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  1. #1
    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    Aug 2008
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    Indie developer arrested for allegedly swimming across US border

    Indie dev arrested for allegedly swimming across US border

    By Samit Sarkar on Sep 11, 2013 at 11:30a @SamitSarkar

    An indie developer was arrested last week in Detroit and is being charged with attempting to enter the U.S. illegally by swimming across the Detroit River from Canada, reports the Detroit Free Press.

    Sam Smolders, a citizen of Belgium, was taken into custody by Border Patrol agents at around 2 a.m. Sept. 5. According to a criminal complaint filed Monday in federal court, Smolders was found standing "soaking wet" on a boardwalk in Detroit.

    When asked what happened, Smolders explained to the agents that he went into the Detroit River — which separates the U.S. from Canada — to retrieve his bag after three men harassed him and threw his bag into the river.

    Smolders told the agents he had no proof of identification on his person, but after arresting him, they found a Belgian passport among his belongings. He is also charged with lying to a federal official.

    Develop reports that Smolders is the indie developer behind games such as Victim of Xen. In an interview with Develop earlier this year, Smolders said he was born in Belgium but emigrated to the U.S. at age 5, and lived here for nearly 13 years. Shortly before his 18th birthday, he was informed that his immigration documents hadn't been filed properly, and would become an illegal immigrant upon turning 18.

    Smolders said immigration officials told him he would have to leave and then re-enter the country, but "it actually didn't go down like they'd explained." He has since been denied entry into the U.S. on numerous occasions, most recently in 2008, according to the complaint.

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  2. #2
    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    "Indie developers" = independent video game developers

    Don't reward the criminal actions of millions of illegal aliens by giving them citizenship.

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  3. #3
    Administrator ALIPAC's Avatar
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    Swim to U.S. lands desperate immigrant in jail

    Tresa Baldas, Detroit Free Press Published 12:06 a.m. ET Sept. 13, 2013
    Sam Smolders was found sopping wet by authorities on the banks of the Detroit River after swimming across from Canada.

    (Photo: Detroit Free Press)
    Story Highlights

    • Smolders brought to U.S. from Belgium by mother at age 5
    • Despite growing up in Arizona he was deported at age 18
    • He started own video game company that released 'Victim of Zen'


    DETROIT -- Swimming across the Detroit River in the middle of the night may not have been the smartest thing Sam Smolders ever did.
    But the Belgian native was desperate, said his lawyer. He was trying to get back home.
    Smolders, 24, who was brought to the U.S. at age 5 by his mother, is in the fight of his life, trying to persuade American authorities that he should be allowed to live here. He was deported at 18 after government officials learned his immigration documents were never filed properly, and has been fighting ever since for the right to live here.
    According to his Facebook page, he has tried the legal route, but to no avail.
    So he came up with Plan B: Swim over from Canada.
    It landed him in U.S. District Court in Detroit, where Smolders — now a video game maker whose case made Japanese news — is facing criminal charges for allegedly trying to sneak into the U.S. and lying to federal agents. He was arrested Sept. 5 after U.S. border agents found him about 2 a.m., sopping wet on the banks of the Detroit River near Atwater Street, trying to retrieve his belongings out of the water.
    Not exactly the wisest plan, conceded his lawyer, James Gerometta. But this is the only country that Smolders has ever known, and it's not his fault that he was here illegally as a child, Gerometta argued in court Tuesday, hoping to convince a judge to release Smolders on bond.
    "This isn't a situation where he chose to be here illegally," Gerometta argued, noting Smolders grew up in Arizona, was schooled here and even tried to join the military, which is when his immigration status surfaced. "He is a young man who was raised here, but he did something incredibly stupid to get back here."
    U.S. Magistrate Judge David Grand appeared moved, but not enough to release him on bond.
    "I'd really like to be able to do something for you," Grand told Smolders, acknowledging the man's American upbringing. He then addressed the lawyers. "The problem is ... he clearly knew what he was doing was wrong. He tried to swim over here in the middle of the night."
    And he lied to federal agents about where he was from and what he was doing in town, Grand added, before jailing Smolders at the prosecution's request.
    Gerometta, though, is trying to resolve the case by cutting a deal that could send Smolders back to Belgium but allow him to pursue legal avenues to return to the U.S. The case could be resolved as early as Friday.
    For Smolders' friends, who have been following and commiserating about his plight on Facebook, his U.S. citizenship is long overdue. They say Smolders deserves to live in this country and has plenty to offer, noting he's an emerging talent in the independent video game industry who started his own production company and released the game "Victim of Zen."
    "Why is this man being punished for something his mother did? Why is he not being given a fair opportunity to become a citizen the right way?" Ed Mott, who attended high school with Smolders in Arizona, told the Free Press in a message. "This man is not a troublemaker. ... This is the only country he really truly knows."
    Steven Barnes, a human resources specialist in Washington, D.C., who has financially backed Smolders' video projects, agreed, saying the U.S. needs people like Smolders.
    "Given the opportunity, he could do so much ... and we can help guide him. He's a creative talent that we sorely need," said Barnes, who met Smolders through his son, a script writer who went into business with Smolders about two years ago. "He needs to be given a chance."
    Over the past several months, Smolders vented about his ordeal on Facebook. Since getting deported, he has visited twice, but was denied entry into the country in 2008 and has been banned since. His two visa applications also have been denied.
    On April 19, however, Smolders appeared optimistic in this Facebook post: "My appointment with the embassy is laid down. Friday at 8:45, I'll be at the US Embassy in Brussels explaining my case. The evidence is ready for their review. Thank you for your letters!"
    Then came the blow.
    "The embassy officers refused to read my letters," read a Facebook post one week later.
    Smolders hinted of an unorthodox plan.
    "After these years, being forced out here ... I am now officially not believing in the system," the April 26 post read. " I am going to be pursuing practical, nonsystem means (meaning that according to the governments, they would be illegal)."
    According to court documents, here is how his plan unfolded.
    When Smolders turned up in Detroit, he gave his real name and birth date to agents, said he was from Arizona but that his ID was back in his hotel room. When asked what happened, Smolders said that he was walking along the boardwalk when three men harassed him, threw his belongings into the river and that he went in to fetch his bag.
    Agents retrieved the bag. It was wrapped in waterproof material and contained Smolders' Belgian passport, which had a Canadian arrival stamp dated Sept. 4, the day before his late-night swim. He also had a flotation device.
    Gerometta, meanwhile, says that Smolders is a classic DREAM Act youth, or "DREAMer," which is a term for young people who are in the U.S. illegally through no fault of their own. Last year, the Obama administration issued an administrative order that gives "DREAMers" the right to live in the U.S. for two years under a "deferred action" status, and then reapply.
    But that's not an option for Smolders because he's been out of the country for too long.
    "He is who this policy is meant for, but he's too late," Gerometta said. "That's the saddest part of this case."
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