Various websites are reporting that Tommy Robinson, leader of the English Defense League, has been refused entry into the United States by Customs and Border Protection (CBP). The most detailed is from Vladtepesblog which describes rather unusual and illegal proceedure by which Robinson was refused.
English Defence League leader Tommy Robinson flew in to John F. Kennedy airport in New York tonight. He planned to attend the demonstration against the Ground Zero mosque on September 11th, along with fellow members of the EDL and other European sympathizers who have come to the USA for the occasion.
According to EDL members who accompanied Mr. Robinson to New York, he was met by two policemen (or possibly two TSA officers) as soon as he stepped off the plane. They took him into custody and almost immediately put him on a plane back to London.
It’s like when Geert Wilders was sent back to the Netherlands from Heathrow, only a much longer flight. My sympathies go out to Tommy Robinson over the Atlantic right now, sitting through seventeen grueling hours of plane travel at one go.
The ostensible reason why he was deported was that he had filled out his entry form improperly, but it’s obvious that the British authorities had informed their DHS counterparts that he was coming, and advised them to send him back using any available pretext.
One of my EDL contacts says he was shadowed by British police at Heathrow right up until the moment he got on the plane. It’s even possible that plainclothes officers were on board with him during the flight.
First, he was not met by two policemen, as the police have no authority over persons seeking admission to the United States, and neither does the TSA. Only CBP has the authority over said persons and it has sole authority over arriving aliens as well.
It is very unlikely that he was lawfully refused entry, as the report describes him being met by CBP officers. One must know that arriving aliens who are removeable are very unusual now, as with the Electronic System For Travel Authorization (ESTA), makes surprise arrivals most unlikely. All arriving aliens using the visa waiver program register with this program before they arrive and they are notified if they are eligible to apply to enter the U.S. This is of course not a guarentee to entry, but it does ensure those on lookout lists, terrorists and criminals are not able to board an aircraft, much less arrive on one. In this case Robinson would have registered with ESTA and recieved permission to board. The report implies that he was being closely watched by Special Branch or MI-5 when departing. So they knew he was coming. Generally, someone on a terrorist watch list or a person with a criminal conviction, should not have recieved ESTA clearance to board the aircraft.
The report next says that Robinson filled out his entry form improperly. Of course we don't know if this is the Form 6059B, Customs Declaration, or the Form I-94W Arrival/Departure Record. However, he generally would not be completing the Form I-94W because that is completed in ESTA. If the alien completing ESTA answers a disqualifying question accurately, he is not allowed to board. If he anwsers incorrectly, such as denying he has a criminal conviction, then that will be addressed upon arrival. And if he had lied on his Customs Declaration, what did he lie about? The amount of money he was brining in?
But, as we know, they knew he was coming, and if he had lied on ESTA, such as about a criminal conviction, then why was he allowed to board, as again, the government knew he was coming.
Then there is the quick turn around. Refusing entry to an alien on the Visa Waiver Program requires alot of paperwork, including an indepth written series of questions several pages long. Add to that several different forms, fingerprinting and photographing, and we know that it is unlikely that he was on the return plane so quickly. It can be done, but it is difficult.
But, since CBP officers met him at the plane, they knew he was coming. Why was he allowed to then allowed to board?
More interesting is that CBP receives and reviews passenger manifests before flights leave the ground. Why wasn't the airline informed to remove him from the flight before it left?
I don't know if Robinson has a criminal conviction that prohibits entry to the U.S. I then don't know if he lied about it on his ESTA application. But it is all very fishy. Too bad he did not claim asylum, then they would have left him stay, but, unlike Muslims and others, he would have been held in custody. Usually asylum applicants are released. Except white ones.
So here we have it, strange doings at CBP.