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The Golden Door

News and views on immigration law

Luke Angel – an immigration hoax in the making?

September 27th, 2010 by Djung Tran

Luke Angel, a 17-year old British teen, after watching a television program on 9/11, and while “drunk and high,” apparently sent an email full of curses and threats to President Obama.  The result:  the FBI called his local police department, who then sent an officer to visit his home to question him, take his photo, and inform him that he was banned for life from ever entering the U.S.

Reactions to the story were mostly scornful over the pettiness of banning the teen, defense of this seeming over-reaction as a necessary evil to combating terrorism and threats to national security, and noises about infringement of free speech.

One website, however, raised an even more interesting angle.  Did the FBI really call a local police department in England over one rant email, and did the Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) really inform this 17-year old that he’s banned for life from the U.S.?  U.S. immigration authorities rarely give straight answers to questions such as, “Why am I being denied entry to the U.S. when all my paperwork is in order?” It’s hard enough to even figure out if you are permanently banned from the U.S., much less why.  DHS had no comment on this case, saying that, “Due to privacy laws, US Customs and Border Protection is prohibited from discussing specific cases.”

But to believe that someone in DHS put this teen on some sort of “no-entry” list, and then promptly told his local police to inform him of this fact, just isn’t in keeping with standard DHS process. The teen could have enlisted the services of an immigration lawyer, but considering the circumstances it seems that effort would have been fruitless. So, while this story is great at painting the U.S. as an unreasonable, bullying bureaucracy with nothing better to do than hassle a foreign teen over his drunken rant, it simply doesn’t smell right.

Djung Tran, Esq.

Tran Law Associates

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