What’s good for the goose…

By | March 29, 2008

Well, well, well, how interesting.

From the IT today.

Story 1

A DONEGAL woman who travelled to New York for the St Patrick’s holiday was detained and deported when US authorities discovered she had worked there for four years without a valid visa.

Catherine Greene (28) from Rannafast said she was kept in a holding room for 12 hours and not allowed water or food before being escorted onto a flight to London on March 17th, her birthday.

She had spent four years in New York as an undocumented bar worker and was returning for a nine-day holiday to visit friends.

She said that, after consulting computer files, an immigration official at JFK airport asked her to confirm her previous dates of arrival and departure before placing her passport in a clear plastic bag.

“He said ‘come with me’ and sent me into this room and I had to sit there for a few hours – they didn’t tell me nothing,” Ms Greene told The Irish Times . “I was in an awful way. I was crying. They didn’t actually handcuff me but they told me they weren’t going to because of the state I was in. They said they usually would.”

Ms Greene said she was then brought by van to another holding room, where she spent the night with three others who had been refused entry to the US, and was allowed to make one phone call.

She said: “It was horrible. It was cold, they were bringing people in and out, and we were sitting there, not allowed to move. I wasn’t allowed have water or food or nothing. I went to my suitcase to get some chocolate and your man told me I wasn’t allowed to go near my suitcase . . . Every time you got up you were told to sit down again.

“It was bad treatment. I didn’t know what was going on – they weren’t telling you anything . . . You’re treated like a criminal. I wouldn’t wish it on anybody.”

Deary me. Treated LIKE a criminal. Overnight in a holding cell and back on BA. Not like these Brazillians chaps who came to Dublin for the weekend and were treated AS criminals – flung into Mountjoy for TWO days! But the Brazillians aren’t a a bit happy about it. Good for them.

Story 2

“A DIPLOMATIC row has broken out between Ireland and Brazil over the detention in Mountjoy Prison of three students who were trying to enter the Republic, The Irish Times has learned.

The students were refused permission to enter via Dublin airport last weekend.

Since then the case has become a national news story back in Brazil.

It has led to the police there being called to investigate a bomb threat at the Irish Embassy in the capital Brasilia. The embassy has received threats by telephone and via the postal service.

A delegation from the Brazilian embassy in Dublin yesterday met with senior officials from the Department of Foreign Affairs. The Brazilian officials registered the concerns of their government relating to the treatment of the three students, particularly their detention in Mountjoy Prison.

The episode began last weekend when three Brazilian students in their early 20s decided to travel from their base in Portugal to Ireland.

It was their intention to stay in Dublin for the weekend and return to Portugal, where they are attending university…..

The gardaí were not satisfied with the students’ claims that they were residing in Portugal, attending university there and were simply visiting Dublin for a short holiday……

It is suspected that a large number of Brazilians admitted to the State in recent years have used the freedom of travel between Ireland and the UK to enter the UK illegally and stay on there.

When the students were stopped at the airport, they were questioned for a short period before being taken to Mountjoy Prison. They were held there for two days.

The Irish Times understands they have since been returned to Portugal.

My only question is why Ms Greene’s experience is even news. She, by her own admission, stayed and worked illegally in the US and attempted, despite clear rules, to regain entry within 10 years. She’s kept overnight and put on the next flight home. The Brazillians, perfectly legally attempt entry and are kept in jail for two days! That’s a story. Ms Greene has no cause for complaint.

12 thoughts on “What’s good for the goose…

  1. peter_wolf

    Actually this is a very interesting little couple of stories [stories being a word worth nothing] First off the only valid complaint that the Irish woman has is that she was not feed a meal and was not sent back on the very next available flight as opposed to having to be kept overnight.

    Lets suppose that there was no flight within a matter of hours? Then it is just tough! She broke the laws of the USA and so must pay the price which is namely that she was REFUSED ENTRY

    However I am not clear of exactly what has transpired here because it says she was deported! This could easily be a mis report of actually what happens. Though on account of her having been found out to have worked in the USA for four years perhaps she actually deported, which seems very reasonable anyway. What I am getting at here is that if you simply over stay and try re enter the USA and are then refused entry then YOU ARE NOT BEING DEPORTED you are being refused entry which involves being sent back to the country from where you came on the flight. It is a far more serious thing to actually be deported as opposed to merely denied entry.

    In either case this woman has little to complain about and | would suggest that the reason why this is a news story is because the days when Irish people over stay in the USA in big numbers are long gone, so it is novel. Naturally the media to take some interest.

    Now to the second case which seems a bit confusing? So some nationals from Brazil are refused entry to this country? No big deal there, probably there are dozens of reasons why they would be refused entry.

    Lets start with insufficient funds to maintain themselves during their stay plus lets say they did not provide or have with them documentary evidence to support their story regardless of what that is,was etc etc. In other words from time to time this is not very rare and these things happen.

    What seems unfair here or harsh [but i guess there are few practical alternatives at the moment] is the idea that they need to be kept in mountjoy for the time reported. But maybe this had something to do with there being no available flights to Brazil fast enough? You will note the the report says that the students have since returned to Portugal! Which seems to suggest at second reading that the Irish had sent them back to Brazil
    first? That would make sense of the time delay?

    It is also worth noting that there are quite alot of Brazilians working in Ireland and who really believes they all have legit work permits etc? I dont anymore, than I would believe the huge amount of Chinese workers are anything like all working legit and have the correct permits to be working here. It is crucial that nobody blames the foreign nationals for this state of affairs but rather Irish people and Irish society for turning a blind eye to the whole immigration farce. Foreigners are not to be blamed for a lack of action by the Irish state agencies and a more critical public.

    The moral of the story is that people should be very careful when entering countries that have visa waiver programs and when entering countries generally! Like you might be grated a visa to visit, x, y or z but at the end of the day an immigration officer can just refuse you entry anyway. I don’t think any foreign national should then have some sort of right to object to this. It is just tough! I may not like the experience of such a thing myself but I accept that another country has every right to refuse me entry and of course if any country was doing this in too great a numbers then people would stop doing business with it on many levels.


    One might ask also why on earth the case of the woman seeking asylum made not only news in Ireland, but prime time news, after all it is by no means original or new, in fact there are thousands of asylum cases in Ireland yet some are more media worthy than others, just so long as a sensational [cock and bull story more like] angle can be played up and made use of. [Female genital mutilation which happens in the Muslim part of Nigeria as opposed to the Christian part.

    It does not take a genius to see that this woman could return without a care in the world, [as regards the whole mutilation smoke screen,] to any of the other parts of Nigeria and live happily ever after without ever being a burden on this state and having not used up any more of the services of the state anymore, of course the resources and time wasted already can not be got back but they thats the crazy system we have in Ireland where we give foreign nationals all sorts of rights which I would argue are totally unnecessary.

    What pisses me off about the whole immigration and in particular asylum farce is that I personally have no problem with helping genuine refugees when the situation arises from a real and immediate event and the whole thing is legit. Sadly though this whole asylum racket has tarnished the concept and now it is impossible to have much reason to believe in the whole Asylum lark.

  2. Mizlarko

    At least someone talking sense and putting context into a story and trying to take emotion out of it.

    Also incredible that the result of Ireland exercising its own national sovvereignity is bomb threats! I cannot believe that. It is incredible!

  3. P O'Neill

    I’m more wary of pairing the two stories and concluding that the Donegal woman has no complaint. Relative to the Brazilians, perhaps not. But the process of being denied entry and returned home is not pleasant. She said she was treated like a criminal. In fact the person has no rights at all. She’s lucky she got the phone call. Since one hasn’t formally entered the US at that stage, they can do whatever they want — not least refuse to hear any possibility that they might have made a mistake (which they do). Nevertheless I take the point that showing up on spec knowing her history was probably not a good idea. Meet the friends in Canada the next time.

  4. Joe

    Doesn’t Dublin airport gives passengers the opportunity to “pre-clear” US immigration?

    The Donegal woman should have used this facility considering she must have known there was a chance that she would be denied entry.

  5. V

    Shows what kind of ignorant animals work in Immigration.

  6. Joseph

    “Shows what kind of ignorant animals work in Immigration.”

    Very strange comment indeed! The immigration officers do their jobs and your not happy? Tough! It is like complaining about the Garda stopping traffic and catching people without their license or such like.

    The lady from Donegal has a brass neck to complain at all. She breaks the laws of the USA and work illegally for 4 years and she gets caught when she tries it on again? No it is not nice on a human level but laws are made for the general good.

    How many hundreds of thousands of people pass through immigration with no problems? By its very nature it is a tough job and somebody has got to it. They have to make judgment calls and sometimes they may have got it wrong but then that is down to the person/s trying to get in without full documentary evidence of their story/case

  7. Sarah Post author

    Immigration in Dublin is done depending on the flight – so NY and Boston flights might be cleared in Dublin but I know that SFO isn’t. Chicago may not be either.

    My point is: being turned back from the US is no doubt an extremely upsetting experience, but she was held overnight and flown back the next day (presumably on the first flight). She knew in advance what the rules were and was willing to take the risk. She had broken the rules and paid the price.

    The Brazillian guys were guilty of nothing and were put in jail – Mountjoy! for two days.

    The second story is news. The first is a moan.

  8. peter_wolf

    Actually Sarah you don’t seem to understand the way immigration MUST FUNCTION and the story of the Brazilians is also a non story too.

    Here is the deal. You assert that the Brazilian guys were guilty of nothing? Really? How do you know? what do you mean by guilty? Surely you can see that it is not a case of innocence or guilt. Rather it is a question of the immigration people not being convinced that these people should be allowed into the state.

    As I said there are countless reasons for this and yes it is most unfortunate on a human level but if you first accept that not everyone will get through immigration all the time for various reasons.We then only have to deal with the issue of what to do with people who are not allowed entry into the state.

    Ideally the simple solution is to send people back on the next available flight from whence they came. Ok well so what happens if there is no flight back for a couple of days? By the very nature of this sort if issue, it is hardly possible to put people into a hotel and let them have freedom of movement. No sadly people must and are sometimes detained and where might we detain them? Well apparently in a prison nearest to the Airport? I would imagine that these people who are detained ARE NOT MIXED WITH THE REGULAR PRISON POPULATION? IF so then I would agree that it wrong and very odd indeed.

    The bottom line is that we do not actually know what actually were the details of why these students were refused. What we can do is ask the following question: How many Brazilians passed through immigration with no problems and how many people do immigration refuse every month?

    This is I bet an isolated case, and as unfortunate as it is that such things happen, it is probably unavoidable from time to time. What is the alternative? My guess is that there was no readily available flight for these Brazilians and that is why they were kept for that length of time.

    To my mind none of these was really a story at all.

  9. Sarah Post author

    look, its a question of sympathy. We are expected to have sympathy with the outrageous treatment afforded Ms Greene when she had a record of illegal behaviour. We are expected to be astonished that the Brazillians would be so pissed off that three students are flung in jail for the 48 hours when they had no such record. Ms Greene DID lie to immigration authorities. The students didn’t. I know where my sympathies lie.

  10. Dan Sullivan

    Surely some facility should exist at this stage in Dublin Airport for detaining people until an outbound flight is available. Mountjoy is completely inappropriate, don’t we have actual criminals who have been convicted of crimes to put in there?

  11. V

    You are obviously a Caucasian pale Irish person who drives carefully and has pleasant dreams of Ireland’s unfortunate poor gatekeepers trying their best to keep out the hordes of savages. You will never get f****d by them so why would you have any cause to worry about what happens to anyone else. Judging by the responses to the other posts, you are not alone. The rest of the world is starting to see what a mess of a place Ireland is and that should cause a rethink, but no, as ever, the Irish show how thick they are.

    They can’t move luggage around the place properly, how anyone can do anything more complicated than take a piss at Dublin Airport is beyond me.

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