Free Rick Giles

November 3rd, 2007 at 8:58 am by David Farrar

Some blog readers may know Rick Giles who has been blogging for a while.

Well he is currently in detention in the , and has been for over a month.   And what is this terrible crime has has been charged with?  He thought his visitor’s visa expired on 27th September (it was actually 20 September) and on the 26th as he was preparing to leave to Canada, he asked a cop for directions to the bus station.  The cop noted he was a couple of days overdue and arrested him.

Read the full story over at Solo. While Rick was of course wrong to have over stayed by a couple of days, it is mind bloggling to think one can end up in jail for weeks on end for this.  It also sounds like he is getting little consular support.

He still has no court date, hasn’t even been formally arrested, is just held in detention.  It sounds like he will be released and deported in a week or so – after six weeks detention.

This should be a wake up call for anyone visiting the US – be very very careful with your visa dates.  The consequences can be dire.

But it also reflects badly on the US – there has to be a better way to handle immigration than this.  I mean six weeks detention for a couple of days overdue – shocking.

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13 Responses to “Free Rick Giles”

  1. Camryn (553 comments) says:

    Now that I’m paying US taxes, I also can’t help but think it’s a massive waste of money. Six weeks detention isn’t cheap. Still, suppose Rick wasn’t intending to leave… there’s no way they can know that. There’s no point letting a 6 day overstayer go if you won’t catch them again for another 10 years. I think the answer is much faster deportation where possible e.g. if Rick had a visa or no visa requirement for Canada… dump him over the border and fageddaboutit.

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  2. MikeE (555 comments) says:

    Thanks for posting this David.

    I don’t believe that Rick has been officially arrested or charged with anything either. He was simply “taken into custody”

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  3. davemc (102 comments) says:

    Do you believe in obeying the law or not?

    I don’t see any sympathy for people who overstay in New Zealand. Not one tear of it. Especially from the people who are demanding the release of this lawbreaker.

    Reap what you sow.

    [DPF: I don't think in NZ overstayers who are happy to leave the country that day are held in detention for six weeks. The problem is the length of detention, not that he is deported]

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  4. scrubone (3,090 comments) says:

    It’s unfortunate that the US is let down by this sort of thing. There are too many stories of this sort, where ordinary people from friendly countries are locked up and terrorised.

    Then on the other hand you have illegals being given drivers licences.

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  5. MikeE (555 comments) says:

    He’d cocked up on his timetable, he was attempting to obey the law by leaving the country, anything otherwise and he wouldn’t have approaced a police officer to ask for directions.

    You’d thinkif the yanks were so hell bent on him leaving the country that they’d let him do just that, rather than hold him for a month wihtout charge, before potentially putting him on a plane and sending him half way across teh world at massive cost to the US taxpayer.

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  6. reid (16,213 comments) says:

    To many people this sort of action comes as no surprise: e.g.

    http://www.theage.com.au/news/news/unwelcome-tourists-avoid-the-us/2007/11/02/1193619101824.html

    Isn’t it an odd contrast however that while, both internally and at the Canadian border, security has tightened up considerably, the Mexican border has been extremely porous.

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  7. Bidsta (3 comments) says:

    I have great sympathy for Rick, and realise now how lucky I was to escape from a similar situation without being deported.

    In 1999, I overstayed by three weeks in the US, and was busted crossing the Canadian border by bus from North Dakota to Manitoba. The Americans were friendly enough when I got my exit stamp; the problems started when the Canadians wouldn’t let me in because I’d overstayed in the US and didn’t have an onward ticket or evidence of funds. I was very naiive at the time — I’d just been in Europe and thought that the US-Canada border would be like those in the EU.

    The Americans couldn’t let me back in, so they stuck me in the county jail in a tiny border town near Fargo and said they would probably deport me to NZ via Minneapolis. But they were nice enough about it, and gave the impression they’d really rather let me go to Canada if the Canadians would have me.

    Fortunately, I had some friends in Winnipeg who advocated on my behalf, so after four days and many phone calls, the Canadians agreed to give me another shot at crossing the border and the US Border Patrol dropped me down there. My friends in Winnipeg used my credit card no. to buy me a ticket out of Canada, and came down to the border to pick me up. I also had to leave a $1,000 CAN bond, and specifically check in with Canadian immigration when I left the country. Three months after I left Canada, they kindly sent my bond refund back to my NZ address — by which time I was in Guatemala.

    All this was of course prior to 9/11, so things were a little more relaxed. But I was still no more threat to the security or wellbeing of either country than Rick is now. The whole espisode was a frightening reminder of how one can basically become a non-citizen at the frontier — even of a developed and technically friendly nation. Forget how nice and harmless you or your home country are, if the ‘security’ bureaucracy decides you’re contravened the regulations, you have fewer rights than a hardened criminal.

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  8. hinamanu (2,352 comments) says:

    “It also sounds like he is getting little consular support.”

    When was the last time any Kiwi got consular help overseas.

    There was no support for Kiwis involved in the Bali bombings.

    Kiwi’s are always told they will not get help if they are caught victimised by terroist acts or war carnage. From what has been posted above it is obvious NZ embassies have no interest in Kiwi citizens innocently caught out by international red tape.

    The US is treating internationals as potential criminals at all points of entry which is a signal they are advocating a down turn of foreign visitation across the board.

    I will not be surprised to see them interferring in Australia’s plans to check incoming baggage once between countries by improved technology just announced to make travel convenient and more efficient for border controls. The US will never advocate this convenience and certainly will pressure Australia to drop it.

    Fortunately pro Bush Howard is heading to the end of his tenure.

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  9. checkthefacts (30 comments) says:

    Apparently it can be quite unpleasant dealing with the US govt agents even when one is invited to the country by a university and accompanied by a television crew to record, of all things, a Finnish musical group. The US has gone crazy. No wonder NZ Air has started avoiding stopovers in LA and going to Vancouver instead.

    http://freestudents.blogspot.com/2007/11/protecting-american-from-finnish.html

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  10. hinamanu (2,352 comments) says:

    “NZ Air has started avoiding stopovers in LA and going to Vancouver instead.”

    ANZ is thinning LA stop overs with no discouragement by US authorities.

    If this procedure continus as a phenomenon the US will be a fortress by the next decade. Perhaps no entering or leaving. Completely surrounded by a DMZ zone. International media will be cut off. Only authorised propaganda sound bites will be supplied to international media agencies which will only be fit for the waste basket. The US will be run by several coporations and international shipping will be severely restricted.

    The US will simply become a communist iron curtain.

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  11. MikeE (555 comments) says:

    I can confirm that Rick is now safely back in New Zelaand.

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  12. bob.jenkins (1 comment) says:

    I imagine his release was more likely due to his argument being so powerful they had to release him.

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  13. Nil Einne (20 comments) says:

    I think the mystery of why the US bothered to detain him when he was about to leave the country anyway is now explained (about 2.5 years later). Probably they asked him why he overstayed and he told them his argument was so powerful he didn’t need to talk about it. While this is never a good answer, it’s a particularly bad one when dealing with the authorities as I guess he found out…

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