Sidd Bikkannavar a natural-born American citizen claims he was detained on January 30 at Houston International Airport. This was just days after new president Donald Trump signed an executive order banning citizens from seven countries.
|Bikkannavar works at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. His hobby is driving solar-powered cars and he was just returning from a race in Patagonia Chile. Bikkanavar did not expect to have any trouble going through customs. He not only holds a U.S. passport but he is also part of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) that allows pre-approved low-risk travelers expedited clearance. Instead of providing Bikkanavar expedited clearance they pulled him aside. They demanded that he turn over his work issued phone and access PIN code.|
"U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) strives to treat all travelers with respect and in a professional manner, while maintaining the focus of our mission to protect all citizens and visitors in the United States. Due to privacy laws, U.S. Customs and Border Protection is prohibited from discussing specific cases or personally identifiable information regarding the arrival or departure of international travelers. CBP officers are charged with enforcing not only immigration and customs laws, but they also enforce over 400 laws for 40 other agencies."Bikkanavar eventually turned his phone over to the CBP agents and was then sent to a holding area. Bikkanavar finally had his phone returned and was allowed to continue his journey back home.
“I came so far, from the other side of the planet, to be free, to not fight for my rights anymore. And this is like a nightmare. I don’t understand how in the 21st century one man can stop this science, stop it, just like that, so easily without even thinking. I’m just sick in my stomach. I don’t want to accept that I’m not going. I can’t do that. I just can’t. This is so stupid, this so doesn’t make sense."Alternative options would cost her as much as $100,000 in new funding. With the recent suspension of the order perhaps she will be able to go after all.