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Oh, yuck
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Via Will Shetterly, I just read a New York Times article that's one of the most personally freaky items I've seen lately: Music Scholar Barred From US, But No One Will Tell Her Why (just click "skip" to bypass the ad and read the article). Nalini Ghuman is a Welsh-born British musicologist who's lived in the US for 10 years, is engaged to an American, and is an assistant professor at Mills College.
Ms. Ghuman’s descent into the bureaucratic netherworld began on Aug. 8, 2006, when she and Mr. Flight [her fiancé] returned to San Francisco from a research trip to Britain. Armed immigration officers met them at the airplane door and escorted Ms. Ghuman away.

In a written account of the next eight hours that she prepared for her lawyer, Ms. Ghuman said that officers tore up her H-1B visa, which was valid through May 2008, defaced her British passport, and seemed suspicious of everything from her music cassettes to the fact that she had listed Welsh as a language she speaks...

Held incommunicado in a room in the airport, she was groped during a body search, she said, and was warned that if she moved, she would be considered to be attacking her armed female searcher...

Outside, Mr. Flight made frantic calls for help. He said the British Consulate tried to get through to the immigration officials in charge, to no avail. And Ms. Ghuman said her demands to speak to the British consul were rebuffed.

“They told me I was nobody, I was nowhere and I had no rights,” she said. “For the first time, I understood what the deprivation of liberty means.”

Read the full article.

She still doesn't know what the charges against her are, she still hasn't been allowed back into the US, and the American Musicological Society (of which I was a member, back when I lived in the US) is running a protest campaign.

This isn't the worst case I've heard of in the past few years, by a long shot, but it's probably the one that strikes closest to home for me because of my academic and personal background.


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