Tuesday, March 14, 2017

More Reasons To Boycott U.S Travel

I have no regrets about my recent decision to boycott travel to the United States as long as the Trump regime, dominated as it is by paranoid exclusions and hate-mongering policies, continues in office. An item on last night's NBC News amply demonstrates that for some people, border crossings are becoming risks not worth taking.

Two American citizens encountered quite a bit of land turbulence upon returning from visits to Canada:
When Buffalo, New York couple Akram Shibly and Kelly McCormick returned to the U.S. from a trip to Toronto on Jan. 1, 2017, U.S. Customs & Border Protection officers held them for two hours, took their cellphones and demanded their passwords.

"It just felt like a gross violation of our rights," said Shibly, a 23-year-old filmmaker born and raised in New York. But he and McCormick complied, and their phones were searched.
But the story doesn't end there:
Three days later, they returned from another trip to Canada and were stopped again by CBP.

"One of the officers calls out to me and says, 'Hey, give me your phone,'" recalled Shibly. "And I said, 'No, because I already went through this.'"

The officer asked a second time..

Within seconds, he was surrounded: one man held his legs, another squeezed his throat from behind. A third reached into his pocket, pulling out his phone. McCormick watched her boyfriend's face turn red as the officer's chokehold tightened.

Then they asked McCormick for her phone.

"I was not about to get tackled," she said. She handed it over.

This kind of racial profiling and 'lawful' seizure of telephones should give all of us pause; any Canadians travelling to the U.S. are its potential victims, although clearly, if you are white and have a non-Arabic name, your chances of passing through unmolested are greater. But I come back to a fundamental question that prompted me to start my personal travel boycott: Do we really want to patronize a country that once welcomed foreigners but now stigmatizes, bullies and excludes them?

Finally, it is worth noting that Girl Guides of Canada has decided to cancel trips to the U.S.
"While the United States is a frequent destination for Guiding trips, the ability of all our members to equally enter this country is currently uncertain," international commissioner Sharron Callahan and director of provincial operations Holly Thompson wrote in a joint advisory issued Monday afternoon.

"This includes both trips that are over or under 72 hours and any travel that includes a connecting flight through an American airport," the advisory says.

The statement does not directly mention — but appears to be a reaction to — the executive orders U. S. President Donald Trump has signed restricting travel to the United States.
This decision comes amidst many other groups and Canadian school boards contemplating trip cancellations for the same reason.

The American love of money is well-known. It seems only logical that they should now learn via commercial interdiction the price to be paid for choosing a racist, paranoid demagogue as their president. Many of them may love the Trump message, but worldwide, far more do not.


  1. I think a travel boycott will prove to be a valid economic tool against the policies of the current American administration.

    1. At least it is a tool readily available to all contemplating discretionary travel to the U.S., Riley's sister.

  2. We used to go to New York several times a year. It's a city I love. Needless to say while Trump is president we will not be travelling there. In fact we will be boycotting all travel to the U.S.

    With the dictatorial "executive orders" now put in place by Trump, emotionally, I have no desire to travel to the States.
    I think you're going to see more police state tactics practiced domestically and toward anyone travelling to the U.S.

    I find it incredible that they're allowed to search through your computer and phone. If I'm not mistaken though Canadian border guards are allowed to do the same.

    We are losing more and more of our privacy rights, especially in the US, a sure sign of tyranny taking hold.

    1. While I think you are right about our border services having the same right, Pamela, it seems that the U.S. is now using it without any kind of restraint.

      While it is true that New York and many other American venues have traditionally offered an array of fascinations, those are, for the time being at least, horribly blighted as the U.S. falls unmistakably into authoritarianism.

  3. When I lived in Niagara Falls, we used to hit the US bars every weekend because it was cheaper. The Canadian bars catered to Americans too young to drink in the US but legal in Canada. We barely noticed the border crossing. You just flashed a drivers licence, said you were going drinking and the border guards would wish you a good time.

    But since 9/11, crossing the border has been a crap shoot, and I now avoid it whenever possible. In fact, the two incidents you describe above happened before Trump took office, and they perfectly reflect the post-9/11 reality of invasive, bullying border guards.

    Trump, however, has taken what was left of a leash off the TSA, CBP, ICE and the other security organizations. The result has been a big drop in tourism which has already cost American businesses an estimated $185m in lost revenue. Searches for US destinations on travel websites are down internationally, with declines of over 50% reported for some destinations. Ironically, searches from Russia are up almost 90% since Trump's election.

    Let the Russians have at it. I won't be going to the US for anything but business.


    1. You are far from alone in your sentiments, Cap. And thanks for the link to The Guardian article.