A South American backpacker man who was backpacking across the U.S was taken into federal custody in Washington state after he overstayed his visa by 30 minutes.
Diego Simonassi, a traveler from Uruguay, tried to enter Canada on June 14th and was turned away because he needed a special passport to enter the country. Unfortunately, Diego was also on the last day of his visa that allowed him to enter the United States.
At the time he had thought this was a simple formality, or a matter of miscommunication. But when he asked the police at the border for help they actually arrested him, and he’s been held at the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma ever since. The detention center is over 145 miles away from where he was captured.
“I asked for help, ‘What can I do if I can’t come back to the United States?’ And without making a lot of questions he just arrested me,” Simonassi told reporters.
The immigration authorities have said that they will not let him go unless he pays a $7,500 bond or buys a one way ticket to Uruguay, but he doesn’t have the money, and he doesn’t think that he should have to pay.
“I don’t have it. And to be honest, I don’t think I have to pay. I haven’t done any crime or any illegal thing,” he said.
Luckily Immigration attorney Steve Tanijo has agreed to take his case for free.
“I think it’s ridiculous, I think it’s one of the problems that we have with our immigration laws.”
John Vibes is an author, researcher and investigative journalist who takes a special interest in the counter culture and the drug war. In addition to his writing and activist work he is also the owner of a successful music promotion company. In 2013, he became one of the organizers of the Free Your Mind Conference, which features top caliber speakers and whistle-blowers from all over the world. You can contact him and stay connected to his work at his Facebook page. You can find his 65 chapter Book entitled “Alchemy of the Timeless Renaissance” at bookpatch.com.