I have just heard from my friend MK to tell me that he's been deported from the US. I have no further information than that other than that I assume he's ok, given they've deported him to Britain rather than some country where it would be problematic for him to be.
But argh. He was over there doing some research with collaborators at Cleveland and poses the least threat to national security anyone could possibly imagine. But deported?! This is the first time that the spectre of American security paranoia has touched me directly, and I'm really quite shocked.
In less melodramatic news, I now have Gmail invites, so if anyone wants, give me a shout; first come, first served. Bear in mind that at some stage in the proceedings I'll need an email address I can send them to.. All gone now!
I've heard of far worse cases; at least this one is merely ridiculous. But this is the first time it's happened to someone I know. When I hear a news story or an internet rumour about some abuse by the US immigration people, it's counterbalanced by American friends telling me that I shouldn't be so ready to believe anti-American propaganda.
And yes, I have no doubt it was a technical bureaucratic problem; I really can't see MK actually doing anything illegal, but I can see him not being bothered with every last detail of required paperwork.
Yeah, if you want stories about idiot visa officials, I've got one. Before I can have a visa to permit me to enter the US, they want proof that Will is planning to live there - in the form of a lease agreement - quite how he's supposed to sign a long-term lease without his new wife there is, apparently, not considered.
If there's still an invite available, I would like (I believe you know my email address... ;) I know I said I signed up to a site that gives you invites, but that might take a while - and this way I can still share the love by giving invites to people on the site!
There's nothing really to report; MK is fine, (apart from being annoyed that he can't complete his research project). He says: with hindsight it was rather amusing. But thanks for your concern.
As for Gmail, there's no need to apologize; it's no skin off my nose if you don't want an account! My attitude is that any email is basically insecure and I'd rather have an insecure email account that is also convenient. *shrug*
Are you sure he wasn't deported because of visa issues, rather than because of security paranoia? The boyfriend of a guy in my choir is an Australian who was deported to Canada, and Australians undoubtedly are not going to be deported on account of security risks. And isn't MK a German national? (And also, what about the fact that he's married to someone English?) Something's really quite weird about the whole situation, IMO. But do give M my regards and sympathy and apologies for my country's idiocy.
Are you sure he wasn't deported because of visa issues, rather than because of security paranoia? Sure, the reason for the deportation was a visa technicality. But it's security paranoia that means that MK got deported rather than given a stern ticking off for a slight hitch in paperwork. And it's security paranoia that meant that he wasn't allowed to contact his American collaborators to get stuff sorted out, and complete the visa application on the spot. Not to mention the security paranoia which meant that if he chose to contest the deportation, he'd have to be in prison while the appeal was processed. Finally, though this is unrelated, it's security paranoia that meant that the fruits of three months of MK's work were held in customs for a week because they looked vaguely biological, leading to the destruction of his samples and no improvement in security.
And yes, MK is a German national married to a British national and (for a few more weeks at least) domiciled in the UK. I guess the problem may be partly that he doesn't 'look' European.