Americans who love to talk about freedom have capitulated. Freedom in America was always an illusion, but it was an illusion that looked real enough that freedom loving Americans touted across the globe. But no more, America has become an Orwellian society headed towards a dystopian place where only certain individuals who have certain racial and socio-economic markers live in an illusion of a utopian society mirrored after them.
In recent months, there have been several American citizens who have summarily being deported to another country without due process. These are not immigrants, but U.S. citizens, many of whom, were born and raised in America that were picked up on an American street and forcefully expelled from America and sent to another country. What was their crime? Nothing but looking different or sounding different.
Two American women were detained and questioned by a Border Patrol agent in Montana in May of last year, simply for speaking Spanish. The Border Patrol agent demanded their identification because they were “speaking Spanish” among themselves.
On January 30, 2017, NASA scientist and U.S.-born citizen Sidd Bikkannava was detained at the Houston airport by Customs and Border Patrol agents who demanded that he provide them his password to unlock his phone. He was released after he gave the agents the password to his phone.
Then on November 29, 2018, an Apple employee and U.S. citizen was detained by Border Patrol agents who threatened him with federal charges after he asked to speak to an attorney, or Apple before unlocking his phone and laptop for the agents at the San Francisco International Airport. Andreas Gal said in a recently filed civil rights complaint that the agents told him he had no right to speak to an attorney. Gal refused to unlock the devices and was eventually released.
However, they kept his Global Entry card, which is an expedited travel document issued by the American government. Gal later found out that his travel privileges via the Global Entry card were revoked. On his Medium blog post, Andreas Gal wrote that his loss of the Global entry was “punishment” for refusing to provide access to his electronic devices to the border agents.
Whether you agree with draconian immigration policies or not is immaterial because these examples, of many others, involves United States citizens who have undeniable rights under the United States Constitution. These include the First and Fourth Amendments.
The Fourth Amendment provides protections against unreasonable searches of citizens including demanding identification for speaking Spanish or searching through electronic devices simply for crossing the border.
Gal wrote on his blog that he wonders if his “disapproval of the Trump administration” may have led him to “being targeted.” Gal adds that he now travels “in fear” and that “his heart pounds every time” he goes through U.S. customs.
Now imagine an immigrant such as me who is legal. If this can happen to American citizens, what chance do I have? I follow the law, yet I fear that, that is not enough.