Friday, December 4, 2015

                Traveling abroad?  Like hell...

It's my understanding that, come lately, when one enters another country the Customs agents, when they run a check on a prospective visitor, are able to access arrest records, even dating back decades.
And that, often, if one has any past convictions, even for misdemeanor offenses, they stand to be denied entry into said country.

There are stories of people being "turned away" on account of a single conviction of (for example) "shoplifting" or "assault" dating back to the 70s or 80s or ten years ago.

While I understand that Customs officials are also authority figures, and that the purpose of authority is to control people and force the laws of the land down their throats no matter how irrational and illogical some of those laws may be, it still seems a bit too extreme to be this clinically persnickety, especially in such a contemptuous manner.

What's needed is some kind of international legal decree comprising specific clauses which would forbid the use of a person's past criminal offense for minor crimes as an "official reason" for refusing entry into any country, provided there's been at least ten years since the last offense, there have been no felony convictions, and the officials are reasonably convinced there are no signs of potential recidivism on the part of the individual-in-question.

A "conditional pardon", so to say, in which a criminal past is still known to authorities, but in which the consequences of such are suspended on condition the person-in-question does not engage in any illicit, questionable, or unethical behaviors while in the host country.

In my opinion that would make more sense and be more equitable
...but don't expect any changes in either laws or attitudes.
Bigotry and dogma have always been, and still are, the rule.  And the authorities are, essentially, the "protectors of the system" ...whatever it may be at the time.

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