mardi 14 juillet 2009

Immigration Officers at New York.. not representative of USA

Where do they get them from?

Arrived at the EWR international airport after a swift and smooth flight from Paris. There were only two people in front of me at the line so I was happy but when I went to face the immigration officer who had an appropriate face to go with his name PAGAN, I knew I was in for some trouble. He does not ask me any questions. Writes something into the computer and calls over another man who takes me into another room.

Why this sudden attention? My brand new Australian passport, issued just a few days ago in Washington DC but given to me in Paris and this is the first international trip with this new passport and this is what attracted Mr Pagan. Why cant he ask a question? Like do you have the old passport with you , which I did, but instead you are in a room full of people, majority of them probably had committed no errors but are there because the recruitment process of the Immigration Officers has its flaws. Why cant they take a few lessons from Israeli Security? Rather than selecting such muscular types with bald heads, with nothing much inside them, it would be good to recruit intelligent people who do not have to spend hours in the gym rather than reading a book and are rude and without manners. The security agent who questioned me at Paris airport when I left for Tel Aviv was a slim, 20 something recent graduate, but she knew a lot and could ask questions and distinguish between innocent clever people travelling and some seedy ones. It takes intelligent people to know who the other intelligent people are and they could do with some recruits to the Border Patrol and Border Security..

All through the wait of only ½ hour, even though the room was full of people, bleary eyed from long flights, and almost all of them were being cleared but you can imagine sitting there up to one hour for two officers working through the papers… and the anxiety of missing flights and in the case of the Chinese in the room.. even deportation.. there were no really suspicious characters around, there was an elderly lady in wheelchair, a Nigerian with a stylish bag, a brasilian with a Portuguese passport, whole lot of dutch and germans.. one or two Indians.. so I am convinced that they were all there because the immigration agent didn’t do a good job at his desk and sent them over here..

Customs was a breeze and the rechecking was done within seconds. The people at Continental Airlines were polite and helpful and .. off to the Lounge..