Two television shows on border protection tonight, two very different perspectives. First was Channel 7’s Border Security, featuring quarantine and immigration officials at Australian airports. Full of hyperbole about keeping “undesirables” (food, drugs or people!) out of the country. Border Security is generally acknowledged as a guilty pleasure amongst my friends and colleagues.
Then there was tonight’s episode of Australian Story on the ABC. It featured the story of Daniel Meadows, a “vlogger” who fell in love with a US girl over the internet. He flew across to the United States to meet her, his very first trip out of the country, but was detained by US Department of Homeland Security on suspicion of terrorism and risk of overstaying. His crime was having a joke email, an FBI cap, no job and, according to the officials, no ties back home. He was deported back to Australia and placed on the Watch List.
That’s the sad fact about the immigration authorities. Amongst the various incoming visitors who wish to abuse the system there are also many with sad or unusual stories to tell. You hope that there is a level of compassion and understanding amongst officials that transcends the bureaucracy.