Not everyone will agree that we are afflicted by system-wide government corruption in the US; and sadly, some of those who claim we do, espouse causes that are as corrupt and biased as they claim the government is to start with.
But please read this story of an elderly Albanian couple who moved to live in the US. They decided to make a visit back to Albania, and like very many other ex-pats who now lawfully live in the US, wanted to take some money back to their less advantaged family members in Albania.
Fearing corruption in Albania, they felt the only safe way to bring money back to Albania and to give to their relatives was to bring US cash with them, thereby avoiding the uncertainties of the Albanian banking system and official scrutiny there. This is a very common action.
So they amassed $58,100 over 13 years to take back with them, and placed 581 $100 bills in a large envelope in their carry-on. They then went to fly from Cleveland to Albania, with their first flight being from Cleveland to Newark. This is an important detail.
Going through TSA at Cleveland, a screener noticed the envelope with “$58,100” written on the outside, opened it, discovered the wad of $100 bills inside, and so, called Customs and Border Patrol officers, who seized the money. They also detained the gentleman flying with the money and strip searched him, complete with the full rubber glove treatment.
This is also another example of the TSA’s “mission creep”. What business of theirs is it whether a passenger has $1 or $1 million in their bag? There is no risk to the safety of the flight; if anything, a passenger with lots of cash on them would be more eager to safely survive the flight.
Back to the unfortunate Albanian couple. After being given the full ‘treatment’ by CBP officers, the officers chose to keep the money, giving him a receipt but not stating the value of the money they were keeping.
That’s not a very useful receipt, is it – can you think of any other “receipt” anywhere in the world which doesn’t actually state the specifics of the money paid/received/kept? And would you be astonished to learn that now CBP are claiming there was less money in the envelope than the person says there was…..
The government is not only disputing the sum of money they took, they are now refusing to return it, alleging the money to be illegal. The couple have tax records and bank statements for the entire 13 years they have lawfully been resident in the US to show how they legally earned and slowly saved the money, but the government doesn’t care and is saying “So sue us, then”, which is what the couple has been forced to do.
Apparently we are now guilty until proven innocent, and the burden of proof has now shifted to us, to prove our innocence (how do you prove a negative) rather than to the government to prove our guilt.
The government is also suggesting that the couple failed to disclose their attempt to take the money out of the country – you need to fill out a form when taking more than $10,000 out of the country. But this was a domestic flight – there is no form or disclosure needed to transport any amount of cash on a domestic flight.
So, here’s the irony. The couple were scared of running afoul of corrupt officials in Albania. But they couldn’t even fly out of Cleveland before being ensnared by corrupt US officials. Even worse, the corruption is not at a low level, but empowered by actual laws in this country, that make it legal to steal money (and other goods and assets and property) from US citizens and then force the US citizens to take the government to court to prove the government was wrong.
How much will it cost to sue the government? How long will it take?
Didn’t we fight a war against the English with this as one of the root causes? The Fourth Amendment to our Constitution, headed “Protection from Unreasonable Searches and Seizures” says
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched and the persons or things to be seized.
Would someone please pass this on to the Customs and Border Patrol. It seems they skipped their civics classes at school.