Nancy took this photo before she & my chauffeur left the U.S.A. for two weeks. Then Nancy took a selfie, with Jeffrey in a seahorse tie (symbolic: seahorse dads carry the babies). Jeffrey flies in ties because others fly in pajamas.
They travel light and fast. There was no room for me. And no need. They will tread quietly, as guests, to see and to learn. Not like on the Rides, when our goal is to see and to learn . . . and to be seen and to teach.
At month’s end, I hope Jeffrey will be allowed to come home.
“What!?” you ask. “Why is that in question!?”
Because, Dear Reader, our America the Brave has become America the Fearful.
Jeffrey is a New York lawyer, duty-bound to protect his clients’ secrets.
Like most Americans, Jeffrey carries a password-protected mobile phone. It contains slices of the lives of Jeffrey and his clients.
Jeffrey may not, without his clients’ permission or a court order, disclose to third parties the texts, emails, documents, calendar entries, and other particulars of his clients’ lives, that reside on Jeffrey’s phone.
Empowered and encouraged by White House edicts, supplied with guns and jails, U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP) agents have begun to demand — allegedly for our protection — mobile phone and social media passwords from many of the people arriving at U.S. borders. They seize phones and upload data. They “detain” even U.S. citizens until the passwords are divulged.
America is beginning to look like a barnyard of sheep led by chickens.
Jeffrey posts on social media only to promote the Rides. He has nothing subversive to hide. So why resist?
Because the protections of our Constitution weaken if they’re not observed.
Jeffrey concedes the right of CBP to search for contraband at the border. He acknowledges that foreigners’ rights at the border are limited.
But Jeffrey is a citizen of the United States. He has the right — not the privilege, but the right — to enter our country. He does not accept CBP’s claim of right to read the contents of a U.S. citizen’s phone. He declines to give to government agents the password to his phone or to this blog.
Citizenship aside, the client secrets on Jeffrey’s phone are not his to divulge. If CBP demands access to those secrets, Jeffrey will decline to provide it, the same as if CBP demanded to copy a client’s papers.
Benjamin Franklin said that he and his colleagues had created “a Republic — if you can keep it.” Like you, Jeffrey is determined to keep it.
Jeffrey’s determination never has been tested. Not really. He was bruised and his suit torn when he peacefully refused to obey an illegal order of an unarmed immigration court rent-a-cop in Manhattan. He resigned from the New Jersey bar rather than obey the unethical order of a judge who threatened Jeffrey with a fine or jail. These were little low-risk pushbacks. In contrast, his asylum clients from around the world have stood up for principle in the face of death.
Chances are my soft spoiled native American chauffeur won’t be tested this time either. People who look like Jeffrey — and like Mem Fox, a 70 year old Australian children’s author who recently made her 117th visit to the United States — generally pass under CBP radar.
I expect that Jeffrey and Nancy will return home without incident on March 31.
Yet if Jeffrey is detained, now you will know why.
Then — please — scream bloody murder!
As we should be screaming to Congress and the White House about every American subjected to CBP’s privacy-violating citizen-bullying unAmerican demands.