U.S. Border Crossings Have Become Authoritarian Testing Grounds

Last week, my brother and his longterm girlfriend entered these United States at JFK international airport in New York City. She’s a Chinese citizen with a tourist (B1/B2 visa), which leads to many restrictions on when she’s allowed to enter and for how long. They are always meticulous about playing everything exactly by the book, and this time was no different. The only unusual thing about this latest episode is his girlfriend happened to encounter an authoritarian and power-tripping U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer, who pulled her into a room and immediately began berating her. He accused her of breaking the law (she hadn’t), and forced her to hand over her phone and divulge her password. After initially refusing to provide the password, the officer threatened deportation, at which point she relented. Entering the password for access to the phone wasn’t enough, he forced her to write it down

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