3 years ago

Once-detained Alabama mother speaks out in favor of travel ban

By Kellie McIntyre from 4 Worn Passports

My concern for the oppressed people of the world took root in my childhood in the 1970’s. I credit my mother for this. I vividly remember riding with my mom in our wood-paneled station wagon on Sunday mornings picking up Southeast Asian refugees and taking them to church. I recall giving them basic household items to help them set up their new homes in a foreign land. I remember that every time I wouldn’t eat my dinner, my parents scolded me and reminded me of the starving children in Cambodia.

I remember being so bothered by their situation, that when a local children’s news show solicited ideas for current events’ topics, I submitted an entry about the Southeast Asian refugee crisis. It never aired. Apparently, the producers didn’t think Pol Pot’s genocide was a suitable topic for other 9 year olds.

In the 1980’s, I had a high school friend who had escaped from Vietnam during the fall of Saigon in 1975. Like many “boat people,” Nina, her mother, and her younger siblings escaped under the cover of darkness. Her older half-siblings and grandparents did not make it out. Although her mother spoke no English, Nina was a star student, star athlete, and even class president. Nina embraced the American Dream in a big way.

Like most Americans of my generation, I’ve never lived in a war-torn country, feared an oppressive government, suffered religious persecution, or fled genocide.

Strangely, however, I know exactly what it feels like to be detained in immigration and deported from a foreign country, despite all efforts to fully comply with the entrance requirements.

Three years ago, my husband, two daughters and I were detained in Chinese immigration. We, along with three 20-something Swedish men, were held for hours in frigid, polluted conditions and denied access to our coats, food, and water. (After several hours they did oblige our request for water and provided (2) eight ounce bottles for seven people to share.) At the end of our detainment, the three Swedes were released and our family was deported. Despite our harrowing ordeal, there were no protests, lawsuits, or media coverage.

Our Chinese detention and deportation experience was the first time in my life that I knew what it felt like to be powerless and captive. That is a terrible combination. I remember being terrified that they would separate us from our daughters and there would be nothing that we could do. I barely held myself together. When the ordeal finally ended the next day, I remembered thinking:

Freedom is like oxygen–you don’t realize how important it is until you no longer have it.

Fast forward three years and we now find our nation embroiled in a bitter immigration feud. Although both sides have very different opinions, we can probably all agree that the immediate implementation and enforcement of President Trump’s travel ban at the end of January was a catastrophe. Meanwhile, the revised immigration order was signed earlier today. The outrage over the initial policy going into effect while people were in transit was completely understandable. What I don’t understand, though, is why so many Americans are vehemently opposed to any sort of immigration reform.

To illustrate my point, consider the following question:

What do you do when you see a homeless and/or suffering person?

    1. Nothing at all
    2. Give food
    3. Give a little money
    4. Give a lot of money
    5. Volunteer in a shelter
    6. Invite them to move in with you

I have done all of the above except #6.

Does that make me an evil, bigoted hater?

Or does that make me a compassionate, yet cautious, mother?

Although I care deeply about the plight of others, my first priority is to the safety and security of my family. So I choose to help in a way that doesn’t put my family at risk.

Similarly, the role of our government, first and foremost, is to protect its citizens.

This doesn’t mean that we are not a safe harbor for the persecuted, but it does mean that we must be smart about the process we use to allow immigrants into our home (country). We are a nation based on freedom, liberty and equal rights. All who seek to join the American family should share the same values.

Therefore, it is not unreasonable to have different visa and immigration policies for different countries.

Despite what the media would have you believe, this concept is not the brain child of the current administration nor is it isolated to the United States. In fact, all of our ancestors who immigrated through Ellis Island were subjected to scrutiny that is far more stringent than it is today. It is the reason the Swedes were allowed into China and, we, the Americans, were deported. This is how countries around the world operate.

If you really want to know what the people of the world are like or how other countries handle immigration, go see for yourself!

Don’t rely on what you see on TV or read in the news. For instance, would it surprise you to know that our most memorable Christian experience was attending a Baptist church service in Muslim-majority Malaysia? Or that Australia’s strict immigration requirements extend beyond humans?

In fact, Australia is rabies-free thanks to its strict pet immigration and quarantine policy. Australia will allow cats or dogs from anywhere in the world to enter its country, but the process varies based on the prevalence of rabies in the pet’s home country. New Zealand is the only country exempt from this policy because New Zealand is also rabies-free. The immigration steps for cats and dogs from all other countries in the world can be lengthy (6+ months), expensive (~$1,200+), and require a minimum 10 day quarantine once they enter Australia.

So does this mean every dog or cat outside of New Zealand that wants to immigrate to Australia is rabid?

Of course not.

But by taking stepped up precautions based on the prevalence of rabies in the home country, Australia has managed to keep this deadly disease outside of its borders.

At the end of the day, isn’t that what we want for our nation as well?

Whether it’s rabies, terrorism, or some other type of threat, certain countries do pose a greater risk than others. An intelligent immigration policy would allow anyone from anywhere to enter our country legally once we are confident that they are not a risk to the American way of life. To continue being a refuge for the persecuted, we must ensure that the evil that caused the crises the immigrants are fleeing cannot take root here.

I doubt Cambodia and Vietnam were very high on most tourists’ bucket lists 40 years ago, or Germany and Japan 70 years ago. Yet, today, Cambodia, Vietnam and Germany are three of my favorite places that I’ve visited, and Japan is on my short list. Just as evil was defeated and peace restored in Cambodia and Germany, hopefully, a generation from now, the very countries from which people are fleeing will be at the tops of travelers’ lists.

Until then, wouldn’t creating an immigration process that is both compassionate and cautious be a win-win for both Americans and for future Americans?

About 4 Worn Passports:

We are an Alabama family with a passion for independent family travel. In 2013, we withdrew our daughters from middle school and traveled around the world. We spent less on our 5 month worldwide adventure than many people spend on cars—and our memories won’t depreciate!

Although our “big trip” is over, we are still exploring. Our blog is full of trip ideas, tips to stretch your travel budget, practical advice, and funny (and not-so-funny) stories about our adventures and misadventures across six continents.

We hope our blog inspires you to pursue your wildest dreams, no matter how unconventional they may be!

49 mins ago

McCutcheon endorses Chris Lewis in AL-05 GOP primary — ‘Time to make a change’

Alabama Speaker of the House Mac McCutcheon (R-Monrovia) on Thursday announced his endorsement of Congressman Mo Brooks’ (AL-05) Republican primary challenger, Chris Lewis.

In a brief video filmed outside the State Capitol and released by Lewis’ campaign, McCutcheon explained his support.

“Many people and organizations across North Alabama have discussed with me that it is time to make a change in our congressional seat,” the speaker said. McCutcheon represents parts of Madison County and Limestone County.

He further spoke to Lewis’ service in the United States military.


Lewis is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and the U.S. Naval War College. He retired as a commander from the Navy after 23 years of service. His extensive experience reportedly includes multiple combat tours in Afghanistan and Iraq, service as a strategic analyst for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), a decade of defense acquisition experience and Contract Transition Team Lead for Arnold Engineering Development Complex at Arnold Air Force Base.

“Chris has proven his commitment to our nation through his military service,” McCutcheon remarked.

The speaker also highlighted some of the groups who have endorsed Lewis’ bid, including the Alabama Farmers Federation’s political arm.

“I believe Chris has the heart of a servant leader and would be a fine congressman for North Alabama,” he concluded.

Brooks has been endorsed for reelection by President Donald Trump.

The primary will be held on Tuesday, March 3.

Responding to the McCutcheon endorsement, Brooks told Yellowhammer News in a statement, “Bigger government, higher taxing, open borders loving, Never Trump special interest groups and political forces have coalesced around a like-minded Chris Lewis. I wear their opposition like a red badge of courage. I will NEVER put their personal greed and self-interest above my support for America! They know it. I know it. Our team is proud to fight them on behalf of an America we love.”

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

3 hours ago

7 Things: UAB battling the coronavirus, ‘Teachers Bill of Rights’, activists want Madison County to ignore marijuana laws and more …

7. Ban on an occupational tax passes

  • The City of Montgomery wanted to tax people who worked in the city but didn’t live in the city, which is essentially a tax on a job, but the Alabama legislature didn’t think this was a good idea and have killed it.
  • The tax on non-residents has been a problem for legislators for years, but the bill would not repeal any occupational taxes. It just stops city councils from implementing new ones without legislative approval.

6. Senate committee advances death penalty bill


  • The bill by State Senator Cam Ward (R-Alabaster) that would shorten the appeals process for death penalty cases has been advanced by the Senate Judiciary Committee and will now move to the full Senate.
  • The bill seeks to remove having to go through the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals and just going straight to the Alabama Supreme Court, but will still provide the ability to appeal on the federal level.

5. Aniah’s Law passes

  • The bill that would allow judges more ability to deny bail for those who are accused of violent crimes has been passed by the Alabama House of Representatives.
  • State Representative Chris Brown (R-Mobile), the sponsor of the bill, said, “Too many of those who are accused of violent crimes are bonding out of jail and committing even more serious offenses, and it is time for law-abiding Alabamians to start fighting back.”

4. Bernie Sanders is in first and he can beat Trump

  • In new polling data released by Fox News, U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is the frontrunner in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary with 31% polling, while former Vice President Joe Biden slips to second with 18%, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is in third with 16%, former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg has 12% in fourth place and U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren is down in fifth place with 10%.
  • Biden looks good in the most recent polling out of South Carolina which has him leading Sanders 36 to 16%. A big victory in the Palmetto State could give new life to Biden’s flailing campaign.

3. Decriminalizing marijuana in Madison County

  • A letter sent to Madison County leaders by the Madison County Democratic Executive Committee, League of Women Voters of the Tennessee Valley, UAH College Democrats and the NAACP of Huntsville requests that marijuana be decriminalized.
  • The letter states that “to improve the public safety, social equity, and overall well-being of our community” the county should stop arresting people for marijuana possession and also “drop all criminal charges related to cannabis possession,” claiming that this “will help ease racial disparities in community policing, allowing greater enforcement emphasis on crimes that have victims.”

2. Students need to start respecting their teachers

  • Legislation that’s been deemed the “Teacher Bill of Rights” is being considered, which would give teachers 10 rights, including being able to discipline students, remove students from the classroom and to “be treated with civility and respect.”
  • An attorney for the Alabama Education Association Clint Daughtry explained, “Teachers are … the only group of college-education professionals that I know of that run the risk on a daily basis of being hit, kicked, slapped, scratched, what have you.”

1. UAB helping solve the coronavirus crisis

  • With coronavirus wrecking the stock market, a panic is underway, but the University of Alabama at Birmingham has been researching and developing the drug remdesivir through the Antiviral Drug Discovery and Development Center; that same drug is being used to treat coronavirus patients across the United States and in China.
  • The work to develop the drug was funded by a grant awarded by the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee after U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL) became the chairman. Shelby said that this research “could help save thousands around the world.”

4 hours ago

Sessions: Tuberville’s position on trade undermines Trump’s negotiating position

Trade has been at the forefront of public policy discussions in recent days, especially as President Donald Trump has taken a more hawkish approach to the issue in his first term.

That has especially been true with regards to U.S. trade policy regarding China, a nation in which Trump has used tariffs as bargaining tool.

During an interview with Huntsville radio’s WVNN, former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, a candidate for the Republican nomination for Alabama’s U.S. Senate seat up for grabs in November, applauded Trump’s approach. However, he also took a dig at his opponent, former Auburn head football coach Tommy Tuberville, who Sessions said referred to himself as a “100% free trader.”


“[China] has got to come to the table,” he said. “You have got to use tariffs to bring them to the table. And if we bring them to the table, we’ll be able to begin a real historic change in their behavior and help American manufacturing. That’s one of the reasons I’m running. Both the border and this need to be done within a year or two of taking office.”

Sessions argued Tuberville’s position on trade undermined Trump’s negotiating ability, given the contrast.

“And I’ve got to say — Tommy Tuberville said he is a 100% free trader,” Sessions added. “He said he opposes tariffs. And he even said he didn’t agree with Trump’s China policy. This is cutting his legs out from under him, making it harder for him to negotiate. The last thing we need to be doing is undermining President Trump’s negotiating position. We’re going to win that negotiation, I’m telling you. And we’re going to make this situation better with China, and we’re going to keep winning in the future.”

@Jeff_Poor is a graduate of Auburn University, the editor of Breitbart TV, a columnist for Mobile’s Lagniappe Weekly and host of Huntsville’s “The Jeff Poor Show” from 2-5 p.m. on WVNN.

4 hours ago

Tuberville vows to give salary to veterans’ causes if elected — Tells Bradley Byrne, Jeff Sessions ‘to have some manhood about you’

Former Auburn head football coach Tommy Tuberville’s comments about the Trump administration’s handling of veterans’ issues last August 2019 at the Shoals Republican Club have been a focal point of the contest for the Republican nomination for Alabama’s U.S. Senate seat up in November.

“I’m pissed off at Donald Trump that our vets can’t get health care,” Tuberville said, speaking to the group at the time. “And if I ever get to see him, I’m going to tell him that. You said you were going to fix it, and it ain’t fixed. And that’s who we ought to be taking care of — these young men and women.”

During an appearance on Birmingham talk radio’s 99.5 on Thursday, co-hosts Andrea Lindenberg and Matt Murphy asked Tuberville to address those remarks, which have been used by opponents in political advertising against his candidacy.


Tuberville said he was upset not with just President Donald Trump but everyone, including himself. As a show of his concern, he pledged to donate his U.S. Senate salary to veterans’ causes.

“Everybody is responsible — the president, me, you, out Congress because they have done something nobody else will do, which is protect this country,” he said. “My salary — you know what I’m doing? I’m going to come on your show once every few months, and I’m going to give my salary, a check, to a veteran or a wife that has lost her husband, or their kids to go to school. I’m not taking one dime, and I’m giving it to the veterans. I stand and put up when I talk. I don’t just talk about it. I’m going to do it. So, yes — I’m mad at everybody.”

When asked if he had any regrets about his statement, he reiterated his support of the president but indicated those remarks were an indication of his willingness to “tell it like it is.”

“Listen, I’m 100% behind Donald Trump,” he said. “He’s the best thing to happen to this country since I’ve been on this earth in terms of getting things done. But he knows. He understands. And he is doing as much as he can. It’s kind of like me getting chewed out for losing a football game when our offensive line didn’t block anybody. He’s got people working for him. But who is going to get the blame? The president is going to get the blame. The head coach is going to get the blame. I’m going to tell it like it is, and if folks don’t like the way I tell it — don’t vote for me because I’m going to tell it. I’m not a politician. I’m not one of these career politicians who is just going to go up there and take a paycheck and hide when there’s a tough vote, or there is something tough that needs to be said about somebody. And I’m going to call it out. But I’m telling you right now: Our veterans need help. They need help now. Not next week, not next year.”

Tuberville also used the discussion about his comments as an opportunity to criticize his opponents former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-Fairhope), who he called on to “have some manhood about you.”

“Listen, I’m not going to be a ‘yes man,'” he said. “The people in Alabama deserve somebody who is going to speak for them. And if I need to say something to the president or the leader of the Senate, or secretary of state, I’m going to speak my voice. I’m not going to go up there as a dang puppet. These guys, as you said — Sessions got fired. He has got no business running for this job because he is not going to be respected when he goes back. Bradley Byrne — he turned on the president before he was even elected. And they’re getting on the knees, crawling now to tell people they’re supporting President Trump. My gosh, have some manhood about you. Speak your piece. What did you do it for? Speak your piece.”

“Jeff Sessions did more to protect Hillary Clinton than he did Donald Trump,” Tuberville added. “You think about that — and it really tees me off.”

@Jeff_Poor is a graduate of Auburn University, the editor of Breitbart TV, a columnist for Mobile’s Lagniappe Weekly and host of Huntsville’s “The Jeff Poor Show” from 2-5 p.m. on WVNN.

5 hours ago

Rocket City Trash Panda’s Toyota Field receives certificate of occupancy

MADISON — On Thursday, Hoar Construction, the City of Madison and BallCorps, LLC announced that Toyota Field, the new home for the Rocket City Trash Pandas, was officially awarded its Certificate of Occupancy, marking the official end of construction of the ballpark and certifying that the facility conforms to local building code requirements.

Hoar Construction, the general contractor on the project, broke ground on the new stadium in November 2018, and have since completed the project on time and within budget according to a release issued by the Trash Pandas.

The Rocket City Trash Pandas, owned by BallCorps, LLC., will serve as the Double-A affiliate of the Los Angeles Angels.


(Rocket City Trash Pandas)

Even though the Trash Pandas will not play their inaugural home game against the Mississippi Braves until April 15, the park will see action before then. The University of Alabama-Huntsville and the University of Montevallo will face off in a three-game series that begins on March 20 and ends with a double-header on March 21 in Gulf South Conference play.

Ralph Nelson, managing partner of BallCorps, LLC and CEO of the Rocket City Trash Pandas, applauded Birmingham-based Hoar Construction.

(Rocket City Trash Pandas)

“This is a landmark moment that was made possible through the remarkable commitment and creativity displayed by all of the design and construction professionals who turned our vision into reality,” Nelson said in a statement. “Hoar Construction has been a trusted partner throughout this journey, and we’re pleased to have reached a successful conclusion together. Our fans can now see for themselves that baseball is officially back in North Alabama.”

(Rocket City Trash Pandas)

“The day our team has been waiting for has finally arrived, and it’s extremely gratifying to see the transformation from a dirt field to a top-shelf ballpark in just 14 months,” said Michael Raymond, Assistant Project Manager at Hoar Construction. “BallCorps and the City of Madison have been fantastic to work with and provided the flexibility Hoar and its trade partners needed to successfully execute a very complex construction job. Without question, this is now one of the finest minor league ballparks in America.”

@Jeff_Poor is a graduate of Auburn University, the editor of Breitbart TV, a columnist for Mobile’s Lagniappe Weekly and host of Huntsville’s “The Jeff Poor Show” from 2-5 p.m. on WVNN.