Two men from the UK got off of a flight in Los Angeles almost a year ago, seeking protection from the British criminal justice system, and have been held in a LA area immigration detention facility ever since. Simon Sheppard and Stephen Whittle were convicted in England of hate speech. The charges stemmed from writings on Shepphard’s “heretical.com” site. Shortly after their conviction, the pair entered the US via the port of entry in Dublin, Ireland after having obtained an immigration waiver of inadmissibility for their criminal convictions.
Instead of proceeding though US immigrations and customs and entering Los Angles, the pair approached an officer and declared that they were seeking asylum. The pair assumed that, due to First Amendment and free speech laws, the US would protect them from punishment in Britian for activity that is legal in America. They were wrong. An immigration judge rejected their asylum claim and the men are currently being held in Santa Ana immigration detention awaiting a flight back to the UK. They have been in jail here for 11 months.