Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Travel Topics > Air Travel
Reload this Page >

Any idea what this response from Customs and Border Protection means?

Any idea what this response from Customs and Border Protection means?

Old Sep 11th, 2012, 06:30 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 3
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Any idea what this response from Customs and Border Protection means?

Hi there,
I recently traveled to Europe for vacation and on the return trip back to the U.S., was sent for a "secondary inspection." Based on the fact that I already got an entry stamp in my passport and collected my one small suitcase, there was no merit for it - it was obvious the CBP agent was just pissed off that I didn't follow directions (we were being herded like cattle and it was ultra confusing where we were and were not supposed to be going). No one explained why I was there and how long I would be there (over an hour). When my travel companion tried to inquire what was going on, they were told to leave or be arrested. Long story short, I submitted a comment to the Customs and Border Protection, to which I got a reply that was not to my satisfaction. I followed up with another comment, and got the following reply: "A response was sent to the port director's office."

Does anyone have any idea what that means? Does that mean they have now flagged me in the system and I'm in some sort of trouble?!

None of my comments were rude or insulting in any way. It was more of a "this is what happened, and I feel betrayed by the system and wish you would treat travelers with more dignity and respect."

Has anyone received a similar response or could shed some light on what this means? I enjoy traveling but now fear return flights to my local international airport!
lovecats8507 is offline  
Old Sep 11th, 2012, 07:41 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 1,522
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Sorry to hear of your problem. My thoughts on customs and immigration both in US and canada is...Whoever they are (male or female) they have the ultimate power at their command..Smile, do as you are told and don't even mention rights..The meaning of the word is lost when the uniform comes on!!! I have had very snarky people and friendly folks and once got pulled aside as I had my US passport entering Canada and no proof of Canadian cit or resident papers..got asked some silly questions and was passed because I knew what the original name of the Olympic ski jump venue...Paskapoo. Was told I must be ok based on this. Who knows what goes on in their heads..
amer_can is offline  
Old Sep 12th, 2012, 06:04 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 2,032
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
>Based on the fact that I already got an entry stamp in my passport and collected my one small suitcase, there was no merit for it

Aside from the treatment experienced, note that the above two events (passport control and baggage collection) have nothing to do with the Customs portion of entering the country. Yes, there is another check on travelers at that point, and that is where they nabbed you.

And amer_can, be aware that when they ask questions like that they usually don't care what your response is. They look more at attitudes and reactions (silly elementary psychological observations). I've had this happen a few times and I did a small smile/laugh and admitted I had no idea ... and was nonetheless admitted.
NoFlyZone is offline  
Old Sep 12th, 2012, 06:45 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 5,955
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Just so you know, CBP randomly singles out travelers for "secondary inspection" all the time. It doesn't matter what your citizenship is whether you are male or female, adult or child. It can happen to anybody. And like NoFlyZone says, it has nothing to do with your entry stamp from Immigrations or how much or how little luggage you have.

Being selected for "secondary inspection" doesn't mean you did anything wrong (although getting "huffy" with the CBP agents is never a good idea) and it doesn't necessarily mean you've been "flagged" and in some sort of trouble. The fact you were "inspected" indicates just the opposite - i.e. everything was fine!

As I said, random inspections happen all day long, 365 days a year - in most instances it's just a minor inconvenience and you are on your way in 5 or 10 minutes. If you travel enough, odds are it will happen to you again. All of us have gone through it at one time or another. If you are not carrying any contraband it's no "biggie"!
RoamsAround is offline  
Old Sep 12th, 2012, 09:37 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 11,334
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I have been singled out for the secondary screening as well. You just have to accept it. No arguing or smart remarks. Turns out that, when I filled out my customs form, I misspelled my last name. I was very tired after nearly 20 hours of flying... I had to laugh when the customs agent showed me my form! He asked me to spell (aloud) my last name. We talked about what I had purchased, etc. Then he just said "OK, you can go."
simpsonc510 is offline  
Old Sep 12th, 2012, 10:26 AM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 2,025
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I was once singled out for secondary inspection along with one other passenger: he was about 6'3, a young, muscular black man; I was a petite, not so young, white woman.
We looked at each other and said: " well, at least we know they're not profiling!"

Another time I was singled out, in Paris, and they used their wand on me about 3 times - finally, they told me it was the hand cream I had used just before passing through security - no more hand cream for me !
MarnieWDC is offline  
Old Sep 12th, 2012, 11:43 AM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 462
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I think these kinds of situations are the reality of our post 9/11 world. It happens to most of us sooner or later, and I never take it personally. One time I laughingly asked the person who quizzed and wanded and searched me if I look like a desperado. I'm a 65 yr. old nondescript caucasian woman. She laughed and said it was random. One time, can't remember where, I was taken aside and asked to raise my sleeve and show my left wrist. When anything like that happens to me, I thank the security person for doing their best to keep us safe.
1965 is offline  
Old Sep 13th, 2012, 01:52 PM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,525
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Try being an international flight attendant who had double knee replacements-they are more thorough than my doctors even though my fingerprints are on file with Homeland Security!
dutyfree is offline  
Old Sep 14th, 2012, 06:48 AM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 7,313
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
We were singled out driving into Canada (from Maine) last time, and they had us unpack our whole car and look through. No worries, we were polite, they were polite, we were laughing and joking with them. It's just what they have to do.
GreenDragon is offline  
Old Sep 20th, 2012, 02:27 PM
  #10  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 3
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks for the all the input! Looks like secondary (or unbelievably extensive, as in the case of the Maine to Canada traveler!) happen more often than I thought. I agree that all these inspections do add an extra layer of protection and security, which is appreciated, though I do still consider that all the hoops we have to jump through just to get back into our own country can be excessive and absurd at times - e.g., thoroughly inspecting flight attendants with knee replacements (!). My biggest issue with the whole inspection business is the level of disrespect some of these CBP folks show travelers. I came across both downright hostile and extremely kind and understanding agents. However, people do come in all sorts of personalities with all kinds of quirks. Maybe it all depends on who you get and what kind of mood they're in. I suppose all of us here are still incredibly lucky to not have had the experiences of some individuals legitimately trying to cross the U.S.-Mexico border - there are plenty of stories recorded by the ACLU where. But given the fact that my letter(s) were sent to the port director's office, who knows what will happen next time I return from overseas through our international airport!
lovecats8507 is offline  
Old Sep 20th, 2012, 07:00 PM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 636
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I was once visiting Canada from the UK, where I lived, to give a lecture at a conference. I was sent to secondary because the agent thought that I was "doing business" in Canada and needed a visa.

So off I quietly went to secondary. And there the agent laughed, apologized and said some of the new staff weren't familiar with all the rules yet. Clearly, a Canadian citizen (as I was, I just happened to be living in the UK at the time) didn't need a visa to "do business" in Canada.
frogoutofwater is offline  
Old Sep 21st, 2012, 06:05 AM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 7,313
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
What's funny is, while we were chatting with the inspectors (as they were going through our stuff), they asked how long it had been since we'd been to Canada. My MIL, who has family in New Brunswick, goes every couple of years. I hadn't been since I went there for summers as a child about 35 years before. They expressed concern and horror that it had taken so long for me to return to their fair country!
GreenDragon is offline  
Old Sep 21st, 2012, 03:23 PM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 20,593
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I followed up with another comment, and got the following reply: "A response was sent to the port director's office."

I may be wrong, but I think your respond to their reply was forwarded to somebody next in rank. The first reply to you was from somebody who handles complaints, there should be another reply from a manager or director?
Dayenu is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Original Poster
Forum
Replies
Last Post
SeekerOfTheWay
Air Travel
10
May 19th, 2015 03:21 PM
mbeyeorr
Europe
12
Jul 16th, 2012 07:21 AM
amymcswain
Cruises
10
Sep 15th, 2009 09:25 AM
Jack31
Europe
11
Nov 6th, 2003 05:00 AM
L. Montgomery
Europe
22
Jan 4th, 2003 07:08 PM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Manage Preferences - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell or Share My Personal Information -