Seattle Airport Border Control Deports Pregnant Chinese Tourist

Deportation of pregnant Chinese women could be becoming a trend at west coast airports, reports the World Journal. According to the World Journal, one of the biggest Chinese-language newspaper in the United States, a woman named Xiao-yun Wu was deported from the Seattle airport after border control officers found that she was six months pregnant. Wu arrived from Beijing with her husband at Seattle’s airport on June 19 but was deported in the evening before transferring to Los Angeles. 

The paper reports that United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents noticed Wu’s belly when she was waiting in line for customs and brought the couple to separate rooms for further questions. The couple's cell phones were taken away during the questioning. After admitting that she was six months pregnant, Wu was asked to take the 8:40 pm flight back to Beijing the same night. 

Their companion, Ms. Su, who was also questioned, was declined entry into the country due to “intentional hiding of pregnancy.” She returned to Beijing with her mother that night. Wu was surprised to see other pregnant women at the Beijing airport had been sent back for the same reason. 

The U.S. government does not ban entry of foreign pregnant women; neither does the CBP. But in past months, the number of patrols and interrogations seem to have increased. An undisclosed Los Angeles CBP officer said the chance for pregnant women to get in the country depends on the stage of pregnancy: “the closer to the time of birth, the easier it is to be caught, the higher chance there is to be deported.” The CBP officer added that it is not fair for women to come to the United States to give birth as a tourist, taking advantage of U.S. medical services.

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Imagine you've forgotten once again the difference between a gorilla and a chimpanzee, so you do a quick Google image search of “gorilla." But instead of finding images of adorable animals, photos of a Black couple pop up.

Is this just a glitch in the algorithm? Or, is Google an ad company, not an information company, that's replicating the discrimination of the world it operates in? How can this discrimination be addressed and who is accountable for it?

“These platforms are encoded with racism," says UCLA professor and best-selling author of Algorithms of Oppression, Dr. Safiya Noble. “The logic is racist and sexist because it would allow for these kinds of false, misleading, kinds of results to come to the fore…There are unfortunately thousands of examples now of harm that comes from algorithmic discrimination."

On At Liberty this week, Dr. Noble joined us to discuss what she calls “algorithmic oppression," and what needs to be done to end this kind of bias and dismantle systemic racism in software, predictive analytics, search platforms, surveillance systems, and other technologies.

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