Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The state of a strange land

The story posted on Shakesville about a New Zealander who was deported from LAX has been getting some attention among New Zealand bloggers. It's a powerful tale:

I was taken to another room and given another search. This one (thankfully) did not put her hands anywhere near my groin, just my legs, arms and torso. And my shoes.

I was then taken back out to the main reception area, given a paper bag, and told to put all my valuables into it. Including my $2 mood ring, my $3 watch, and... my bootlaces. And anything else I was carrying of value - my wallet, my MP3 player, and the water and food that I had been given by the officers at LAX.

I didn't know why I had to put the bootlaces in the bag. I think that if I had asked, I would have been told that it was "for my safety". However, since I was only able to shuffle slowly around, I believe that it was a ploy to dehumanise the detainees further.

I recommend you read the whole thing.

But I want to point out that New Zealand has its own degrading, dehumanising, racist immigration system. I've watched a woman about to be deported saying goodbye to her boyfriend in a prison visiting room. For pacific island women visas can be contingent on negative pregnancy tests. If you were detained in a New Zealand prison prior to deportation (and people are) - the cold, the strip search, the lack of access to medication, the constant dehumanisation would be the same.


  1. Thanks for this, I'm pleased bekitty's story is getting widely read, just as I respect her for saying, over and over, "this is also a story about how privileged I am".

    I don't know anything about the immigration process to NZ. I am not surprised at all to hear that it can be rough here too. I wonder if there's something inherent in border policing that makes it likely to produce inhuman treatment of people? The intersection of lack of citizens-rights, the presence of massive power disparity, and the rhetoric of national defense? I dunno. It's horrific nonetheless.

  2. this looks interesting...ill read this further...i was really looking at new zealand as my target destination next year