When you tell a group of government employees dominated by authoritarians that they have carte blanche to do what they think is right to Make The Country Safe, you are going to find that some of them abuse their power.
I don’t know why people are surprised at any different outcome.
Here are some of the incidents involving reasonably well-known people trying to enter or pass through the USA in the last 2 weeks:
1. an Australian children’s author
2. a retired UK professional soccer player
3. the son of Muhammad Ali
4. A world-renowmed expert on the Holocaust, held for 10 hours and then deported.
5. A British schoolteacher, denied entry
6. The former Prime Minister of Norway
All of these people have been detained and aggressively questioned on landing in the USA. In practical terms, they were treated like something that you and I would scrape off the bottom of your shoe.
At the same time, numerous people have been arbitrarily detained (and in one case, a seriously ill person was removed from a hospital) by the ICE. They even managed to detain a US Citizen for 3 days.
If you are unable to understand how godawfully assholish this makes the USA look as a country, you need to engage your brain a lot better.
There is a special place in my version of Hell for all authoritarian assholes. However, this is what supporters of Donald Trump should have known that they were voting for. All of the signs were there that he was a narcissistic, thin-skinned asshole. Narcissists want to be dictators. It’s part of the core pathology. If you voted for Donald Trump, you were voting to put an asshole in charge of the Executive Branch. If you are starting to be surprised at some of the outcomes, well, you should have been paying a lot more attention last year.
So, until there is a change in priorities and attitudes, we can expect to see more arbitrary and capricious persecution by CBP, DHS and ICE, and there will be a steady diet of stories about people being treated badly.
This will, before long, have a major impact on the image of the USA abroad. I am expecting a significant impact in tourism. Why is a non-citizen going to get on a plane to the USA, knowing that they might be treated like a piece of shit when they arrive here?
UPDATE – The asshole behavior is already having an impact on artists and creative people. Charlie Stross, the UK sci-fi author, is canceling his future trips to the USA for the latter half of 2017.