Do not visit or fly via the United States
Monday, 12 January 2009 16:08

Today sees the introduction of yet another computer system and massive database belonging to the US.

All travellers going to the US will now have to complete a special application for an Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA) no later than 72 hours prior to departure. This online form is in addition to the green visa waiver form (I-94W) which everyone has to complete while on their flight and hand to an official at the point of entry.

This form asks such questions as . . .

Have you ever been or are you now involved in espionage or sabotage; or in terrorist activities: or genocide; or between 1933 and 1945 were you involved , in any way, in persecutions associated with NAZI Germany or its allies?

Consider that the date is now 2009, to we are talking about events that happened more than 60 years ago, and so anyone who might have been involved is likely to be well over 80 years old. Do they really think anyone is going to answer Yes?

Are you seeking to work in the U.S.; or have you ever been excluded and deported; or been previously removed from the United Stated; or procured or attempted to procure a visa or entry into the U.S. by fraud or missrepresentation?

Again one has to wonder whether anyone is really going to say yes!

Finally the one that makes everyone question the sanity of the US in general . . .

Have you ever been arrested or convicted for an offense or crime involving moral turpitude or a violation related to a controlled substance; or been arrested or convicted for two or more offenses for which the aggregage sentence to confinement was five years or been a controlled substance trafficker or are you  seeking entry to engage in criminal or immoral activities?

Does the US ask this question to find out whether or not people understand what 'moral turpitue' is? It's non of their business whether or not visitors intend to engage in immoral activities. Immorality is not against the law, and who is to define what is an immoral act? It depends entirely on your ethical and moral code and personal values. Asking these questions is pointless because no-one is going to answer yes to any of them.

What is the purpose of these restrictions?

A good question.

The people of the US can be some of the most friendly and kind-hearted people in the world. However, put them together, give them a uniform and a little power and suddenly they change and become something that you might expect to find in your worst nightmare. Suddenly you are considered a criminal, a threat to national security and immoral low life.

Immigration to the US will give you a hard time even if you are only changing aircraft. The sensible thing to do is travel by a route that does not involve passing through the United States or passing through US airspace.

A final word

To make you feel really unwanted, you will also be charged for processing of your entry documents and fingerprinted when you enter the US. Just to rub in the cost element, if you are flying from the UK you will also be charged a 40 pound departure tax.

Think hard before you go to the US, there are lots of places that will cost you a lot less and will make you fell more welcome.

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