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ORAC
5th Jan 2009, 16:37
Sorry to the Mods if they think this is in the wrong place, but it does make the blood boil. Those who know of Michael Yon will know is an ex services reporter who operates embedded with the troops and has worked almose exclusively in Iraq and Afghanistan over the last 4 to 5 years. I pity the agent concerned if he ever gets his hands on him, he certainly seems keen to have him named and shamed. I am glad to cooperate.

Border Bullies (http://www.michaelyon-online.com/border-bullies.htm) :suspect::suspect:

Mister Geezer
5th Jan 2009, 16:51
US Immigration seems to be a hit or a miss and it depends on who is behind the desk when you hand over your Passport. On my last visit to the US I arrived at ORD and was held back for further questioning due to the variety of stamps in my Passport from Arab countries but mainly from the UAE though. I had to hold my breath and not ask the officer if he was aware that the UAE was in fact a ally of the US? Perhaps getting him to point to it on a map would be even more of a challenge. Thankfully one of his superiors let me go when he put airline crew and discounted travel together and saw that I was not the threat they had perhaps hoped that I was!

con-pilot
5th Jan 2009, 18:04
ORCA, please check your private messages.

Thank you.

411A
5th Jan 2009, 18:21
Although rude treatment by US Immigration Officers is not tolerated by their superiors (she should have asked for a supervisor, straight away), those visiting the United States must realise that we have a rather large illegal immigration problem, and the DHS and ICE are quite within their rights to question visitors who, for example, originally purchased a one way ticket, for travel.

Quite frankly, she should have known better...or at least her friend should have, and advised her accordingly.

The 'friend' has only himself to blame, IMO.

chimbu warrior
5th Jan 2009, 18:22
Cast your mind back 25 years, when anyone wanting to enter the USSR (as it then was) got treated with suspicion, detained, searched, intimidated......but anyone travelling to the US was welcomed with open arms, told to "have a great day", and generally given the impression that the free-enterprise, democratic system in the USA was the world's best.

By comparison, in the USSR, state-owned enterprises like airlines, airports, [B]banks[B], were inefficient, obstructive, and far from user-friendly.

Nowadays, free enterprise is alive and well in the former USSR (now CIS), and Moscow has more billionaires than any other city in the world. Airlines, airports and banks are still far from perfect there, but a dramatic improvement. On the other hand, the US has airlines, airports and banks that are either dependent on government (the State) for protection (mostly of inefficiency) by either monetary support or regulatory protection.

The US is seemingly determined to become an isolated third-world country.

Capt.KAOS
5th Jan 2009, 18:34
Sometimes the Border Bullies are the locals themselves. Friends of mine have missed their outbound flights in BKK and MNL (to other ASEAN destinies) because of immigration officers making them very difficult to exit the country. Especially single travelling women are targets of incompetence and corruption of the local immigration service.

AMF
5th Jan 2009, 20:36
Those who know of Michael Yon will know is an ex services reporter who operates embedded with the troops and has worked almose exclusively in Iraq and Afghanistan over the last 4 to 5 years. I pity the agent concerned if he ever gets his hands on him,

Sounds to me like Michael Yon is a self-appointed expert on what Border Security should do, and a first-class whiner trying to impress a female friend.

I routinely get directed to an interview room to explain my passport full of Middle East stamps etc, and I'm a U.S. citizen. Producing a crew ID usually takes care of the interview in no time. A foreign national that begins the trip having to be informed they can't enter on a one-way ticket or make an effort to produce an itinerary can't expect any less.

"Expert" Yon is probably ignorant of the fact that since the early 90s terrorists cells in Canada have used women/girfriends of various nationalities to test U.S. security and entry routes across the border, of which Immigration officers in the Northern region are well aware. Being a slight, 90 pound woman with a dodgy ticket and vague itenerary would actually increase suspicion.

From the tone of his article I rather doubt his attitude on the phone to the agent helped matters for his friend, and probably the reverse. Anyone knowing war reporters know what arrogant adrenaline junkies that bunch are. They're worse than pilots!

con-pilot
5th Jan 2009, 20:44
Bottom line is that if the experience that the lady in question had was true, and I have no reason to believe it is not true, the Immigration Office needs to be fired along with his supervisors.

I have run ins with arrogant US Customs and Immigrations agents before. I eventually won the war after losing the initial battle. Always, always request a supervisor anytime you believe that you are being treated in an improper manner. Report anything that you believe is out of line, such as a male officer taking a female person into a private room without a female agent present at all times. That is simply not allowed.

Just for that the agent involved should be sent to Texas to inspect used condoms floating down the Rio Grande River.

I have worked with customs and immigration agents and 99.9% of these men and women are very professional and will be appalled by how this lady was treated. I have forwarded the link to some contacts I still have in Immigration, now called I.C.E.

I will let you know what feed back I receive.

AMF
5th Jan 2009, 20:51
con-pilot
I have worked with customs and immigration agents and 99.9% of these men and women are very professional and will be appalled by how this lady was treated. I have forwarded the link to some contacts I still have in Immigration, now called I.C.E.

I will let you know what feed back I receive.

I have some too, and it'll be interesting to find out both sides of this story. The whole interview would have been caught on camera for review, and half of the author's outrage seems to be directed towards the fact that there were pointed questions asked as to her purpose for a visit (which is their job), and simply because she's an experienced "world traveler", or a woman, is above scrutiny.

birrddog
5th Jan 2009, 21:02
His whining gets in the way of the article. I agree there are some things that suck when traveling in/out of the US, and that is once on the "international side" of the customs line Guantanamo Rules apply.

This is not new, and if he did not like it he should (and I would encourage him) to complain to his congressman.

They have the right to search through anything, including encrypted computer files, emails or your dirty underwear. Some of the new search laws pertaining to laptops, etc. are stupid, and I think they will only capture stupid criminals this way, as there are easier ways of getting electronic information across the borders.

Overall though, I have found US Immigration and Customs to be some of the friendliest and most professional around*.

* not to be confused with the TSA

galaxy flyer
6th Jan 2009, 00:02
C-P

The time I visited OKC, we had a devil of a time with ICE. Dogs, geiger counters, shutdown the APU (it was 99 outside), the works! On the way to the Hilton, drove past the TSA school! Well, now they tell me! ;)

con-pilot
6th Jan 2009, 00:12
Well look who you were hauling around. :p


















(Just kidding, the ICE agents were probably looking for good discounts. ;))


(And never clear where they train the agents! :uhoh:)

UniFoxOs
6th Jan 2009, 07:51
Quite frankly, she should have known better...or at least her friend should have, and advised her accordingly.

Yes, indeed, should have advised her to avoid the States like the plague, like the rest of us do.

UFO

CR2
6th Jan 2009, 08:01
What a load of drivel FOX. How the hell can you know what its like if you "avoid the place like the plague?" Better off staying where you are with that attitude.

Any country will have its fair share of plonkers at the border. To tar them all with the same brush is unfair; I have found the immigration people at JFK (yes folks, JFK...) cordial, occasionally "friendly". They're busy, very busy.

(Brit in NY)

UniFoxOs
6th Jan 2009, 08:06
Sorry CR2, spent too long in US airports in the last few years to want to do it any more.

I like the USA and spent many happy holidays there years ago, but in recent times.....no way.

UFO

AMF
6th Jan 2009, 08:07
UniFoxOs Quote:
Yes, indeed, should have advised her to avoid the States like the plague, like the rest of us do.

UFO

That's certainly the best course of action for all concerned. I mean, for all the whining about being questioned at the border (what a unique horror not suffered anywhere else in the world!), can you imagine the whining that will ensue by foreign nationals while they travel completely unfettered and unmonitored within a similarily unimpressed populace once they get in? Such indignity...worse than Nazi Germany...the best thing to do seems to be just staying the he11 out.

El Grifo
6th Jan 2009, 08:18
Whle I agree with CR2 that JFK is one of the best in the US, regarding immigration staff. MIA is one of the worst on the planet.

Several times I have said I will stop using it and have only returned if I have absolutely no choice. I used to love a two day stopover in South Beach, excellent restaurants and bars.

That said, on my last visit, I noted that they had got rid of a lot of the buzz cut, young white supremacist variety and replaced them with older, more human versions, who could fairly easily crack a smile.

Step in the right direction maybe :D

chuks
6th Jan 2009, 09:22
I don't know how it is overall but, yes, I have had my share of jerk encounters at our borders.

Most memorable was someone at JFK who asked me repeatedly what I was bringing in as presents, having been away for a long time. "Nothing," was my reply, the truth but he seemed to know that I must have something hidden away amongst my shreddies, God knows what. I stayed polite, of course but all I could think was "What a jerk!" and I suppose it showed.

His parting shot was putting the entry stamp on the page with my photograph so that I could be reminded of him every time I opened that passport for the next nine years.

Another time we entered from Canada in hippy mode, two guys with beards (computer programmer and student pilot) and a Marxist girl with a university degree (therapist), all in a VW Beetle. That one brought the presentation of marijuana residue (supposedly gleaned from our 15 year-old car?) and an invitation to each of us separately to make a full confession in hopes of leniency.

We all just looked at these clowns, thinking, "Are you people really as stupid as you look?" A bit more bluster on the order of "We know what you are up to and don't do it any more!" and off we went. All we could think of was just how much stuff we could get away with driving a beige Chevrolet dressed like squares.

On the other hand, I have had a Canadian quizzing me intensively over my knowledge of Canadian gun legislation, "Are you aware that it is forbidden to carry a concealed pistol in Canada, Sir?" which I could only put down to being there with a motorcycle.

Thing was, it was a BMW K100RS and not a Harley-Davidson chopped Hawg, meaning that I was far more likely to be toting Poly-Grip than a snub-nose .38 but never mind that now. She kept on with the information and the asking if I had anything to tell her about what I might be hiding to the point that I almost but not quite asked if we could either move along to the strip-search part of this charade or if I might be allowed to continue my journey to the fleshpots of Sidney, B.C.

The writer of this article has a point but he does seem a bit up himself, yes.

This Thai girlfriend, does she have a large Adam's apple and big hands for a girl? Just asking...

skydiver69
6th Jan 2009, 09:37
I'm married to an Iranian lady who now has a British passport. We visited New York two years ago and expected to be delayed in immigration. My wife was stopped and asked for a lot of additional information but at all times she was treated with respect and dealt with very politely. The French guy who was in the immigration office at the same time as us was a totally different story though. He had replaced his passport picture with one he liked a lot more and didn't think the Americans would have a problem with that!

Nigd3
6th Jan 2009, 10:34
Sounds like the officer and the reporters attitude both suck.
You can be throrough when checking someone out, without being an a'hole.
The reporter bloke sounds like he was spouting off at the huge injustice of it all and having a bloody good whinge. As a presumably experienced traveller who frequently uses the US airports he should have been aware of what can happen there and prepared his friend.
I try and avoid connecting in the USA as much as I can because of the hassle but if it can't be avoided, then shut up and get on with it, its inevitably quicker.

rvv500
6th Jan 2009, 10:45
If he and his lady friend had travelled so much all around the world did they not have the basic common sense to understand that normally no country or airline will accept someone travelling on a one way ticket unless that person is a resident or a citizen of the country. They will be treated with suspicion. And for a tourist visa holder to try to go to USA of all the places with a one way ticket is outright stupid and you certainly should expect trouble.

And if the writer has travelled so much he should understand the difference between INS and DHS. The Immigration and Naturalisation Service is the agency which checks your entry documents and decides whether to let you in or not. It's not the DHS.

That said, yes, the attitude of the INS Officer sucks and there was no call to be have that way.

radeng
6th Jan 2009, 16:43
These days, it's just easier for everyone, and saves such a lot of hassle, to avoid the US unless you have to. Avoid transiting through the US, flying over it and avoid visiting it unless you need to. Saves them a lot of hassle, too. It's now 4 years since Colin Powell told Congress that the border security had cost $35 billion in lost revenue because of people avoiding the US: one can only assume that by now, it's way over the $150 to $200 billion.

But it's their country, and if they don't want our dollars and you don't like it, keep away, as so many of us do unless we have to.

411A
6th Jan 2009, 17:30
But it's their country, and if they don't want our dollars and you don't like it, keep away, as so many of us do unless we have to.

Quite so....and you will certainly not be missed.:D

America is a wonderful country, full of friendly folks who, if you needed it, would give you a helping hand nearly every time, but one thing we definitely don't need is more whiners/moaners/complainers...we have quite enough of these already.:}

CUNIM
6th Jan 2009, 18:36
We have never had problems there. I was asked about the visas in my passport and he pointed to one, I said Vietnam, oh and what are these ones? Well that is Libya. He turned to my wife and said, I guess you can come in, but I reckon we should keep him out for bad choices of countries to visit. We then chatted on for a while before he stamped my passport and wished us a pleasant holiday.:ok::ok:

AMF
6th Jan 2009, 19:50
radeng ...But it's their country, and if they don't want our dollars and you don't like it, keep away, as so many of us do unless we have to.

Those dollars, of course are theoretical, and given that visitors are free to go and move about unrestricted once they enter the U.S. without so much as having to show their passports at hotels like almost everywhere else in the world, anyone claiming to avoid the U.S. merely because they're asked a few questions at the border either didn't want to visit that much or are simply full of [email protected] in the first place and making mountains out of molehills to further their own agenda.

Either way, no loss for the U.S.

Mr Chips
9th Jan 2009, 20:53
Having read the article, I got the feeling that the girlfriend shouldn't have been interviewed because:
She was going to single handed save the US economy
The boyfriend once met Camilla
Her kids (she left them at home? what about Disneyland???) had a globe

How does that offier sleep at night??? :}

Captain Stable
9th Jan 2009, 21:03
one thing we definitely don't need is more whiners/moaners/complainers...we have quite enough of these alreadyQuite so. Could you please avoid exporting any more of them? Thank you in anticipation. Oh - and please hang on to Tony Blair if you would. We'd rather not have him back, if it's all the same to you.

clicker
9th Jan 2009, 23:31
Her kids (she left them at home? what about Disneyland?)


They were not hers, she was their aunt.

Keef
10th Jan 2009, 00:07
I've never had a problem. I've visited the USA many times in years gone by, on business. I've visited a fair few times recently on vacation (and flying holidays) and found the INS people consistently polite, friendly, and even witty.

We once got diverted to St Louis, which I had been warned is "cussed" as far as INS goes. The happy, smiling lady asked "What is the purpose of your visit to St Louis?", to which I replied (truthfully) that I'd been diverted and was actually on my way to Detroit. She said "Oh, then we can't let you into St Louis unless you promise to go straight to Detroit, not to pass GO, and not to collect $200." By the time I'd thought of an answer, she'd stamped my passport and wished me a pleasant onward journey.

Pretty typical, really.