An Icelandic Woman’s Recent Experience Visiting the US

A young blonde Icelandic woman's recent experience visiting the US — Signs of the Times News

“I was completely exhausted, tired and cold. Fourteen hours after I had landed I had something to eat and drink for the first time. I was given porridge and bread. But it did not help much. I was afraid and the attitude of all who handled me was abysmal to say the least. They did not speak to me as much as snap at me. Once again I asked to make a telephone call and this time the answer was positive. I was relieved but the relief was short-lived. For the telephone was setup for collect calls only and it was not possible to make overseas calls. The jailguard held my cell phone in his hand. I explained to him that I could not make a call from the jail telephone and asked to be allowed to make one call from my own phone. That was out of the question. I spent the next 9 hours in a small, dirty cell. The only thing in there was a narrow steel board which extended out from the wall, a sink and toilet. I wish I never experience again in my life the feeling of confinement and helplessness which I experienced there.”

Sad to read stuff like this.

Update: International Herald Tribune article on the case. Thanks, Daniel!

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11 Comments

  1. tinou says:

    that sucks. but i find the title of the article a little disturbing. “young blonde icelandic woman” — what, if it was a “old black haired Egyptian woman” it wouldn’t have been such a big deal?

  2. Anonymous says:

    Why is that bit about her apperance, race, age important enough to mention?

    Are there differing standards based on gender, ethic roots, or appearance?

  3. Thomas Hawk says:

    Tinou and Anonymous. I found the “young blonde” description a tad distasteful as well which is why I dropped those two descriptors from my own headline on the story.

    This would suck no matter who it was done to — and it shouldn’t be done to anyone. Blonde, beautiful and Icelandic or not.

  4. Robert Aitchison says:

    Umm, that appears to be a so-called “truther” web site, I really can’t trust anything on it to be correct.

  5. BWJones says:

    You should have seen what happened when I was coming back into the US a while ago when a German citizen next to me had a medical emergency on the plane. Around 2am over Cuba, the passenger next to me collapsed. I spent the next few minutes performing an initial medical workup and notified the pilot who asked me if I wanted to declare an in flight emergency. I responded “no, but have an ambulance waiting for us at the gate”. At the gate, we met with paramedics, but also a homeland security agent who needlessly held us up telling us that the passenger with the medical emergency still had to go through customs and that this passenger had to fill out all of the forms. I replied that the passenger “cannot even write out their goddamned name, how are they going to fill out the forms?”. Ultimately, I had to threaten to call 911 and say that a passenger with a medical emergency was being detained before they let us leave the gateway to go through customs where we were searched before I could get this passenger to a hospital. It was the most amazingly bad display of returning to my own country that I’d ever seen.

  6. drm says:

    This is really interesting, and tragic if it’s true, but as Robert said above, the source does call its veracity into question.

    A search of her name on Google news yields nothing.

    I’m not saying it’s fabricated (I wouldn’t put it past my country these days…), but there are some details that seem questionable – she’s been to the country only a couple times, and can’t see out of the vehicle, but somehow “knows” she’s being taken to New Jersey? She was taken to ‘jail’, but never mentions which one? ‘I spent the next 9 hours in a small, dirty cell’? (Solitary confinement is usually reserved for suicidal or violent inmates – I would expect a cell block, if anything.)

  7. drm says:

    I stand corrected. The post had misspelled her name (which should hardly be surprising).

    Erla Ósk Arnardóttir Lillendahl. Her blog, and a news story from International Herald Tribune, via Google.

  8. paul says:

    I really hope this is not true. Is our government really detaining people simply because they spent a few extra weeks here 13 years ago? I wonder if there is more to this story?

    One thing that sounded suspicious to me is she was supposedly served “porridge and bread” in jail. Does our government serve people porridge? Who eats porridge in the US?

  9. Eric in SF says:

    Oatmeal and Cream of Wheat are both called “Porridge” outside of the USA.

  10. Todd says:

    Of course it matters that is was a young blond woman. If not, the story has no chance of making big news here in the states.

    Just look at all the press the disappearance Natalie Holloway gets from CNN.

    It’s sad, but in this country, if you’re ugly, you’re screwed and not a story.

    I’m exaggerating, but only a little.

  11. TranceMist says:

    I travel a lot in and out of the US and coming back and dealing with US Immigration (a.k.a. DHS) is always something I dread. I’ve never had a really bad encounter, and nothing on the level of this woman. However, their attitude is always bad and rough, and always worse than wherever I’m coming from.

    US Immigration & DHS agents and management should travel the world a bit and see just what kind of an experience the provide relative to at least the rest of western and asian countries.

    They treat visitors like criminals.