Monday, January 30, 2017

Travel and visas anyone? Musing on security

Joy and Ruby are going to Manila to try to process her papers to study in Canada. School starts in August so there is plenty of time, but these things take time.

Joy wants to go with her, but we don't know if they will allow family or if she will be able to get a visa in time. They both have passports (Ruby had one because she won two student competitions that sent her to Japan as a prize, and Joy went with Ruby to Japan once, and also recently went to Dubai for an agri export fair). So getting the paper work is not new for them.

An alternative is for me to go with her, since I don't need venting for a visa being a US citizen. However, once we arrive she will probably be whisked off to the school, leaving me alone. On the other hand, I need a vacation... and of course could just fly to Pennsylvania or Florida on a later flight to visit family. The problem: money. Sigh.

When one travels from the Philippines, you have to go through a strict check of you and your luggage... including checking if you have fruit etc. I remember intervening with one poor Japanese who was visiting his fiance who couldn't understand the Japanese translator... turns out he was from Bolivia. I spotted the passport and offered to translate for him (I speak South American Spanish, not well, but enough to clear things up for him).

despite all the security (you are checked three times), no one really trusts it.

One of our cousin's daughters worked as a stewardess and told me a couple years ago that US planes don't park overnight in Manila because of security problems. They take off and park in nearby Taiwan.

Similarly, when you change planes in Japan, they re-screen you and your luggage which is a bit of a hassle, but again they don't trust the Philippines. There has been at least one bomb placed on a plane here.

No, the airport here screens you well, but it would only take a bribe to bypass security.  And this works with incoming passengers, where you have to go through security similar to that in the USA.

However: There was a big scam here where people would "find" something in your luggage (usually a bullet) and take you aside and threaten you with arrest. Locals know what they actually want is a "gift", but some foreigners and honest folk refused and ended up in jail.

People in the US are spoiled, since border security is minimal and you don't need papers to travel from state to state. The US passport makes it easy to travel most places, often you don't even need to get a visa before leaving. But for countries where you do need a visa, the airlines check your papers before  your board. A lot of countries also check you have a return ticket with you, just in case.

Do the new passports have fingerprint etc? My older one does not, although I do have it on my Oklahoma driver's license and on my local residency card. Here in the Philippines you need photo ID for a lot of things-- even schoolkids wear them-- so I carry my residency card instead of my passport.

We have security guards all over the place, often carrying shotguns. The bank has two, one inside to unlock the door, and one outside who mainly helps old folks figure out how to use the ATM machine and help people back their cars out of the parking lot.

There are copes and agri inspectors outside the Palenke, but to get inside the mall you get frisked and wanded and your backpack/purse inspected.

A lot of shops have their own security guards: one guarding a local pharmacy near here shot a thief when Lolo and I were near the palenke shopping. He missed the thief but the girlfriend was killed. I checked to see if anyone needed help, but she was dead. Sigh...No one was charged...

 And politicians need security guards. Are they trained? Who knows... one of my husband's classmate's husband, a former general, used to run a school to train security guards in the Visayas, so many probably are. And they are all over the place.. The mayor, for example, always has one or two, with good reason since there have been two hits on his family, the first one killing our nephew as a bystander and the second at a restaurant on the way home from our cousin's funeral where three bystanders were killed.

So when you read all those stories about murders here, remember they are nothing new. Except this time the bad guys are the target. Unless of course they are targeted by the cops who want a bribe. But Duterte is working on that too...

If it bleeds it leads, and knowing the press is exaggerating what the US press writing about what is going here makes me skeptical about news from the USA against Trumpie boy.

The kerfluffle in the US over immigration is in the headlines: a couple dozen folks stopped, and some with proper papers already left go, and the green card part has been clarified. But never mind. HUMAN RIGHTS! Close the airports with our demonstrations!

On the other hand, it is countries, not religion, that are being targeted, in order to get better venting of travelers.

Hmm... wonder if Bush should have done this after 911 instead of letting all those Saudis be airlifted home.

Excuse my cynicism:

lots of people are stopped at US customs for further screening, including my son, who answered the questions wrong. (he was screened as a non citizen, whereas my other son and I had US passports)... I had to go and rescue him from detention. Half a dozen folks were there with us, so it's not like these things never happen.
So what is going on with immigration? Who do you believe nowadays?

 Ann Althouse (libertarian) links to an article who points out that Trump is merely following a law that had been proposed by Obama but never implemented.

"The public should be suspicious of Trump’s policies and the media should speak truth to power and demand answers from the administration.""But the media should also be truthful with the public and instead of claiming Trump singled out seven countries, it should note that the US Congress and Obama’s Department of Homeland Security had singled out these countries. It should have told us about the Terrorist Travel Prevention Act of 2015 rather than pretend this list was invented in 2017. Trump’s executive order said 'countries of concern,' it didn’t make a list. That list was already made, last year and years before."Writes Seth J. Frantzman.
ADDED: If you are horrified by what you see Trump doing, is it because when Obama did things like that you just didn't see? Or did everything look different because it was Obama doing them?
addendum: The ban is only for 90 days, not forever. Do any of the MSM reports note that?


No comments: