Border controlU.K. political activist enters U.S. using a friend’s passport

Published 8 January 2013

Stephen Lennon, the 30-year old leader of the English Defense League, a street protest group active in organizing demonstrations against what group members regard as the growing influence of Islam in British life, was sentenced to ten months in jail for using a friend’s passport to enter the United States

Stephen Lennon, the 30-year old leader of the English Defense League, a street protest group active in organizing demonstrations against what group members regard as the growing influence of Islam in British life, was sentenced to ten months in jail for using a friend’s passport to enter the United States.

Lennon, who, at times, used the name Tommy Robinson, used the passport of a friend named Andrew McMaster to board a September 2012 Virgin Atlantic flight from Heathrow to New York.

The Independent reports that Lennon used his own passport to re-enter the United Kingdom.

Lennon used a self-check-in kiosk at Heathrow to get his boarding pass, but customs officials in New York took his finger prints and immediately discovered that he was not McMaster. He was told he would have to go through a security interview, but left the airport before the interview and entered the United States illegally.

Lennon had been previously denied entry into the United States.

Lennon stayed in the United States one night, and flew back to the United Kingdom the next day, using his own passport.

Judge Alistair McCreath told Lennon:

I am going to sentence you under the name of Stephen Lennon although I suspect that is not actually your true name, in the sense that it is not the name that appears on your passport.

What I have to deal with you for is clear enough.

You knew perfectly well that you were not welcome in the United States.

You knew that because you tried before and you had not got in, and you knew the reason for that - because, rightly or wrongly, the US authorities do not welcome people in their country who have convictions of the kind that you have.

With that full knowledge, you equipped yourself with a passport. I am told that it was given you by way of a loan from your friend Andrew McMaster, to which you bore, I am told, some resemblance.

And by use of that passport you did what you could to get into the United States.

But you did not get in because they took your fingerprints and they worked out that you were not who you claimed to be.

I am told that, by whatever means, you slipped away from the US authorities, got into the country and then very rapidly - and understandably so - got out of it.”

He said Lennon had used his own passport to get out of the US, adding: “You did so, I am quite sure, in order to avoid the consequences that would have fallen upon you had you been caught by the authorities in America.”

The judge went on: “What you did went absolutely to the heart of the immigration controls that the United States are entitled to have.

Had it been known in this country that you were proposing to leave under a false passport, you would not have been accepted on to the plane and you would not have been permitted to leave this country on a false passport.

It’s not in any sense trivial.”

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