U.K. detains Italian citizen on basis of U.S. no-fly list

U.K. authorities have apparently detained an Italian citizen disembarking from a trans-Atlantic cruise ship at Southampton on the basis of his inclusion on the U.S. “no-fly” list.

It’s the latest in a steady series of expansions of the extra-territorial reach of U.S. travel surveillance and control, and should raise a red flag as to the dangers of the proposed intra-EU system of PNR-based travel surveillance and control.

According to news reports and a press release from his U.S. lawyer with the Council on American-Islamic relations, Michael Migliore is a 23-year-old dual citizen of the USA and Italy. He’s been trying to return to Italy, to live with his mother there. But when he tried to board a flight in Portland, Oregon, he was refused passage and eventually told he was on the U.S. “no-fly” list.

Undaunted, he took a train to New York (as of now, the DHS only applies “no-ride” controls to international Amtrak trains to and from Canada, not domestic trains) and then a cruise ship to England.

The U.S. APIS rules require cruise lines, like airlines, to get permission from CBP before allowing each passenger to board. But for some reason, they let Migliore board a ship even though they wouldn’t let him on a plane. It’s hard to see a rational reason why, if they really thought he was a terrosirt threat, unless they had an unusually precise “pre-crime” vision of what they thought he intended to do. A cruise ship crossing the Atlantic is at sea for a week, and carries thousands of passengers. Unlike airline passengers, who are reported to the FBI for detention and questioning and their flight escorted by fighter jets if they spend an unusually long time in the toilet (trying to join the Mile High Club?), cruise passengers aren’t under constant scrutiny.  It would be much easier and do much more damage for a terrorist to sabotage a cruise ship than an airliner.

But whatever their reasons, U.S. authorities allowed Mr. Migliore to board the ship departing from the U.S., but apparently alerted U.K. authorities who detained him on arrival. (His U.S. lawyer presumes he’s been detained since he hasn’t been heard from since he disembarked, but nobody has yet gotten  any formal confirmation of who is holding him, where, or why.)

Presumably, mr. Migliore would have sought to enter the U.K. as an Italian citizen. We invite our European readers to speculate in the comments as to what EU laws and rights may have been violated by the U.K. in detaining an  EU citizen on the basis of secret derogatory information from the U.S., what due process Mr. Migliore is entitled to, and what basis the U.K. will need to continue to detain him or to prevent him from returning to Italy, the country of his citizenship.

2 Responses to “U.K. detains Italian citizen on basis of U.S. no-fly list”

  1. Edward Hasbrouck Says:


    On Monday night, Migliore’s brother and mother reported that he had been released from custody after eight to 10 hours of questioning. They said authorities confiscated a cell phone, iPod and other electronic media….

    Michael Migliore told his family that British authorities removed him from the ship before it was allowed to dock in Southampton, according to [his brother] Anthony. They questioned him about photos he had taken of the ship during his journey, which Anthony described as typical tourist photos.

    “He said they tried to insinuate he’s taking these pictures to plan something,” Anthony Migliore said. “He didn’t even want to go on a boat. If they would’ve let him fly, he wouldn’t have had any pictures of a boat.”

  2. Bryan Says:

    It’s not really a No-Fly list, is it?

    If air, sea, and trains are out, it’s a No-Public-International-Transport list, right?

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