A Long, Pointless Plane Ride For 15 Russian Engineers Turned Back By Customs (Hurray!)

Actually, I feel some sympathy for the 15 Russian engineers whom Boeing apparently inveigled to come here, on B-1 visas, to work alongside American-citizen engineers, activity not allowed on that type of visa.  The Customs and Border Protection [CBP] inspector at SeaTac airport who dealt with them confirmed that something was fishy and — in the words of the immigration-sanity community`s late friend Terry Anderson — sent them back to Moscow “on the first thing smokin`.”

(The B-1 category is primarily for business visitors, which evidently doesn`t include contract employees.  See here for the State Department`s list of visa types for visitors; B-1s show up in three categories.)

The Seattle Times has the story (Customs turns back Russian engineers working for Boeing, by Dominic Gates, October 19, 2011).  The reporter showed some initiative, talking to a rep for the professional engineers` union at Boeing and recording the enthusiastic response:

“According to the white-collar union at Boeing, the Society for Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace (SPEEA), the engineers were not Boeing employees but lower-paid contractors.

The union`s communications director, Bill Dugovich, described the denial of entry as “fantastic news.”

He said SPEEA has asked the State Department for several years about the validity of Boeing`s use of temporary-visitor visas, alleging that Russian contractors violate the terms by working for Boeing while in the U.S..”

And the story arose because a CBP officer had previously shown initiative:

“Further details on what happened were provided by Rich Plunkett, SPEEA`s director of strategic development. During questioning of the engineers on Friday, CBP officer John Hullett called Plunkett to consult about their status.

Plunkett said Hullett told him that the Russians arrived with B-1 visas. In response, Plunkett informed him of the union`s longtime concern on the issue. … “We`ve had a multitude of reports of these engineers sitting side-by-side with our SPEEA-represented engineers doing the same work,” Plunkett said.”

Hullett`s diligence is consistent with what NumbersUSA`s honcho Roy Beck told me years ago, that most of the in-the-trenches people in the immigration-enforcement agencies really want to do their jobs.  In other words, they`re patriots.  The nation`s problems lie with the office-holding members of the political class — I`ve always labeled them as “the particular set of white-collar criminals who happen to be in power.”  (See Angelo Codevilla`s July, 2010 heavyweight of an essay America`s Ruling Class — And the Perils of Revolution.)

Hat tip to the versatile David North of the Center for Immigration Studies.  His interesting comments about the SeaTac case, based on decades of experience, are here.