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Airports Security - Is this too much or a start of something sinister?

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posted on Jun, 29 2007 @ 09:42 AM
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Hi everyone, I have not been posting here for awhile but this letter, sent by a priest to my friend and forwarded it to me which I edited, compelled me to get some feedback from members. Regarless of belief or faith, please put aside prejudices on religion for now. This is somewhat affecting our image as a bearer of freedom.


The Letter:

AN OPEN LETTER TO

Immigrations and Naturalization Service (INS)
United States Embassy in ...Y country
The different groups / communities who have been inviting me over the years
The Media

I am Reverend Father ...X name , a Roman Catholic Priest from the ...Y country, seventy (70) years of age and forty three (43) years in the priestly
ministry. For more than twenty five (25) years, I have been going in and out of the United States of America, once, twice and in some occasions, three times a year to respond to invitations and requests for talks and seminars both from American and ...Z communities / groups. I have been invited to speak in U.S. Bishops and priests’ conferences, a regular speaker in the Charismatic Renewal Movement conference – from national, regional, state down to the local parish and community level. For all these visits I have been using a tourist (Visa R Type/Class B1/B2) visa because I can only afford to stay for a month or two for every visit due to my very hectic schedule.

Last June 11, 2007 I left for the United States aboard a Northwest Airlines flight to Washington, D.C. via Minneapolis again to respond to a six (6) state invitation to give seminars and retreats. To my great surprise, at my point of entry in Minneapolis, I was brought to / detained at the Immigrations office for six (6) hours of investigation / questioning, made to sign a sworn statement and finally refused entry into the country for the very first time after more that twenty five (25) years! The reason?? I was using the wrong visa! According to the immigration officer I should be using a Religious (R1) visa. I have tried to reason with/explain to them that I have been using the tourist visa for more that two and a half decades already. How come all of a sudden it has become the wrong visa? Meaning, the U.S. Embassy here in ...Y country had made a mistake by issuing me the wrong visa? The last time I have renewed my visa was only in 2005. Each time I write the reason for my travel to the United States it has always been “to give spiritual renewal seminars to the different groups / communities all over the United States.” How come I have never been corrected that I was applying for the wrong visa? I have never been refused a visa from the United States or from any country in the world for that matter nor have I ever been denied entry to any country ever in my entire ministry. Their blunt answer was only “we don’t want to argue with you.”

I have tried to beg them for a special consideration on my case because I said “I am already in the United States and there are many people waiting for me already. As a matter of fact my host in Washington, D.C., the first leg of my six-state trip, must be very worried by now because I did not arrive in the flight I am supposed to be in. But they were just very adamant in saying “NO!” and kept repeating “we don’t want to argue with you.” They even told me, “if you cannot fly out from the United States within the day we put you in jail, you will have to sleep there.” They treated me like a criminal.


... next posting

[edit on 29-6-2007 by prsbuff]




posted on Jun, 29 2007 @ 09:46 AM
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...continued



After seven (7) long, excruciating hours I got very hungry so I asked if I could get some food. Harshly they asked me if I had money so I answered I have US$10. They replied (still in a harsh tone), “give me your money and I will buy for you a sandwich.” They would not allow me to buy my own food. Why? For fear I might escape? They had my boarding pass and passport, how could I go anywhere without my travel documents? I am not a criminal much more would like to be a fugitive.

I was scandalized and demoralized to hear and experience these things in a country that pioneers democracy and from people who claim to be respectful of people’s rights. I was not even a chance to reason out. I felt very sad, embarrassed and shocked. My ministry has brought to me many countries around the world but I have not been treated the way I was treated in the United States that eventful day of June 11, 2007. Let me say this again, I have never been refused a visa and entry into any country I have gone to even in the Middle East.

After about eight (8) hours I was escorted into the plane by the police and it was only inside the plane, ready to fly out that my travel documents (passport and boarding pass) was given to me. It was a full flight to my ...Y(country) via Amsterdam, all the passengers were looking at me, wondering why I was being escorted by the police like a criminal. I felt so small.

I have decided to write this letter because of the following very serious reasons:

1. The way I was treated. It was unjust, heartless and rude. Imagine even to the extent of threatening me to be put in jail?
2. The psychological, emotional and mental stress and damage it had caused me.
3. I felt punished for a mistake I did not commit. It was the U.S. Embassy in ...Y(country) that had been issuing me the “wrong” visa for more than twenty five (25) years.
4. It caused so much disorder, confusion and financial damage. The different groups that invited me have already rented venues for the seminars and retreats and have filed for leave of absences months before hand just to be able to attend the said seminars and retreats. I am now in a dilemma as to how I will be able to recover the airfare I have incurred for this trip. I do not have a fixed income and only rely on donations and love offerings. How will I now recover the expenses when I have not been able to fulfill my mission?
5. My tourist visa had been stamped twice “cancelled.” My visa is still supposed to be good until April 25, 2010 a good three (3) years to go.
6. Christian responsibility. If I keep my mouth shut on this matter, I am one hundred percent (100%) sure many more people will suffer the same treatment, probably even worse, than what I have been through. The wrong will not be corrected and more and more people will be disgruntled by the Untied States of America.

As a Christian it is my duty to stand for justice, fairness and truth. I expect the wrong to be acknowledged and the damage be repaired.




Rev. Fr. ....X name



posted on Jun, 29 2007 @ 11:24 AM
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Wow, I am shocked by that behavior. I think the preist was mistreated and deserves a full apology. At the very least, when he detained, they could have contacted the embassy to straighten out the mess while he was here in country. He clearly was of no threat to anyone, this was a case of very bad judgement.

I hope he recieves his apology.
please update us.



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