41 Responses

  1. Michi Nakagama Magee
    Michi Nakagama Magee at |

    That is really upsetting to hear.?

    1. Seth Miller
      Seth Miller at |

      I will not lie to immigration officers. I know better than that. But I hesitate every time I enter the country to use the word “journalist” in my answers. Far more than I used to.

  2. Barry Marc Goldberg
    Barry Marc Goldberg at |

    And this happened before Trump

    1. Seth Miller
      Seth Miller at |

      Yup. My real concern on that front is a renewed sense of entitlement on the part of the officers to act with impunity and to “have fun” ruining people’s lives. NYT quotes some as saying the job is “fun” again. That’s not good for anyone. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/25/us/ice-immigrant-deportations-trump.html

    2. Barry Marc Goldberg
      Barry Marc Goldberg at |

      Someone should point out that if immigration goes down then the need for agents may go down

      1. RakSiam
        RakSiam at |

        Exactly. It almost seems like they’re trying to put themselves out of business.

  3. Mary Bernadette Kirby
    Mary Bernadette Kirby at |

    I haven’t been Googled but I have been verbally tested with aircraft-related questions after answering “aviation journalist and editor” to the question about what business brought me to X country. Some male officers, at PHL in particular, have been downright inappropriate. You’re from “little tits”?

    1. Egemen Yilmaz
      Egemen Yilmaz at |

      I was verbally quizzed at EHAM. Questions about database marketing, CRM integration, Oracle databases, why I carry 2 laptops, examples of marketing campaigns. I was also demanded to present a business card. And in the end I was told they did what they did because I was out of breath when I got to the gate. Told them it’s b/c Delta agent told me to run to the gate even if I was at the airport 2+ hours prior to scheduled departure!

    2. Justin Lancy
      Justin Lancy at |


    3. Stefan Paetow
      Stefan Paetow at |

      ? F***ing inappropriate and should be fired for such comments!

      1. Amy
        Amy at |

        Lititz, PA, I presume? Gross and really inappropriate and no way the offending will get anything more than a “good one, Lou.”

  4. Dave
    Dave at |

    I’m inclined to believe the Australian and the Frenchman came here on tourist visas, when the purpose of their trip was work-related, and they should have had different visas. The Aussie said she started crying as soon as she was taken to the secondary interview. Kinda pathetic. The secondary interview is not an uncommon occurrence, and it’s certainly not an indication of imminent expulsion.

  5. Holly Hegeman
    Holly Hegeman at |

    Good grief. You should have reported the guy.

  6. Scott McMurren
    Scott McMurren at |


  7. Keith Murray
    Keith Murray at |

    A friend of mine who works for US government agency but was on vacation had to call up that agency’s website while abroad, to show that his name was listed, as proof that he really did work for them. This was on a trip to Israel and if I recall correctly involved a security officer (not immigration) as he went to board the flight into Tel Aviv from another country in that region. Officer apparently was noticing all the stamps in his passport and having trouble believing he had legitimate gainful employment. The agency’s website proved he did.

  8. Douglas Abbey
    Douglas Abbey at |

    At least they’re not using Wikipedia… Seriously, this is alarming

    1. Seth Miller
      Seth Miller at |

      They did in my case. ?

    2. Douglas Abbey
      Douglas Abbey at |

      What Scott said ^^

  9. Lauren Klesch Lancy
    Lauren Klesch Lancy at |

    I wonder if we’ll be able to explain our peaceful life in Asia…

  10. The Value Traveler
    The Value Traveler at |

    This really sucks… I wonder if they’ll treat me like this traveling with my family. Being brown right now is probably a very dangerous thing.

    1. gavinmac
      gavinmac at |

      The author isn’t brown and none of what CBP is doing lately is new. The did all of this stuff under the prior administration, it just didn’t make the news much because it couldn’t be blamed on Trump-inspired racism then.

  11. gavinmac
    gavinmac at |

    If you’re a US citizen, you’re admissible whether you’re a journalist or not. You should just refuse to answer their questions. They may yell at you and threaten to keep you there forever but then will ultimately let you go in an hour or so.

  12. Mal Muir
    Mal Muir at |

    Ever watched border security. They have Australian, Canadian and US versions of the show (all on Netflix). Good glimpse into their day to day stuff. Guys just doing his job. People will lie their ass off on a daily basis to get into the country.

  13. Sean Roebuck
    Sean Roebuck at |

    Seth your case would’ve been funny had you written the Wikipedia page

  14. JohnB
    JohnB at |

    Sort of related,….I was returning from a month long trip to Asia. I had stayed at a few Conrads and had quite a collection of Conrad Bears. My travel partner and I also had many, I mean many SD cards. About 25 or so cards, most were 32gb. I was going to vlog the trip and later decided that I really needed a vacation. So, one of us gets the dreaded X mark and we have to go to secondary screening by CBP. We’re in the same household, so our bags were co-mingled. Questioning starts with: where did you go, for how long, purpose of trip? So, they start searching our bags. This was done out in the open. We questioned as to what they were looking for? So, the 3 CBP agents started questioning about the Conrad bears. Who were they for, why did we have the bears? They took all of electronics away for examination, including the SD cards. We waited over an hour while this was going on. Luckily our connecting flight was over 3 hours from when we landed. After all this, the CBP agents said that was all.

    Days later, I was talking with a friend, who told me, that men carrying toys must have a likely explanation for carrying those toys. Yes, we do have grand children and we did tell CBP agents that fact. Coming from Thailand with all those SD cards, also made us look like child pornographers. CBP runs those cards thru a program searching for pornography. Since most of the cards were new and blank, that search went fast. If the cards had been previously used and formatted the old images would still be there. A 32gb, previously used card can take much longer to scan.

    Lesson learned take only new SD cards on vacations and don’t bring back suspicious amounts of toys.

  15. Vlad Stelmahovsky
    Vlad Stelmahovsky at |

    @rcmaniac25 also be prepared to balance binary tree, or do a bubble sort or..

  16. John
    John at |

    The lesson here is to say as little as possible. Don’t get chatty with your answers to their questions. Anything you say can and will be used against you.

  17. Jamie Freed
    Jamie Freed at |

    That isn’t good but in some recent cases like the former Norwegian PM and Australian children’s author with US immigration, they should actually be quicker to Google or look at LinkedIn to help verify identity.

  18. Rob Humphris
    Rob Humphris at |

    Bureaucracy / idiocracy out of control. Abolish it and go back to rent a cops. Much easier to fire them when they fail to do their job!

  19. Sice
    Sice at |

    Does this mean Google is the Contracted Extreme Vetting provider?

  20. Ron
    Ron at |

    I really don’t understand the problem.

    Immigration officers in all countries ask questions, in my opinion, and none, to date, have been inappropriate. It is not reasonable to expect them to be an expert in medicine, law, software, etc. So they rely on the internet. Big deal.

    I’ve also been grilled by El Al security prior to a being a late addition to one of their flights. He was polite and I understood his concern. I answered his questions honestly and as best as I could. Big deal.

    I guess if you are a proponent of open borders, some or all of this may bother you.

    Yet, if you respect the fact that countries have borders and that a non-citizen has no right to enter a country without that country’s permission, and that any given country may have security concerns, what’s your acceptable alternative for border agents to follow?

  21. brianscottgross
    brianscottgross at |

    @RunwayGirl not “knowledgeable enough to catch actual experts in lies” but enough to catch IMPOSTORS. In this case not so evil.

    1. Michael D
      Michael D at |

      Not really a deterrent.

      Evil doer one comes to US says she is a brain surgery. The officer asks her what an “extended bifrontal craniotomy” is and she doesn’t know and entry is refused.

      Evil doer two having talked to one says he farms tomatoes and has spent a month googling tomato farms and worked on a tomato farm in preparation. The officer learns how to plant tomatoes. Evil doer gains entry.

      These types of actions are in no way deterrents to evil doers. At best they are annoyances which are quickly thwarted by evil doers.

  22. Nick
    Nick at |

    Yeah US immigration control has been bad enough for foreigners since 9/11. It’s going to seriously dent the economy if it gets worse. It’s going to be difficult to stage large intl. conferences or sporting events in the US with things heading the direction they are going.

  23. Steve Nichols
    Steve Nichols at |

    Not looking forward to coming to LAX later this year for Apex. With a passport full of stamps from the UAE, Bahrain etc post-Trump they’ll have a field day. I do have a US journalist visa, but we’ll see where that gets me. Is Guantanamo nice that time of year!

  24. AlexS
    AlexS at |

    Both TSA & CBP have caused billions of tourism/business dollars to be spent elsewhere. Even domestically, I fly as little as possible despite loving aviation due to the hassle of it. I know of two survivors of sexual assaults who refuse to fly fearing a TSA hand in their crotch.

    Ultimately, the terrorists *have won*. You can’t go into a sporting event, performing arts hall, or even Disney without going through a metal detector & having your items pawed through/x-rayed. All for a threat which is virtually & statistically non-existent. Even at Sandy Hook Elementary, on the day of the shooting. The big story there which was missed was that 95% of the people in the school that day survived unharmed. 95%! BUT…fear sells advertising and fear gets votes from Kettles, so the rest of us have to suffer.

    I do echo the comments that people should watch the Border Patrol series on NetFlix /YouTube and see how the various countries handle immigration and customs and what those agents and officers are having to decide in relatively short periods of time.

    As far as officers using Google, I’d be screwed! I don’t exist online. No MyBook, FaceSpace, or anything like that. I even requested that my employer keep me off their website. My credit reports, despite much churning abuse, still don’t have my address on them.

    Ironically, the worst grillings I get are from the Canadians who seem to think anyone under 40 is there to steal their jobs and mooch off their healthcare system.

  25. Nathan
    Nathan at |

    I work in a very, very similar field, and I’ll often pull up google to verify someone’s claimed background or expertise. Often (most?) of the time in fields that I have little or no experience with. But here’s the thing, I’m not necessarily looking to play gotcha, or pretend to outsmart the other person. It’s often just to see *how* they answer a question. Is it rote and memorized, or more causal and off the cuff? Do your answers display a depth that would be expected from an expert in a field, or more like the a few hours of cramming?

    You don’t always have to be and expert in a truth to tell that someone is lying.

    At the end of the day, as someone suggrsted above, a CPB officer can’t be an expert all at once in Victorian English literature, microbiology, the sport of kabbadi, and integrated chip manufacturing processes. And dedicated imposters will surely be able to fake their way through easily researched questions. But shouldn’t these officers at least make a good faith effort to verify these stories when something may seem a bit off? While it all may seem absurd given you actually are who you claim to be, the fabricators are caught more often than you may believe.