
    <a href="http://www.url.com">Linked text</a> = Linked text

    Spelling reference:
    Tolkien. Minuscule. Gandhi. Millennium. Delany. Embarrassment. Publishers Weekly. Occurrence. Asimov. Weird. Connoisseur. Accommodate. Hierarchy. Deity. Etiquette. Pharaoh. Teresa. Its. Macdonald. Nielsen Hayden. It's. Fluorosphere. Barack. More here.















    (You must preview before posting.)

    Dire legal notice
    Making Light copyright 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 by Patrick & Teresa Nielsen Hayden. All rights reserved.