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Old 02-14-2020, 11:37 AM
rbroome is offline
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creating a new identity with Government help


While this is a hypothetical, I am looking for factual answers to the extent possible. Perhaps someone has gone through this and a reader here will be able to give an example. If the mods disagree, then of course off it goes to a happier place...


Let us say you are a non-US human with a normal life and background. For some reason your existence ticks off the current US administration and the US blacklists you-Jane Smith.

Your government is sympathetic and quite pissed at this attempt to infringe on their sovereignty. So they work with you to create a new identity for you-Plain Jane. New history, new biometric passport, new photos, new entries into your nation's databases, etc. Everything they can do to create a new you. Lets go further and say just to make a clean break you pay for minor plastic surgery to change the shape of your eyelids and chin so facial recognition is no longer 100%. The stress of all this has changed your hair color so now you are a distinguished grey.

Can Ms Jane now visit Disney World? If the US border control folks look at your passport, it is 100% valid and is 100% yours. Inquiries back to the home country will come back uniformally valid, Ms Jane has an official history. Ms Jane isn't on any lists.

Yes the US agents will be deeply suspicious and of course they may well decide to spoil your trip to Mickey's world, but is there any mechanism for them to legally or logically challenge Ms Jane's identity? Yes, the fingerprints and DNA would match that of Jane Smith. But according to the official records back where you were born, they match Ms Plain Jane. The US can check with the home country to be sure (assuming they would believe those sneaky foreigners). Would she be arrested? Would her bank accounts be closed? What would happen to her?
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Old 02-14-2020, 12:21 PM
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If the US figures it out, the change of identity would probably be pretty good evidence for espionage. Whether they would figure it out would likely depend on how motivated they are to do so, and what our own intelligence assets are like in Jane's country.

If they don't figure it out, then of course there won't be any consequences.
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Old 02-14-2020, 12:43 PM
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One is allowed to change one's name, as long as the alias is not used to commit fraud. I think using an alias to evade ICE would constitute fraud.
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Old 02-14-2020, 12:56 PM
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The Border Patrol can deny entry to anyone for any reason or none at all. Except US citizens and I'm not even sure about that.
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Old 02-14-2020, 01:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rbroome View Post
...US agents will be deeply suspicious and of course they may well decide to spoil your trip to Mickey's world, but is there any mechanism for them to legally or logically challenge Ms Jane's identity? Yes, the fingerprints and DNA would match that of Jane Smith. But according to the official records back where you were born, they match Ms Plain Jane. The US can check with the home country to be sure (assuming they would believe those sneaky foreigners). Would she be arrested? Would her bank accounts be closed? What would happen to her?
I think you're operating from a mistaken premise that non-citizens have some fundamental right of entry, and that there's some burden of proof for U.S. immigration to turn you away.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hari Seldon View Post
The Border Patrol can deny entry to anyone for any reason or none at all.
Exactly. Non-citizens have some subset of Constitutional rights after they have been granted entry. But U.S. immigration can turn a non-citizen away because they don't like the way you groom your moustache, and I don't think you have any legal recourse (a Green Card holder might have certain rights to review in front of a judge, I think). But in general, it's solely a policy/political/diplomatic issue if they turn away non-citizens for whatever seemingly inappropriate reason.

Last edited by Riemann; 02-14-2020 at 01:18 PM.
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Old 02-14-2020, 01:53 PM
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There's been warning about entering the USA from Canada (especially now that pot is legal here) that if the US border official asks "have you ever smoked marijuana?" and you answer "yes", then they can ban you (bar entry, make you jump through hoop to get permission to enter in future) from the USA for admitting to have done something considered a crime by the US government. There is currently a case under consideration by SCOTUS (Mercado-Ramirez) arguing that "crime involving moral turpitude" provision of US law for deportation is sufficiently broad, vague and arbitrary as to be unconstitutional.

But for the OP - if the CBP has no reason to question your identity, why would they? Passports however are machine readable, so the data must go into a database somewhere every time a passport is processed. I also wonder how much that data is shared with other countries? Can the US customs scan you passport and be informed by Britain or France that they also scanned the same passport 2 days ago? Think of it like a credit report - it's a load of data constantly accumulating. You enter the USA by air and if you are not a Canadian or Mexican (thanks to NAFTA) you are fingerprinted and photographed. If your data is on file from elsewhere, one presumes a match may eventually pop up. Etc.

Which makes me wonder how all those fake passports in the movies work nowadays. Maybe the CIA can create legit passports (or the government of any other country for their citizens) but would hand-made ones really fool the computer system? I present a fake US passport, surely CBP's scanners can immediately say "Hey! This one isn't in the State Department database!"
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Old 02-14-2020, 02:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Riemann View Post
Non-citizens have some subset of Constitutional rights after they have been granted entry. But U.S. immigration can turn a non-citizen away because they don't like the way you groom your moustache.
This quote should be thrown in the so simple it's useless pile, along with "You can sue anyone for anything," and "Your boss can fire you for wearing a pink shirt."


While border agents do enjoy broad discretion on permission to enter the United States, and non-citzen entrants do not have many rights, there are numerous publicly available as well as unwritten standards. Agents do have supervisors to whom they must justify any (exceedingly rare) denial.

The overwhelmingly vast majority of travelers are denied entry for the following reasons:
  • Having worked illegally in the USA
  • Nondisclosure of criminal record
  • Insufficient funds to support themselves
  • Health reasons
  • Suspected of having the intent to immigrate, or change status with the wrong type of visa

These reasons always recorded by CBP and the traveler is informed.

Other reasons may not be articulated in full, such as when the traveler is suspected of having terrorist ties, but even then they are given a pretextual reason, such as having suspicious apps on their phones.

So while you're not wrong, it's also not very helpful to talk about "grooming a mustache" in this context.
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Old 02-14-2020, 04:22 PM
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I am well aware that immigration doesn't need a reason to deny entry. That wasn't really my point. My question is whether immigration will have even a theoretical reason (again I understand the immigration doesn't need a reason. Everyone can be suspected of terrorist ties. Whether such an accusation is justified is another question) to deny Plain Jane entry. She has a valid passport. She IS Plain Jane now. With the documentation to prove it.
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Old 02-14-2020, 05:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pakputeh View Post
This quote should be thrown in the so simple it's useless pile, along with "You can sue anyone for anything," and "Your boss can fire you for wearing a pink shirt."
Sure, if in quoting me you clip out the part where I followed up the joke with some substantive comments.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pakputeh View Post
While border agents do enjoy broad discretion on permission to enter the United States, and non-citzen entrants do not have many rights, there are numerous publicly available as well as unwritten standards. Agents do have supervisors to whom they must justify any (exceedingly rare) denial.
In other words, precisely what I said in the part you clipped, when I noted that it's a policy/political/diplomatic issue rather than any kind of legal standard that they have to satisfy if they deny entry.

But feel free to continue vehemently agreeing with me.

Last edited by Riemann; 02-14-2020 at 05:29 PM.
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Old 02-15-2020, 02:11 AM
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Sorry, if there was a jab at humor there, one of us whiffed it.

At any rate, there IS a burden of proof which border agents must reach. So I don't know what's supposed to be funny about saying otherwise.

Again I apologize for missing the joke.
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Old 02-15-2020, 08:41 AM
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The Canadian news regularly has stories of people denied entry to the US for disclosing their criminal record, even if it was minor or long past. One news article mentioned a fellow in his 30's going to Disneyland with his wife and young child. He was denied entry because when he was 15 his mother called the police on his marijuana possession to teach him a lesson about drugs. Supposedly those records are sealed, but... And CBP has access to the Canadian police database, unlike with most other countries. One woman (in a wheelchair) was denied entry because a few years before she attempted suicide, and her name was in the database from the 911 call - she was deemed mentally unstable. After the last election, many groups started cancelling trips to the USA because CBP was arbitrarily denying entry to some brown people with Muslim names. (A school trip to Disneyworld had to be cancelled when one of the teacher chaperones was denied entry for no good reason) Several people going to Burning Man (red flag there!) were denied entry because they were asked if they had ever in their life smoke pot, and when they said yes, that was a crime enough to deny entry even without arrests or convictions in Canada. A CBP agent in Washington state was being fired for getting into a fight with a Canadian visitor in a shopping mall parking lot - at his arbitration, his claim to be an outstanding agent was backed up by his claim that he had denied entry to many more Canadians than any co-workers. A fellow working for the company I worked for was denied entry because he was drunk and rude to the CBP agent, so in his mid-50's on the way to a business conference in Washington DC he was denied entry based on "he looked like a wanted fugitive" and a juvenile car theft record. Cat Stevens (notable hit song "Peace Train") was allegedly on the no-fly list for a while for being a terrorist - either a confusion about his real Arabic name (If you believe the State Department) or because he contributed to Palestinian charities.

There isn't much "burden of proof" required. The standards are fairly open-ended. As I said, there's a SCOTUS case - to be decided I think in a few days - to decide whether the wording "crime of moral turpitude" is unconstitutionally vague, and that's been one of the main criteria for around a century.

But still - to get back to the OP - if the CBP scans you passport and it does not raise alarm bells, which it shouldn't, why would they look twice at you? I assume the problems would come if you attract the attention of law enforcement while in the country - if you are there to spy, for example, they will notice if/when you contact someone they are watching, or use a communication channel they are watching, or if US intelligence in your source country raises flags. Plus, all visitors need to fill out visitor information questionnaires which might reveal something odd. Also, many "people of interest" are identified by name and date of birth. I presume a false identity would change these - since I've read bout more than one person where these matched a know felon or fugitive. They eventually have to carry around a letter from the police to avoid frequent trips to the station after traffic stops. And finally, to repeat - if you are not from Mexico or Canada, you will be fingerprinted on entry by air (and photographed). They've been doing this since not long after 9-11. I don't know how deeply this data is processed, but if you are persona no grata in the USA from before, odds are they have your fingerprints on file. I presume non-Canadians driving across the Canadian border into the USA get an extra level of scrutiny.
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Old 02-15-2020, 09:11 AM
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There's a huge article on the legal challenges to Trump blacklisting various countries, here:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legal_...ngton_v._Trump

It appears that some legal challenges relate to the basis of the extent of presidential executive power, which is not really relevant to the OP. But some seem to be based on Establishment Clause arguments. In the Constitutional Challenges section:

Quote:
....the Supreme Court has held that immigrants—including non-citizens and permanent residents—have rights to due process and equal protection, but only if they are physically present in the United States.[42] This is one reason why several court orders gave relief only to individuals in the U.S. at the time of the court ruling...
but

Quote:
...an Establishment Clause theory "may be the most important of the constitutional theories involved in this case because it may have the broadest scope," applying even to persons not already in the United States...
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Old 02-16-2020, 10:33 AM
rbroome is offline
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Thanks for the comments.
I guess the real point of my question is the reason for my difficulty in articulating it well. The question of how easy it is to deny entry to someone attempting to enter the US is central to my question but wasn't my intent.

What I was really thinking of, and this idea doesn't belong in GQ, is whether you are who you are or are you who you were? The individual standing before the immigration officer is Plain Jane but was Jane Smith. We have already determined that the decision to grant or deny entry to this person may be based on any reason at all. My intent in asking my question is to ask whether this person can be denied entry because of whatever ticked off the US Government regarding Jane Smith. Certainly you or I can be held accountable for our prior actions because it can be proven we are the same person. Plain Jane can be shown to the same level of proof to be different from Jane Smith. It comes down to which is more conclusive for the purpose of Government action, the reality that Ms Smith and Ms Jane have the same body or the documentation that shows these two people are different. Now that I have more fully thought through my question, the mods can move this thread to a more appropriate topic-or just let it die a quite death.
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