This ain’t nothing new Honey

According to The Guardian, she told Australian Broadcasting Corporation she was questioned by border agents in a room full of people for two hours. She said that the experience left her so harrowed that she felt like she had been physically assaulted. She has even suggested that she might never return to the US after the incident.
“I have never in my life been spoken to with such insolence, treated with such disdain, with so many insults and with so much gratuitous impoliteness,” Fox was quoted as saying. “I felt like I had been physically assaulted which is why, when I got to my hotel room, I completely collapsed and sobbed like a baby, and I’m 70 years old.”
According to The Guardian, the author blamed US President’s proposed travel ban as the reason for the “aggressive questioning” by the border police. She said despite having travelled to America 116 times before without incident, she was questioned over her visa. She was eventually granted access.

Bugger all to do with Trump. US Border people at airports are the rudest most shitty people I’ve ever dealt with. No, really, I went in and out of Russia for years and the US is worse.

84 comments on “This ain’t nothing new Honey

  1. It wasn’t always this way. Even worse is that there appears to be a correlation showing increased dickishness of US border agents leads to more attacks on US soil by foreigners. It’s almost as if treating people like shit makes them dislike us.

  2. You have to give the TSA their due.

    In many ways they are quite an egalitarian organisation, treating everybody equally shittily.

    This ain’t new, I was rudely harassed by their predecessor organisation (well before 9/11) on a business trip to Los Angeles, so those attempting to blame The Donald or even George Bush can fuck right off.

    At their best the US guardians of the gate are a surly and unprepossessing bunch of cnuts.

  3. Hell, I was arrested and spent half a day in custody for being rude to the staff a couple years ago.

    They sent me to secondary (coming back from Mexico) and got pissed I wouldn’t answer the questions about what I was doing there.

    Found some .22LR and .32 ACP rounds under the seat. One of them said that as far as he was concerned I was a terrorist.

    For ‘smuggling’ low-caliber ammunition into the United States. Into a state where that stuff if perfectly legal to own in massive quantities.

    One of their supervisors even came in while I was being questioned by DHS and tell me that if I had just cooperated . . .

    His gist was that they were just doing their job and I should be grateful they’re keeping out all the horrible people/drugs.

  4. Not returning to the US is a bonus for them.
    Pretty sure the border staff are not suddenly put in place following a new president getting sworn in last month.
    The staff will have been there all along with that sort of attitude?
    Just maybe a freer hand now? Or not even that – simply being themselves at work.

    I can imagine her reaction to the staff will have caused the staff to respond to her….
    Civil servant doing a job, they get through the day the best they can, and some dippy old bird with a foreign accent gives them attitude – can imagine its returned.
    While there are people around who will always give others a hard time, there are other people who will only give the ‘deserving’ a hard time.

  5. Even worse is that there appears to be a correlation showing increased dickishness of US border agents leads to more attacks on US soil by foreigners.

    Which just proves they should be doing more to keep foreigners out of America.

  6. They sent me to secondary (coming back from Mexico) and got pissed I wouldn’t answer the questions about what I was doing there.

    You should have just said you went to Mexico to “buy cheap, legal whores and decent beer” (or at least cheaper beer).

    It would be hard to argue.

  7. She has even suggested that she might never return to the US after the incident.

    It just goes to show that even when you lose, you win. 🙂

    God Bless America!

  8. There’s a wide dynamic range in the folk who deal with incoming people.

    We’re both resident aliens (me and FemmeInTejas). She always gets dragged aside on entry, because of some automobile related naughtiness years ago. The folk who drag her aside vary enormously in dickishness.

    In Austin, they’re apologetic (“sorry, we haveta follow the rules and the system flagged you up..”) and friendly and eager to get the issue out of the way. Other places, it’s more like interrogation galactic central. And she has limited English, so it’s even more fun for the assholes…

  9. And she has limited English, so it’s even more fun for the assholes…

    If you’ve reached the point of irritation, but don’t want to get thrown off the flight by being openly rude, a good approach to this is to simply pretend you don’t understand at all, for example responding “Que?” to everything a la Manuel from Fawlty Towers.

    That probably wouldn’t work so well in the Southern US where a decent proportion of the TSA staff are of Mexican origin or at least speak Spanish to some degree, but it would probably do the job in Decatur, IL or Grand Forks, ND

    The approach I have taken in the past is to exaggerate my existing mild deafness to full blown, hand behind ear inaudibility and frequent use of “Sorry, but I can’t hear a word”. They soon tire of having to speak loudly and annunciate clearly as it makes them look like the idiots they are.

    If they don’t tire of this, I simply pretend to mishear what they say, so “Did you bring any fruit or vegetables with you?” gets the retort “Did I bring any troops or what?”

    It is possible to really fuck someone off while staying well within the boundaries of acceptable behaviour. I’m sure I’m on some list somewhere though and will be first up against the wall when the revolution comes…

    Ah well.

  10. A friend of mine called a female immigration officer in Guangzhou a ‘Stupid cunt’.

    He was arrested, back roomed for a few hours and then made to write a long letter of apology to the girl.

    It’s mad the commie Chinese are more reasonable than the Americans at immigration.

  11. At the Penn & Teller store you can by metal playing card sized cards with the Bill of Rights printed on them, which the TSA can then “take away” after the detectors have gone off.

  12. What astounded me in the US was how slow we were processed last year.

    There’s no point being polite if you make people take 90 minutes to process immigration when they are only transitting. Most countries don’t even make you do full immigration if you are not even staying.

    If you have to process them, at least have enough staff to do the job.

  13. There’s no point being polite if you make people take 90 minutes to process immigration when they are only transiting. Most countries don’t even make you do full immigration if you are not even staying.

    The problem here is that the United States government has become addicted to enforcing its laws extraterritoriality as evidenced by UK CEO of BetOnSports who was arrested at Dallas Fort Worth in transit between the UK and Costa Rico.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/18/technology/18gamble.html

    You can’t do that sort of thing unless you put transit passengers through a process of examining documents and arresting those who have acted against the countries interests, even if non-resident and non-citizen.

    Whether this actually achieves anything is a somewhat different matter, certainly it causes resentment against US citizens despite the fact that the majority of them also find this sort of behaviour reprehensible.

  14. Most countries don’t even make you do full immigration if you are not even staying.

    Many international flights leave US airports from domestic terminals, so they have no choice. When I flew to Canada via America a few years ago, for example, the flights to Canada all left from the domestic terminal.

    In fact, the EU isn’t much different, as I have to go through immigration at Frankfurt when flying to Italy.

  15. I’d also add that, the last time I flew to America, the entire immigration process took about fifteen seconds. Didn’t even have to queue.

    I’ve spent half an hour just queuing to get out of the EU in Frankfurt before.

  16. “She has even suggested that she might never return to the US after the incident.”

    *shrugs* Well, Australia’s loss is the USA’s gain!

  17. The closest I got to unpleasantness was some guy asking me if I really proposed to live for a month in San Diego on the $1000 in readies I had on me (if I’d been indigent they’d have told me to hop it). I gently explained the concept of VISA cards to him and all was well.

    However, last trip to the UK was via Toronto with big layovers each way. Outbound, the Canadian immigration guy expressed what appeared to be genuine regret that I was not staying in Canada but only passing through. On return, I had a layover in Houston as well and US immigration was rather bizarrely in Canada. The bullet-headed ICE goon watching the line went all GySgt Hartman on some poor guy checking his email on his phone. The contrast could not have been more stark.

  18. Some sympathy as she probably thinks the Ozzie method, where one interacts with machines rather than officialdom, is the norm. Right biometric passport, right evisa and it’s five mins to the taxidriver, what a pleasure!

  19. Is it unfair of me that whenever someone gets crappy treatment from the public sector, I check if they are a Statist/Lefty before deciding whether to feel sympathy or not?

  20. In fairness she is a consistent leftie. She thinks people should be able to come to Australia without limit, permission or visa. Clearly she thinks America should adopt the same stance as well.

  21. My first experience of US immigration was instructive and certainly ensured future visits would be limited and that I would behave in the immigration hall when I did visit.

    To be fair we had been warned, ad nauseum, about taking food in to the USA so the woman who had given a child in a push chair an apple didn’t deserve a great deal of sympathy. However, the way immigration (may have been customs, it was a long time ago) officials went berserk was frightening. Mother and child in tears, other adults in group visibly shocked to the point of shaking, whilst being harangued by two females who went on for about 5 minutes.

    This was pre 9/11 and at a time when getting internal flights was the same as getting a bus so it wasn’t terrorist related.

    A shame because it put me off going to the US and when I have visited I have enjoyed it and found the people good company and very hospitable. We had a wonderful 3 weeks touring the various canyons and other features but I still remember how uncomfortable I found SF immigration when we arrived.

  22. I visited America before 9-11 and the onset of the DHS/TSA scum/perverts.

    The stone-faced cunt I talked to at immigration had the attitude –both to me and others in front of me in the queue–that he was seemingly interviewing a group of criminals and yobs who were trying to move into his street.

    It is the sort of thing you could easily expect from the French but not Americans.

  23. Which just proves they should be doing more to keep foreigners out of America.

    Yes. The people who will blow up trains and cafes because someone treated them like shit at immigration for 45 minutes are exactly the people you want to keep out.

  24. However, the way immigration (may have been customs, it was a long time ago) officials went berserk was frightening.

    If it was an airport, then it would be “CBP” (Customs and Border Protection) who enforce USDA regulations on the movement of produce across the US border.

    I was stopped at a USDA checkpoint travelling from Walnut Creek in Northern California into Nevada, where we were quizzed about what produce we had in the car with us.

    Apparently chocolate bars, coffee and donuts didn’t count. This was late 1994 or early 1995 and it made me think at the time that the USA wasn’t quite the haven of freedom I had led to believe it to be.

  25. @SMFS

    Aye, good point, she looks consistent there.

    Be interesting to see what her view on “fine, but I’m not paying that tax to fund your beliefs” would be. I tend to expect the jackboots at that point.

    I had a very quick look for her views on the fate of the Aborigines to see how consistent her apparent weak borders beliefs are, but sadly couldn’t find anything.

  26. Went to the US in 1988 and 1990, was pretty young but don’t remember much trouble or holdup – not the kind that would stick with you. Did find Americans to be a polite bunch. Just chucking in my too minor data points.

  27. You get stopped on the road somewhere between South Australia and Western Australia by quarantine officials. The last time I drove it, I answered the very cheerful quarantine lady that I wasn’t sure if I had any prohibited goods. We checked the stuff, and sure enough I had some honey. I apologised and she said: “quite alright, thank you for co-operating”. 🙂

  28. Edward M. Grant: I’ve spent half an hour just queuing to get out of the EU in Frankfurt before.

    I’ve been waiting over 40 years.

  29. Edward M. Grant: I’ve spent half an hour just queuing to get out of the EU in Frankfurt before.

    I’ve been waiting over 40 years.

    *Badum-tish! ♬♬* 🙂

  30. US immigration has a long tradition of this sort of behaviour – I remember being warned about it the first time I went 30 years ago.

  31. We decided to drive back from Cyprus in ’88 with car stuffed to the gunnels and 18 month old son somehow wedged ion the back seat. We were stopped by customs at Thesilonika who started to take the car apart. They were very interested in the slow cooker for some reason and the pepper pot was taken apart with much suspicion. Door panels and dash board were removed and the bonnet was up while they inspected the engine compartment. We were getting the full treatment.

    They were polite and efficient but as soon as they found my uniform they couldn’t have been more helpful. They put the car back together, helped me repack and entertained our son while doing so and waved us on our way.

    The old east European borders were a breeze as was getting in to Austria.

  32. The old east European borders were a breeze as was getting in to Austria.

    It depends. David Irving found getting into Austria to be a breeze, but getting out involved a rather long diversion through the Austrian courts system and the chokey.

    A detestable little man, but didn’t deserve going to jail just for his point of view, no matter how bizarre or delusional.

  33. I have never actually had a problem getting into the US over several decades of going there. But it certainly can be one of the most time consuming tasks. However the “Global Entry” system which UK citizens can now register for at the US Embassy in London is an absolute breeze. It totally transforms the experience of getting through US immigration and customs. Of course you do need to be “accepted”.

  34. I didn’t have any trouble when I went to US in 2004 and 2005. However I had an amusing conversation with a security woman at the airport in DC. She was some Latin American lady who asked me a question and because of her accent I couldn’t understand what she said.

    I replied: “You what?”

    She replies very slowly: “Do. You. Speak. English.”

    I replied equally slowly: “I. Am. English.”

    No problem after that, she just let me go.

  35. “Is it unfair of me that whenever someone gets crappy treatment from the public sector, I check if they are a Statist/Lefty before deciding whether to feel sympathy or not?”

    Surely it depends on whether the statist goons are implementing a lefty or a righty policy?

    In this case, I think strict border controls are a righty policy? So they’re your statist goons, this time?

    “Yes. The people who will blow up trains and cafes because someone treated them like shit at immigration for 45 minutes are exactly the people you want to keep out.”

    The sort of people who will treat people like shit at immigration (or anywhere else) are the ones you want to keep out. Deport them all!

    Actually, it’s just another example of the ‘Stanford Prison Experiment’ effect. It ought to be part of the training.

  36. Do immigration departments attract jobsworth little authoritarian wankers or does being an immigration official turn you in to one?

  37. I have never actually had a problem getting into the US over several decades of going there. But it certainly can be one of the most time consuming tasks.

    I doubt that any of us here have ever been refused entry by the US as that tends not to be the problem, it is the shitty attitude of the US border guards, regardless of the actual agency employing them or the relevant threat levels.

    They were shitty in the past, they are shitty at the present and I fully expect them to be shitty in the future…

    However the “Global Entry” system which UK citizens can now register for at the US Embassy in London is an absolute breeze. It totally transforms the experience of getting through US immigration and customs. Of course you do need to be “accepted”.

    All very well, but it requires the payment of a £42 processing fee as well as a non-refundable payment of $100 dollars for the opportunity to apply for a Global Entry visa, which may or may not be granted (although I doubt your average middle class bloke born in the UK would get refused).

    If you are travelling in and out of the US a lot then it might seem like a reasonable price to pay for convenience (especially if you can put it though your company as a business travel expense), but I personally don’t like the practice.

    I stopped going to the US when they started the “Mickey Mouse Tax” on US Electronic Visas (ESTA), which currently costs $14

    I’m not aware that US Citizens have to pay a similar charge to come to the United Kingdom on a reciprocal basis.

  38. Do immigration departments attract jobsworth little authoritarian wankers or does being an immigration official turn you in to one?

    Yes. 🙂

    What I find most hard to fathom is an obviously Nigerian UK border guard interrogating a native of Great Britain as to where I have been as if I am the interloper.

    Clearly I am a racist.

  39. What I find most hard to fathom is an obviously Nigerian UK border guard interrogating a native of Great Britain as to where I have been as if I am the interloper.

    Lol! I’ve been there at LHR thinking exactly the same. Some Pakistani asking what I’ve been doing in China. Had to bite my lip, don’t want to get back roomed for being ‘racist’.

  40. What I find most hard to fathom is an obviously Nigerian UK border guard interrogating a native of Great Britain as to where I have been as if I am the interloper.

    Lol! I’ve been there at LHR thinking exactly the same. Some Pakistani asking what I’ve been doing in China. Had to bite my lip, don’t want to get back roomed for being ‘racist’.

  41. My grandfather went to Frankfurt three times, and met with a certain amount of resistance. He didn’t land on any of the three occasions. Ditto Berlin, Duisberg, Hamburg, Munich, Cologne, Stuttgart, Dortmund and Dusseldorf. After one exhausting flight to Dresden and back (where he also didn’t land) he is reported to have said: “I’m not going back there again!”

  42. “What I find most hard to fathom is an obviously Nigerian UK border guard interrogating a native of Great Britain as to where I have been as if I am the interloper.”

    At Manchester, most of the immigration and security officials seem to be Pakistanis, and to be herded, cajoled and interrogated in their heavily accented English is a real joy I can tell you.

  43. Witchie, that reminds me of the old story about the BA pilot flying into Frankfurt and bring given a hard time by air traffic control. The operator eventually lost patience and asked whether he’d ever been to Frankfurt before, whereupon the pilot said, “yes, just once, in 1944. I didn’t land.”

  44. @NiV

    Touche!

    Not a bad point. They wouldn’t be my statist goons ‘cos I’m not a statist, but that is specific to me. The problem with being a statist of either stripe is you can’t guarantee it’ll be your goons running the show all the time. Best not to risk it.

    North Korea has very strong border controls. So did East Germany. Machine guns and landmines and stuff.

    Should the Stanford experiment be to show them what not to do, or would we risk having them think it is?

  45. Never had a problem getting into the States on the few times I’ve been. I give the surly guards a big smile and tell them how much I like Americans and America and they just wave me through.

    On my way out once at the height of a Gulf War they were frisking every third person and I, a tenth generation Londoner, got the third degree. Behind me in the queue was my best mate. They ignored him totally, which always amuses me as he was born in Baghdad.

  46. North Korea has very strong border controls. So did East Germany. Machine guns and landmines and stuff.

    Just remember, it wasn’t a “wall” it was an “anti-fascist protective rampart” (“antifaschistischer Schutzwall”)

    Never had a problem getting into the States on the few times I’ve been. I give the surly guards a great, big shit-eating grin and tell them how much I like Americans and America and they just wave me through.

    There. Fixed that for you.

    The septics never were very good with irony, were they? 🙂

  47. Do immigration departments attract jobsworth little authoritarian wankers or does being an immigration official turn you in to one?

    I wonder if there’s a special farm or something that breeds them, as they tend to work on the railways too.

    E.g. I’ve seen the nickname “red gestapo” used for some of the folks working the Gatwick-London line. It does make me cringe a bit to think that one of the first experiences visitors to England get can be with a band of surly pedants. That and their shock at the ticket price and only getting a seat if lucky. Rude and, dare I say it, damned un-English way to treat a guest.

  48. Being Iranian my visa takes some time to get when I’ve been to the US. Last time was a few years ago to Orlando. Nearly 2 hours to get through the airport. Long queues at passport control. Took 15 minutes to process our group of 4. During this time I watched the busy bodies who couldn’t cope with a group of disabled kids in the next queue, ending up forcibly taking their fingerprints as the kids couldn’t understand the instructions.

  49. ‘She thinks people should be able to come to Australia without limit, permission or visa.’

    I’m sure China has a contingency plan for that.

  50. Gotta love government. Government agents hassle people at airports. But we’ve got 11,000,000 invaders that the government refuses to take action on. Same govenment.

    Americans voted for Trump to change that.

  51. Gotta love government. Government agents hassle people at airports. But we’ve got 11,000,000 invaders that the government refuses to take action on. Same government.

    Not strictly true. It would be closer to say that the level of government responsible for enforcement (federal for national immigration in the form of the Citizenship and Immigration Service) is in conflict with the requirements of local and city governments requirements, primarily on policing.

    An example of this being the institution of Special Order 40 by Los Angeles Police chief Daryl Gate in 1979.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special_Order_40

    Things like Sanctuary Cities stemmed from this and other similar approaches until in much of the mainland United States illegal immigrants could live and work with relative impunity.

    Whether Donald Trump’s election promises to enforce the existing immigration acts will actually convert to real action remains to be seen.

    I personally am quite hopeful that it will as it sends the right message to the rest of the world and particularly mainland Europe that there is a limit to the amount of acceptable immigration.

    Whether our European colleagues will learn that lesson before they are swamped with the followers of the Religion of Peace remains to be seen. I am not so hopeful for places like France and Germany, but suspect that Eastern and Southern Europe will get their shit together and push the invaders back into the sea.

    Deus Vult! as our ancestors might have said…

  52. Genuinely transiting in the US can be an entertaining experience, as they really don’t get it: “Where will you spend your first night in the USA?” “I’m not, I’m on a plane outta here in two hours.” etc. To be fair, there aren’t too many places where this is even possible, LAX for flights the ‘wrong’ way to Australasia being one of them.

    As for immigration generally, my experience has simply been a ‘hurry up and queue’ hassle. It’s obviously worse at the most popular spots – JFK is worse than Newark, and MSP is better than either. I like direct flights to places with limited international service – Phoenix where there are only a handful of ‘international’ flights each day and the immigration folks seem glad to have something to do.

    O/T it always amuses me that every Hicksville airport loves to call itself “Hicksville International”, simply because there’s one flight a week to Canada or Mexico.

  53. A friend of mine, a very cultivated and calm chap 15 years older than me, complained bitterly about his treatment by US immigration officials. I remember it clearly: must have been in about 1974.

  54. Edward Lud, It was the joke that prompted my post. In the same vein, the control tower once instructed a pilot to ‘Follow the little Fokker’. On another occasion, a Lufhansa pilot was told off for speaking German, to which he responded that he was flying a German airliner, in German airspace, to land at a German airport, so why did he have to speak English? A BA pilot replied on the same channel: “It’s because you lost the fuckin’ war, Fritz!”

  55. @Gamecock

    Gotta love government. Government agents hassle people at airports. But we’ve got 11,000,000 invaders that the government refuses to take action on. Same govenment.

    Chuckle. On a similar note, I do find government is very good at insisting on measures to deal with problems, but kinda leaves out the government’s hand in making the problems in the first place. Self-perpetuating, so quite clever really.

  56. Fox has been (from Oz) to US 116 times before? Fuckadilly – her CO2 must be amazing! She’s responsible for climate change all on her own …

  57. I wonder if there is / was some policy origin for the long-standing arsedness. Observe people under pressure, or some such. Maybe it’s just a tradition of hazing.

  58. A Particular Cow, by Mem Fox (2006)

    When a particular cow goes for her particular morning flight to the US, usually nothing happens. Until one particular Saturday …

    Does anyone want the rest?

  59. If they were dicks before, they will be dicks turned up to 11 now that they have a president setting such a good example of how to interact with foreigners.

    It’s enough to have caused us to re-think 2-3 trips we had planned this year. Wife had booked a trip with friends this summer, one of whom looks like and has a Muslimmy name. So that’s cancelled, and we are looking elsewhere for other trips, despite the US being the most convenient gateway / destination for us.

  60. @Sandman:

    Maybe you should try Canada? Banff National Park in Alberta, Canada and Montreal are particular nice places to visit.

    Depends upon the exchange rate though, obviously.

  61. “…he was flying a German airliner, in German airspace, to land at a German airport, so why did he have to speak English?”

    Even the French airmen speak English; it’s quite marvellous. And militaries the world over keep to Zulu (GMT).

  62. “Do immigration departments attract jobsworth little authoritarian wankers or does being an immigration official turn you in to one?”

    Both. And age seems to have something to do with it.

    I frequently cross the US-Canada border at the Rooseville crossing to Montana. The old border post was manned by a bunch of old boys who were friendly, and relaxed, but thorough regardless. When they got to know me they didn’t even leave the booth, just said “Hi Fred” and waved me through. They knew I was going to buy building material, groceries or beer, having seen me do it dozens of times.

    They once let me and a brother through with only drivers licenses for ID, accompanied by a bunch of teenage, none with IDs at all. My two sons, one of them adopted and black, my brother’s son with a different last name because of a divorce and our two nephews from another brother not present. They did back room all of us and asked the boys if they knew us. My adopted son has a bit of smart mouth and he denied ever seeing us before. We told the old guy we were going to Eureka to shoot off American 4th of July fireworks at the local gravel pit. He let us through after telling me my kid was a smart alec, which I knew.

    Now we have a large new building, lots more men because of 9-11, most of them young. With the newness and the youth comes testosterone and aggressiveness. Also, they seem to get transferred in and out more frequently. Ugh. They are a pain in the ass.

    Oh well, the Canadian post used to have red haired woman, can’t remember her name, who was worse than the Americans, thank God she’s gone.

  63. On my first trip to the US, a couple of months after 11/09, whilst in my early 20s, I’m surprised they actually let me in. It was a lads weekend in Chicago and we hadn’t realised until boarding that it was free beer for an 11 hour flight. 5 of us managed to drink them out of Bud during the flight.

    Upon meeting immigration I was met with “What’s the purpose of your visit boy?” by a surly gentleman dressed in camouflage, carrying a gun.
    “None of your business mate and don’t call me boy”
    That didn’t go down too well from my vague recollection and it took quite a bit of persuading from a more sober mate for him to move onto his next line of questioning over where we were staying. He seemed reluctant to accept “Steve’s flat ” as that was all we knew, couldn’t even contact said Steve as our phones weren’t tri-band at that time.
    Somehow, they let us through in the end…

    I was probably more of a dick than the immigration guy in that instance.

  64. Although calling an adult guest “boy” in a surly manner is pretty dickish, definitely not very professional. “Son” I wouldn’t have minded so much. “Young man” would have been completely fine. Sounds like the guy liked making his job tougher than it needed to be.

  65. Lucky on the address thing I had a colleague sent to a look through a pile of phone books because he didn’t have the zip code for his hotel.
    Doing something they don’t expect confuses them, when we had to flag pole (leave Canada and return) to activate residency we figured we would make a day for it and go for a drive, much questioning ensued when we said this

  66. Cynic, I suspect the hassle at airports airports is calculated to give the plebes the belief that the government is “tough on immigration.” I.e., it could be Kabuki theater.

  67. Many international flights leave US airports from domestic terminals, so they have no choice

    Well they could design their airports better.

    Dallas had no need to take an 90 minutes to process us (twice) in transit, since we didn’t even change terminals.

    We had ESTA. It made no difference.

  68. I’ve been to the US many times over the last 30 years, mostly on business, and I’ve never had a problem with Immigration or Customs. I used to have a visa before the days of visa waiver and I used it after VW started. The guy at, I think, SFO explained that they were now cancelling visas for people who can get in under VW, so he cancelled it but then let me in. On holiday in the late 90s, we arrived in the US & then visited Canada for a fortnight or so, leaving & returning on I5 north of Seattle. When we came back & explained we were leaving from SeaTac in a few days he let us back in with no further process.
    The only time I’ve ever been stopped at customs was in NZ in 1991 with two small children after a 30 hour flight and all our bags were checked. I suspect they were looking for food or plant material as they are very hot on that.

  69. Well they could design their airports better.

    They design them to be convenient for Americans, not foreigners.

    Whether Donald Trump’s election promises to enforce the existing immigration acts will actually convert to real action remains to be seen.

    I’ve seen a number of posts by Americans in the last few weeks saying ‘where’d all the Mexicans go?’ Seems like many may be either heading back to Mexico, or to the nearest ‘illegal immigrant protection zone’.

  70. Theatre – most certainly, and not just border security.

    A lot of stuff that’s genuinely valuable (by definition) we will never see.

  71. 90% of flights out of US airports are to destinations in the US. Therefore, they don’t care about separating domestic from international, which is why people transiting must enter the US. This is also why I don’t transit the US.

    Also, most US airports don’t separate departing and arriving passengers.

  72. Been a few times to the states pre and post 9/11. Generally the immigration people were unpleasant, with the odds real tosser thrown in for good measure.

    One time I was tired and cranky and asked the border guard what would happen with their fingerprint scanner if I didn’t have any hands. That did not go down well – I quickly shut up and modern on

  73. @Edward M. Grant
    “They design them to be convenient for Americans, not foreigners.”
    Last time I was at Miami Americans seemed to be suffering as much as tourists. Part of the problem is that they make transit passengers, pick up their luggage, put it through customs and then put it on the plane again.
    It is more work for everyone and makes the delays awful.

  74. I have Global Entry, so I don’t have to talk to US Immigration at all. Throw in TSA Precheck so you don’t have to take your shoes off etc at security, and it’s the best $100 I’ve ever spent.

  75. A friend of mine spent 9 hours in a Moscow jail for having a gun in his checked baggage. He was transitting Russia on his way to one of the Stans to go hunting. Eventually cleared an on his way.

    I have heard of people being arrested in London in similar circumstances when their flights to Africa were diverted and made an unscheduled landing in London. UK laws applied to people inadvertently there.

    Not saying it isn’t ridiculous in US airports, just saying it can be ridiculous elsewhere, too.

  76. Last time I entered the US – on a road somewhere in the backwoods of Washington State – I don’t think the staff had ever seen a British person before; they had to specially download the right form for their computer, before they could process us.

    And I have to say – they were absolutely the soul of politeness and helpfulness throughout, and kept apologising that the process took, oh, maybe fifteen minutes.

    Needless to say there was no queue – a few people went through the border, in both directions, while we were there, and they just waved to the agents and drove on. Everyone seemed to know everyone by name.

    My advice – stay away from big airports.

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