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[personal profile] martin_wisse

Stories like this, of a Devon woman who became ill when on holiday in the US, had to go to hospital and her two daughters who were on holiday with her where sent to an orphanage and strip searched:

The family flew out to New York on 27 December. When Ms Bray began coughing later that day, she initially put it down to her asthma and the air conditioning on the flight.

The following night, she became more unwell with laboured breathing and was admitted to the Queen's Medical Centre in Harlem.

But Ms Bray was told her daughters could not stay with her at the hospital as they were minors.

"A doctor told me they would make the arrangements, then a few hours later a social worker arrived and said they'd try to find a foster family for the girls," she said.

"Instead of that they were taken to a orphanage and subjected to the kind of treatment you wouldn't even expect criminals to go through."

The frightened teenagers had their clothes, including their underwear, removed and were issued with a uniform of T-shirt and jeans before being spilt up and given a medical examination.

It's the automatic assumption that anybody foreign who comes into contact with the authoritians, no matter which authorities has to be a criminal and has no human rights while in the US. Even though the odds are small something like that would happen to me (after all, my parents managed to get in and out of Seattle with no problems last year), but the risks are too great. At best, it would be a humiliating, expensive experience, at worst a one way trip to Guantanamo.

And no, even after Bush is finally gone I won't chance it; this attitude is too ingrained in the US mentality to disappear with him. In thirty years maybe.

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martin_wisse

April 2009

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