Ed O'Neill responds:
>>Mr. Wigger writes:
>>[...] Panahi is demonstrating
>> supreme arrogance to suggest he should be exempt from the laws.
>Actually, by detaining Mr. Panahi on no grounds whatever--other than his
>national origin--by depriving him of legal counsel, by trying to obtain
>cooperation from him by means of force, it is the INS who fail to conduct
>themselves in a means consistent not just with civil liberties granted both
>to U.S. citizens and non-citizens but also with a sense of fairness and
>justice which is not limited to narrow legalistic appeals to technical rules
Your argument strays substantially from the one made by Mr. Panahi.
1. Mr. Panahi neither asserts nor suggests that he was detained solely
by reason of his national origin.
He makes very clear that he was detained because he refused outright
to comply with the regulations of U.S. Immigration.
2. Mr. Panahi neither asserts nor suggests that he was deprived of legal
Mr. Panahi neither asserts nor suggests that he requested legal counsel.
He says he requested a phone call -- and says that when that request was
granted he used it to call a film professor to speak on his behalf, and
to act as or to acquire the services of an attorney.
3. Mr. Panahi neither asserts nor suggests that Immigration officers tried
obtain anything by force.
He says he refused to comply with INS regulations (i.e., the law); was
informed of the consequences of such refusal (i.e., jail); and then upon
insistent refusal, met with such consequences.
He concedes that at a later point his photo was taken, but neither
nor suggests that he was subjected to force, reasonable or excessive.
>In a subsequent comment, Ms. Rosenblum acts as if Mr. Panahi did not have
>his papers in order. According to his report, he did.
You are mistaken. His report says that the staff of the film festivals
"assured" him there was no need for a "transit visa" and that he
got the same information from United Airlines personnel at the Hong
Kong airport. His words:
>Further to my requests, the staff of all the said Festivals
>already checked if a transit visa is required and they
>me there is no need for such visa and moreover, the airliner
>issued me the ticket visa NY. But, I myself did ask the
>Airlines staff for the need for a transit visa at Hong Kong
>and I heard the same response.
He thus makes patent that he did not have such a visa because he
believed that it was not necessary.
Apparently, though, it was.
>Is the INS not required to abide by their own procedures?
According to Mr. Panahi's own story, the INS *was* abiding by their
It was he who was in violation both of the regulations for landing and the
>Or does having a valid
>visa and passport merely constitute a precondition but not a guarantee of
>to touch down on American soil for a few hours?
Precisely right. Having a valid visa and passport does not guarantee
anyone the privilege of being welcomed on American soil. The final call --
this for our sake, truly -- is with the people on the ground -- INS: to deny
admission if they see fit. The U.S. State Department makes this explicit.
See their website.
Shari L. Rosenblum
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