February 9, 2017

"He said, 'Do you practise? Which mosque do you go to? What is the name of the imam? How often do you go to the mosque? What kind of discussions do you hear in the mosque? Does the imam talk to you directly?'"

From "Canadian woman turned away from U.S. border after questions about religion, Trump 'We found videos on your phone that are against us,' Fadwa Alaoui says she was told by a border agent."

That made me think of a segment of this week's episode of "This American Life": "Heavy Vetting":
One of the justifications for the executive order from the administration was that we needed to temporarily stop admitting immigrants and refugees from these seven countries in order to scrutinize and improve the vetting process. Ira speaks with the vetters about how they vet and what they make of the new order. (11 minutes)
(The transcript isn't available yet, but I urge you to listen. The vetters complain that they were not consulted about the change in policy and that they in fact have long been doing what they consider to be "heavy vettting." That segment made a big impact on me. Anyway, the questions in the post title sound an awful lot like what those vetters were saying they have been doing for years.)

72 comments:

John said...

Good.

If she does have videos that are "against us" (us being the US and American people) she should be turned away at the border. Why should we let our enemies in?

Well done, Border Patrol.

John Henry

Michael McClain said...

I have yet to find in the U.S. Constitution the right for any non-U.S. citizen to enter the United States. If we're such an awful cesspit of fascism and hate, why would anyone want to come here?

David said...

This isn't vetting. It also shows how difficult real vetting can be. If you wanted to vet people coming in from Canada, you would have to require visas. It's easier to vet people from nations that we require visas for entry.

traditionalguy said...

Theoretically, Islam is just another hierarchy ruled Religion. And theoretically the U. S. Marine Corps is just another hierarchy ruled Religion. But they are both trained instruments dedicated to the killing of others upon receiving orders.

Hagar said...

Off topic:
I wonder if this new-found fondness for Moslem "undocumented Democrats" come about because the progressives have alienated so many of the traditional Democrat voters with their policies, which they do not want to give up, so now they try to make up new voting blocs from people who will vote for them for reasons that have nothing to do with policy, i.e., skin color, religion, national origin, sex, etc.

Ann Althouse said...

"This isn't vetting. It also shows how difficult real vetting can be."

Why is it not part of vetting?

Some of those questions elicit checkable facts. Someone going to a radical mosque could give the name of the imam at a moderate place.

rehajm said...

When I came back from steelhead fishing in Canada I was not wearing a hijab but I did have on my hooded waterproof fishing jacket. I was asked many questions about fishing- What kind of fishing did I do? Where else did I fish? Why did I go to Canada to fish? Who else did you fish with? What were their names? Did you catch anything? What kind of equipment did you use? Where is it? Did I bring fish home with me? Why not?...

When I went to Canada they asked me if I had ever been convicted of a felony. They would not have let me in if I had answered in the affirmative.

StarBanker said...

I get turned away at the Canadian border every time. I had a DUI for sleeping in my car with the car running in 1991. The government of Canada doesn't allow people who have had DUIs in the United States to enter. I believe the reason must be that their roads are only for drunken Canadians or something. What really chaffs my ass is my mother was Canadian until she died, having never naturalized as an American. Canada doesn't properly vet immigrants and their citizens should be scrutinized more carefully.

Sebastian said...

You mean, they just ask? That is "vetting"?

Of course, the problem with the "countries of concern," rather than Canada, is that it is hard to check the so-called checkable facts.

Darrell said...

Do you want to cut off my head? Do you want a fellow Muslim to cut off my head?

Curious George said...

"Ann Althouse said...
"This isn't vetting. It also shows how difficult real vetting can be."

Why is it not part of vetting?

Some of those questions elicit checkable facts. Someone going to a radical mosque could give the name of the imam at a moderate place."

When they start checking then it's vetting. If you think that is going to happen, then you are a fool. How many of the recent terror incidents did we already know about some connection to terror?

rehajm said...

If you only ever read one book border agents are probably gonna ask you about it.

rhhardin said...

The questions ought to get at whether they agree to living by American rules.

You don't have to draw a cartoon of Mohammad yourself but others can, and you owe them that right.

Oso Negro said...

If no one ever gets turned away, the system isn't working.

Sebastian said...

"When they start checking then it's vetting." No way they can do it on a mass scale, no way they can do it in the Middle East, no way they can overcome taqiyah, no way they can anticipate the background of family that would be allowed in once immigrant visa are granted. The so-called vetting of so-called checkable facts is just security theater.

If "vetting" worked, we wouldn't have 1000 domestic terrorism investigations going.

Bob Boyd said...

"If you only ever read one book border agents are probably gonna ask you about it."

So choose carefully.

Quayle said...

Let's go back to the question of "why those seven countries?".

The reason is that those seven countries do not have sufficient record keeping, and trustworthy record and document creating, government agencies.

Therefore, the U.S. government either receives too few documents, and/or can't trust the documents they do receive with the visa and entry applications.

That's why those seven countries; and not, as the Washington AG alleged, because the government has animus towards muslims, 86 or 88% of whom don't live in those seven countries and can come and go as usua.

robother said...

If the premise of the Judge Robard and the 18 Democrat AGs suing to block Trump's Executive Order is correct, i.e., that every non-citizen enjoys the same Constitutional rights as US citizens, how is even vetting like this permissible?

Doesn't the non-citizen have a due process right to admittance unless the government has concrete evidence that he/she is planning a criminal act? Wouldn't Fourth Amendment privacy and First Amendment religious freedom prohibit this kind of official questioning absent probably cause?

traditionalguy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
traditionalguy said...

The Roman Caesars used to vet for secret Christianity by asking the vettee to make an offering to god Caesar and step on a cross or be killed.

Needless to say, many Christians apparently lied and did those acts.

After Constantine and Theodocian made Christianity legal, and finally favored, the guys who had lied and done the acts were not re-admitted as if nothing happened. Ancient Wiki Leaks was at work.


Bob Boyd said...

"Some of those questions elicit checkable facts. Someone going to a radical mosque could give the name of the imam at a moderate place."

I wonder if the Border Patrol has a list of Canadian mosques categorized as radical, moderate or...what?...loose? Easy going? Maybe they do.

Can you imagine the screaming if the lefties find out such a list exists?

Bob Boyd said...

"He said, 'Do you practise? Which mosque do you go to? What is the name of the imam? How often do you go to the mosque?"

Do you even Muslim, Bro?

Darrell said...

The Canadians asked me if I ever saw that pic of Maggie Trudeau sans knickers at Studio 54.

Michael K said...

"How many of the recent terror incidents did we already know about some connection to terror?"

Quite a few. The Boston bombing was only one.

Bob Boyd said...

It was her first visit and she didn't go all the way. There was checking and some heavy vetting, but that's as far as it went.

tcrosse said...

Cue the pretty woman in the headscarf holding an infant.

Curious George said...

"Ann Althouse said...
"This isn't vetting. It also shows how difficult real vetting can be."

Why is it not part of vetting?

Some of those questions elicit checkable facts. Someone going to a radical mosque could give the name of the imam at a moderate place."

There is no such thing as "moderate" Islam anymore. The moderates don't want to kill American's, but they do want the radicals to do it.

Gusty Winds said...

So they border agents found videos of daily prayers and then claimed the videos were against us?

Total bullshit. Come on.

Gusty Winds said...

If you can't cross the border and make it through the heavy vetting process, try offering the border agents some heavy petting and see if that works.

mccullough said...

Heavy vetting means turning them away.

Lance said...

Asking questions at the border is "heavy vetting"? Good grief.

PB said...

It's a big problem. The danger from letting someone through who would commit a terrorist act or conspire with others to do so is real and it only takes a very small number to make it happen. They can lie and say the proper things, but still get through. They can be a citizen of the US or a citizen of an allied country and still be working to commit such an act. It can be impossible to find them. Denying them access to the country is not torture. If the danger is real and damage could be high, tighter controls are rational and reasonable. Sure you'll turn away some people that wouldn't have committed a crime, but that's the price of turning away those that would.

MaxedOutMama said...

You know, I sense a degree of deception in the statements on the "Heavy Vetting" segment. Because certainly until San Bernandino, it was not US policy to even PERMIT screeners to look at social media of applicants. Here's the story from Dec 2015:
http://abcnews.go.com/US/secret-us-policy-blocks-agents-social-media-visa/story?id=35749325

Further, I find all these news stories in the last day about the Trump admin wanting to require those passwords, followed by statements that the Obama admin considered it but did not do this:
https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2017/02/us-visitors-may-have-to-reveal-social-media-passwords-to-enter-country/

I would suggest that anyone listening to the "Heavy Vetting" segment also read the above article, and maybe follow some of the links. And then read this:
https://homeland.house.gov/press/nations-top-security-officials-concerns-on-refugee-vetting/

(Note that these officials are testifying to Congress that they have problems vetting. Then look at the dates. But after everyone was saying that we had to do everything possible, we still were not doing the obvious - social media and financial background. So maybe things have changed, but it appears we still aren't scrutinizing the financial connections.)

I think there does have to be a reevaluation. Certainly the European experience has been that it is terribly difficult to properly screen refugees. Certainly we HAVE been letting in refugees that we know were traveling under false passports and with murky finances:
http://www.cnbc.com/2016/06/06/a-dangerous-world-whats-at-stake-when-syrian-refugees-are-smuggled-to-us.html

madAsHell said...

My daughter and I were crossing back into the States from Canada. She had traveled to Morocco from Spain, and her passport therefore included a stamp with Arabic. The border agent seeing the stamp, then wanted to know how many times she had visited the middle east. I was dumbfounded, but my daughter proceeded to give the agent a geography lesson.

iowan2 said...

Some commenters here live a very insular life. When is the last time you were pulled over, or detained by Police? The good ones ask all kinds of personal questions. They ask where you are coming from, and to. How long have you been in transit. The Address.
The same question asked several different ways. All to determine if you are being truthful. This is the way things should be done. Also as a commenter here did point out, Canadian border guards are not nice people. Their questions are more invasive. Some how Canadians dont know that I have a right to travel into their country.

Fernandinande said...

Fadwa Alaoui says

Assume taqiyya.

mockturtle said...

When I went to Canada they asked me if I had ever been convicted of a felony. They would not have let me in if I had answered in the affirmative.

I think a DUI will also deny entry.

On my Alaska trip in 2015 I had to cross Canada on several occasions due to my particular itinerary. I was asked a lot of questions, had my RV searched on one occasion and had some food items confiscated. But that's OK. I well remember that a US border agent in WA state stopped terrorists in Blaine, WA, in 2001.

tcrosse said...

Canadian border guards are not nice people.
Being Nice is not in the job description. My experience is that they're all business.

mockturtle said...

rhhardin suggests: The questions ought to get at whether they agree to living by American rules.

You don't have to draw a cartoon of Mohammad yourself but others can, and you owe them that right.


Excellent idea! Ask them if it should be legal to draw a picture of Mohammed.

Original Mike said...

I spent a couple of hours having my car emptied of all its contents by Canadian border agents because I told them I did not own a gun.

"Do you have a gun in the car?"
"No."
"How many guns do you own?"
"None."
"No guns at all???"
"No."
"Out of the car."

I guess they didn't believe an American would not own a gun. (I thought I was answering truthfully, but it occurred to me later I did own a .22 rifle I hadn't touched in years.)

mockturtle said...

Original Mike, I was a little concerned that my CWP would pique their suspicions but, aside from asking about firearms, which of course I didn't have on board, they didn't pursue it. And they let my bear spray through, as it was an acceptable type.

Michael K said...

Some commenters here live a very insular life. When is the last time you were pulled over, or detained by Police? The good ones ask all kinds of personal questions.

Not me. I was wondering if they would just shoot us and bury us in the desert.

Original Mike said...

mockturtle: The way they took the car apart I imagine they were actually looking for drugs (I was 25 yo at the time).

Sydney said...

Some commenters here live a very insular life. When is the last time you were pulled over, or detained by Police? The good ones ask all kinds of personal questions. They ask where you are coming from, and to. How long have you been in transit. The Address.

I have only been pulled over twice, but this was my exact experience. At the time, I resented it. After your post, I now realize it is standard procedure.

traditionalguy said...

Did they say heavy petting. Those border guards must think we are all Hollywood stars.

exhelodrvr1 said...

We want to pretend (and it is encouraged by the leadership in both parties) that the terrorists won't change the way we live. Of course, we all know that if we don't change to some degree, the results will force us to change to an even greater degree. But the pretending just delays this.

Darcy said...

This is encouraging news. Glad they turned her away.

I lived right next to the Canadian border for most of my life. I did not know Canada doesn't allow anyone convicted of a DUI into their country.

How racist!!

Jupiter said...

"Do you practice? What mosque do you go to?".

These are questions that would only be asked of someone who had already admitted to being a member of an organization (Islam) dedicated to the overthrow of the US government by force. Ask them if Muhamad was wrong to kill infidels. That will tell you all you need to know.

Freeman Hunt said...

"They said, 'You're not allowed to go to the United States because we found videos on your phone that are against us," Alaoui said.

We are supposed to be upset about this? If your phone has anti-American propaganda on it, you might not be able to come into America if you aren't a citizen. Shocking!

n.n said...

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

Principled alignment is probable cause that warrants greater scrutiny to discern character.

rehajm said...

Did I miss something or are the NPR lefties here encouraging the conflation of vetting of refugee seekers with foreigners entering for other reasons? What weepy refugee vetter is doing is different than the border agents at Highgate who stopped the woman headed to University Mall.

Big Mike said...

There are fourteen people buried in and around San Bernardino who'd probably be alive today if Tashfeen Malik had been better vetted when she came to this country. Make that fifteen, as young Mr. Farook might not have turned Into a murderer without the encouragement of his wife. Or he might've gone crazy anyway, but it's unquestionable that his wife encouraged him towards violence.

So go for it, ICE agents!

Bad Lieutenant said...

Sydney said...
Some commenters here live a very insular life. When is the last time you were pulled over, or detained by Police? The good ones ask all kinds of personal questions. They ask where you are coming from, and to. How long have you been in transit. The Address.

I have only been pulled over twice, but this was my exact experience. At the time, I resented it. After your post, I now realize it is standard procedure.

2/9/17, 9:50 AM


It may be SOP but I detest answering and even asking personal questions. I once was stopped by a state trooper, who was very friendly and who let me go for doing 98.

I told him, truthfully, that a) I was running late on the way to give blood at the clinic @that exit, but b) that I knew they would wait for me and my real reason for speeding was that I had just replaced and was testing a new transfer case. I did not add that the road was empty and conditions ideal, which was also true.

I was very friendly and cooperative; and a white square-John looking type, I suppose. He seemed quite professional, but one thing, he went all around my SUV peering in the windows like...

Well, I guess it was his job, and legal, and did me no harm, and probably made him feel better about not writing me up; but still I found it offensive. Seemed like a peeping Tom to me, even if he was checking for guns or drugs or the Lindbergh baby.

The world we live in, sigh. I must say I would prefer not to have a job like that. It would seem degrading to all parties. Unless of course you find the Lindbergh baby...

gspencer said...

All this "vetting" of Muzzies assumes that these Muzzies will be truthful. But when lying* to the infidel with the objective of protecting/projecting/advancing Islam is part and parcel of the "religion," how can you expect truthful answers?

*Called Taqiyya.

On the same score, how can you trust the testimony of a Muslim in court? Or that he will honor a contract?

YoungHegelian said...

A young woman who used to work at one of my clients was an Iranian Baha'i, but an American citizen. In a visit to the eastern Mediterranean, she visited Haifa, Israel which is a holy city for the Baha'i.

Needless to say, when the Israeli border security folks saw her Iranian name, American passport or no, they sat her down for questioning. She told me about the interview: "It was amazing how much Baha'i history & theology that Israeli immigration guy knew!".

Snark said...

Separately from the real world harm and humiliation to those unnecessarily barred from visiting the United States, which I wouldn't anticipate would find much traction here, this kind of (likely) crap hurts Americans who benefit from tourism and day trip/shopping visits.

YoungHegelian said...

@Snark,

this kind of (likely) crap hurts Americans who benefit from tourism and day trip/shopping visits.

A yuuuuge number of Canadians who live along the border shop daily in the US. If a Canadian, Muslim or not, gets to know & be known by the border guards, passage becomes much easier. These rulings really affect those who only have occasional need to cross the border the most.

Snark said...

I don't think it can be fully anticipated what the impact of these kinds of rulings will be. I agree that most those close to the border who cross as a regular part of their daily lives will continue to do so, but I think it would be easy to underestimate those who wouldn't risk a several hour drive only to be turned away, or those who will simply make different leisure travel plans because the whole thing appears so uncertain and chaotic. It's no small thing to have it broadly publicized that this woman was fingerprinted, photographed and had her phone rifled before being turned away. Many, even non Muslims, might be put off by the possibility of being treated like that. Others might be put off by what they see as discrimination and reject elective travel through simple solidarity.

Seeing Red said...

Fingerprint once, don't have to do it again.

Original Mike said...

Considering how difficult it is to determine who means to do us harm, any effective vetting program is going to result in a lot of false positives. That's just a fact.

The Godfather said...

The American Life segment proves, once again, that bureaucrats are always sure that they do their jobs as effectively as its possible to do them. Heavy vetting? You couldn't vet any heavier than I do.

It also proves that some of the people charged with reviewing refugee applications have an ideological commitment to admitting refugees for humanitarian reasons.

One critic of the current system was heard to say that in failed states like Syria, you can't check applicants' stories against reliable data bases, to which someone responded that, Oh no, that's not true at all; everyone in Syria has a "family book" with information about everyone in the family. Who issues the "family book"? The Asaad regime? Isis? or whatever faction is currently running your home town? Come on!

mockturtle said...

Per Darcy: I did not know Canada doesn't allow anyone convicted of a DUI into their country.

Not sure how recent/frequent the offense has to be to cause non-entry.

mockturtle said...

One critic of the current system was heard to say that in failed states like Syria, you can't check applicants' stories against reliable data bases, to which someone responded that, Oh no, that's not true at all; everyone in Syria has a "family book" with information about everyone in the family. Who issues the "family book"? The Asaad regime? Isis? or whatever faction is currently running your home town? Come on!

It was widely reported a year or so ago that fake Syrian passports were a big industry.

tcrosse said...

Per Darcy: I did not know Canada doesn't allow anyone convicted of a DUI into their country.
There's a cottage industry of lawyers who specialize in workarounds. Generally it's 5 to 10 years after completing the sentence for the offence, but there are all sorts of permits and waivers. Bring your checkbook.

Bad Lieutenant said...

Snark said...

...It's no small thing to have it broadly publicized that this woman was fingerprinted, photographed and had her phone rifled before being turned away. Many, even non Muslims, might be put off by the possibility of being treated like that. Others might be put off by what they see as discrimination and reject elective travel through simple solidarity.


Sad!

JaimeRoberto said...

I'm glad someone is finally doing some reporting on what the vetting process actually is. I'll be sure to read the transcripts when they become available. Here are some questions from Form DS-160 that visa applicants need to fill out.

Are you coming to the United States to engage in prostitution or unlawful commercialized vice or have you been engaged in prostitution or procuring prostitutes within the past 10 years?

Have you ever been involved in, or do you seek to engage in, money laundering?

Do you seek to engage in espionage, sabotage, export control violations, or any other illegal activity while in the United States?

Do you seek to engage in terrorist activities while in the United States or have you ever engaged in terrorist activities?

Have you ever or do you intend to provide financial assistance or other support to terrorists or terrorist organizations?

Are you a member or representative of a terrorist organization?

Have you ever ordered, incited, committed, assisted, or otherwise participated in genocide?

Have you ever committed, ordered, incited, assisted, or otherwise participated in torture?

Have you committed, ordered, incited, assisted, or otherwise participated in extrajudicial killings, political killings, or other acts of violence?

Have you, while serving as a government official, been responsible for or directly carried out, at any time, particularly severe violations of religious freedom?


You would have to be an idiot to say yes to any of those questions. Forgive me if I'm not impressed with this kind of vetting.

Bad Lieutenant said...

I had always gathered that was more to get them on record lying under oath, as it were, so if they were ever caught doing, e.g., whoring, that they could throw the book at 'em and add the Federal crime of lying on a signed and attested document. But preventatively, yeah, it lacks something. But it is, obviously, legit to ask these questions.

David said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
David said...

"This isn't vetting. It also shows how difficult real vetting can be."

Why is it not part of vetting?

Some of those questions elicit checkable facts. Someone going to a radical mosque could give the name of the imam at a moderate place.


How do they check them in a border screening? There's no list of members at mosques. These questions can not elicit reliable actionable information from anyone determined to deceive. I suppose it's vetting of clumsy and stupid terrorists. In light of your comment I will amend my comment to "this isn't effective vetting. It shows how difficult effective vetting can be."

Better?

buwaya said...

"How do they check them in a border screening?"

They do the best checking at US consulates abroad in the visa request process, not on the border.

I am a bit familiar with the sorts of things visa-applicants from the third world are asked, or were asked in the past.

They require such things as proof of livelihood and financial assets, vouching by US corporations, educational credentials, proof of marital status, etc.

Todd Galle said...

Late to a thread again. Back in the 90s I used to go up to Canada to teach CF officer recruits WWI platoon tactics. I think it was to tie them to a historical military legacy, they get a bad rap in that department. Anyway, several of us used to cross at the QEW border stop in a minivan with a crate of SMLE rifles on the roof. Never a problem, although the first trip they recorded serial #s on a customs form. On subsequent trips they just checked the customs forms and passports and waived us through, never even opened the crate. Which was good one year when I denied having explosives. I forgot I had WW1 grenade simulators in the back. It may also have been the official invitation from whatever Brigadier was then in charge of the base. They always looked impressive.

Timeforchange said...

My son in law and his brother came from Cyprus and entered the United State from Canada illegally.

I never asked him how they did this, I should have.