Homeland Security Stalks the New South Africa
By VIRGINIA TILLEY
Johannesburg, South Africa.
On Friday evening, October 20, a traveling academic confronted a regular ugly occurrence at JFK airport. He was stopped at immigration by Homeland Security, shuttled off without explanation into a stark waiting room, left there for six hours with no food or water with other similarly trapped travellers (including a little child who cried inconsolably), was asked a few template questions - "have you ever been a member of a terrorist organization?" - and finally was marched away by two armed officers and put on a plane back to South Africa, his 10-year visa summarily revoked. No explanation. By the time he realized what was afoot and called the South African embassy, at about 3 a.m., it was too late for them to do anything. He arrived back in South Africa tired, tousled, and very pissed off.
But, unusually, this visitor was in a position to make a serious stink about it. Within hours, the South African government's Department of Foreign Affairs was mobilized and the American Embassy was offering embarrassed apologies. Within days, the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) was also mobilized. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) called to ask if they could make his experience a test case.(Click to Read More)