The ACLU made the Border Patrol reveal its terrifying legal theories

After four years of Freedom of Information Act litigation, the ACLU has prevailed and forced the Customs and Border Patrol to release 1,000 pages' worth of training documents in which new agents learn when they can stop people and what they can do after they stop them. Read the rest

San Diego is America's safest city, but Republicans keep claiming that the US-Mexican border is responsible for "gangs, drugs, human trafficking and massive crime"

San Diego and Tijuana are practically a single city, separated by a border, which Donald Trump wants to close, claiming that "The most important way to stop gangs, drugs, human trafficking and massive crime is at our Southern Border." Read the rest

Lawsuit: US citizen suing CBP for coercing him into unlocking his phone during boarding at LAX

Haisam Elsharkawi is a US citizen of Egyptian descent who was travelling to Mecca in 2017 when he was pulled out the boarding line for his flight from LAX by CBP agents who demanded that he unlock his phones; when he refused and asked for a lawyer, he was handcuffed and taken to an interrogation room where he was questioned and bullied until he unlocked his phones; the CBP officers spent 15 minutes paging through his emails, making snarky remarks about his Amazon purchase history and how many unread emails he had, and then let him go. Read the rest

Trump threatens to permanently bar Canadian legal weed investors from entering the USA

One of Trump's border officials told Politico that the administration is planning to permanently bar Canadians who invest in or start legal cannabis businesses in the US or Canada from entering the USA. Read the rest

Jogger in Canada accidentally crosses over U.S. border and gets detained for 2 weeks

Nineteen-year-old Cedella Roman, a French citizen staying in Canada, was jogging in White Rock, B.C. when she was stopped by two U.S. border patrol officers. They told her she'd illegally entered the United States. Roman told them she hadn't seen signs on the dirt trail she'd been running on. They put her in a caged vehicle and drove her 200 kilometers to the Department of Homeland Security's Tacoma Northwest Detention Centre and held her there for 2 weeks.

From CBC:

Roman said she was able to contact her mother, Christiane Ferne, who rushed to the detention centre to provide officers with documents including her passport and study permits.

Ferne said workers on site told her she had to present the documents to Immigration Canada to determine if Roman was eligible to be discharged back to Canada.

Roman was held in custody for two weeks before immigration officials on both sides of the border confirmed she was allowed back into Canada. Then she was transferred back into B.C.

"It was just unfair that there was nothing, no sign at the border," said Ferne, who visited her daughter several times while she was detained. "It's like a trap … anybody can be caught at the border like this."

A spokesbot for U.S. Customs and Border Protection offered a characteristically sociopathic statement:

A spokesperson for U.S. Customs and Border Protection said that anyone who enters into the U.S. outside an official port of entry and without inspection has crossed the border illegally, and will be processed accordingly.

Read the rest

The secret RPG history of an enabler of America's border child kidnapping policy

When Bryant Durrell was in college, he played D&D with an amazing Dungeon Master, Eric, who was obsessed with the moral dimension of the game, constructing thoughtful, elaborate campaigns to get the players to reflect on the nature of good and evil -- the players jokingly called the setting Eric created "Catholic World." Read the rest

Redditor claims Chinese border guards installed malware on his phone

BigTyPB: "I saw the installation process, an icon appear on the home screen, the police ran the application and then the icon hid itself. Not sure if it rooted my phone or what. I know something was running on my phone because they used a handheld device to confirm our phones were communicating with their system before letting us go." Read the rest

The Passport Index: a beautiful guide to the passports of the world

The Passport Index features beautiful high-resolution images of the covers of all the world's passports, with interactive features ranking passports by how much visa-free travel they entitle their bearers to, and the ability to assemble grids of the places your passport(s) permit entry to. (via Dark Roasted Blend) Read the rest

Exit West: beautifully wrought novel about refugees, mobility and borders

Mohsin Hamid's Exit West is a science fiction novel with a simple, allegorical premise: what if the poor, oppressed, and alienated could simply vanish through mysterious doorways and emerge somewhere else?

Victory! Fourth Circuit rules that border officials can't subject electronic devices to suspicionless forensic searches

Back in 2014, the Supreme Court ruled in Riley v California, holding that border guards do not have unlimited authority to search our personal electronic devices when we cross the border, requiring individualized criminal suspicion before a search can take place. Read the rest

California's last "immigrant crossing" sign is gone

Created as a stop-gap to save undocumented migrants from getting killed by cars on Interstate 5 near the San Diego area border with Mexico, the signs soon took on a symbolic use beyond the original intent. The last one appears to have been stolen and won't be replaced. The Union-Tribune spoke to Caltrans designer John Hood about the sign, which was a replacement for an all-text sign:

"It doesn't just mean they are running across the freeway," Hood told the Union-Tribune in 2005, describing his choice of imagery. "It means they are running from something else as well. I think it's a struggle for a lot of things, for opportunities, for freedom.”

Caltrans installed 10 signs, focusing on areas like San Ysidro and the San Clemente checkpoint where migrants were known to cross the interstate on foot frequently.

The silhouette of a man with a mustache and woman in a dress running with their young daughter, her hair in pigtails trailing behind her, has been repurposed by different sides of the immigration debate over the years.

Last iconic 'immigrant crossing sign' disappears (San Diego Union-Tribune)

Image: Wikimedia Commons Read the rest

Gorgeous map of ten of the world's shortest borders

Anders Kvernberg, aka PisseGuri82, created this lovely map of ten of the world's shortest borders. Here's the full-size version. Read the rest

Coalition of 100+ tech groups and leaders warn the DHS that "extreme vetting" software will be a worse-than-useless, discriminatory nightmare

In a pair of open letters to Letter to The Honorable Elaine C. Duke, Acting Secretary of Homeland, a coalition of more than 100 tech liberties groups and leading technology experts urged the DHS to abandon its plan to develop a black-box algorithmic system for predicting whether foreigners coming to the USA to visit or live are likely to be positive contributors or risks to the nation. Read the rest

Simple steps your small organization can take to defend itself against cyberattacks

Respected security researcher Dan Wallach from Rice University has published a short (18 page) guide to securing small organizations against three kinds of cyberattack: Untargeted, ​remote ​(spammers, ​phishers, ​ransomware ​griefers, ​etc.); Targeted, ​remote ​(spear ​phishers); and Targeted, ​in ​person ​(immigration ​agents, ​police, ​criminal ​trespass). Read the rest

Applicants for the Customs and Border Protection agency keep admitting to ghastly crimes during polygraph tests

Back in April, experts warned that Trump's plan to hire 5,000 new Customs and Border Patrol officers was unlikely to succeed: the agency already loses 1,000 employees per year and a significant number of applicants are disqualified on the grounds of past bad actions, from theft to rape to drug smuggling. Read the rest

Letter from indigenous Mexican man who was denied a US visa to receive an award for internet development

Mariano Gómez is a 23 year old Tseltal from Abasolo, Chiapas, and a member of the Ikta K’op Collective; he is being given an award by the prestigious Internet Society for his work creating "a wireless Internet and Intranet network that provided connectivity and access to information to his community, which has no telephone or radio service," but will not be able to attend the awards in Los Angeles because the US embassy has denied him a tourist visa. Read the rest

Newark customs officers "hazed" new hires on a "rape table" in a locked room

Three CBP officers are facing criminal charges stemming from 2016 and 2017 incidents in which two newly hired CBP employees were locked in a small room, thrown on a table referred to as a "rape table" and then forced to endure a "simulated sex act" in which the senior officers ground their genitals against them. Read the rest

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