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us immigration

Sutton, United...
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81 posts
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us immigration

HI

Just to say we are not impressed by US customs and immigration.

After a 10 hour flight from London to San Francisco we were kept standing for 2 1/2 hours in a queue at immigration because the computers kept breaking down. What a welcome to the US! Naturally we got no explanation or apology. What if they break down altogether - don't we get in at all?

Thousand Oaks...
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for Israel
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1. Re: us immigration

I'm a US citizen and I don't care much for our immigration procedures too much either.

San Francisco
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2. Re: us immigration

Actually, that's rather unusual ... at least in SF. I find SFO to be an excellent port of entry, especially with the new and spacious International Terminal. Try the cattle call which is JFK or ORD. Or LHR for that matter. And government workers are never well versed in the fine points of customer service LOL!!

How about the rest of your stay? What did you do and see? Did you like your hotel? How about a trip report ....

Sutton, United...
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3. Re: us immigration

Working on it! See under California Zephyr in a couple of days. Also reviewed a few hotels, restaurants,etc. Great trip......................

San Francisco...
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for San Francisco
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4. Re: us immigration

I hate the immigration process. I never know where I stand. I'm a registered Domestic Partner, but that's only in California, so I don't think the federal government counts us as a family. So to cover all bases we always fill out our own immigration cards.

I'm not even sure how that works with legally married couples from Massachusetts or a small window of time from California. Our federal government doesn't recognize us as couples or families, so I guess immigration doesn't either.

LA
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5. Re: us immigration

You are free to leave at any time.

Don't let the door hit you in the bum on the way out.

--
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6. Re: us immigration

1. You can always register your discontent with somebody who has the authority to do something about it:

Secretary Janet Napolitano

Department of Homeland Security

Washington, DC 20528

Assistant Secretary John Morton

Immigration and Customs Enforcement

Washington, DC 20536

2. No matter how many times they change their name and cabinet affiliation "La Migra" (officially the US Immigration and Custom Enforcement agency and formerly the Immigration and Naturalization Service), in my opinion will remain a broken, power-mad, arbitrary and capricious bureaucratic body until every one of their employees is terminated with extreme prejudice, their buildings razed, and salt strewn upon the sites to prevent anything from growing in the future. That being said:

3. The need/love affair with computers places people vulnerable to delays, if not a good deal worse, in all kinds of daily activities, such as getting money from the bank, buying groceries (with point of purchase inventory tracking, you can't just switch to cash sales when the computer system tanks), or purchasing a concert ticket. It sounds like this was the case with Immigration at SFO. Annoying, but have you considered the alternate? At one time getting "visa'd up" in preparation for an international trip required filling out applications, physically visiting a consulate or mailing your passport, and other activities weeks in advance of the actual trip. The time and expenses associated with this process would far exceed those with the computerized process, even with the occasional breakdown, if that's what happened.

4. I agree with RamblinSal that in general SFO is an excellent point of entry compared to some of the alternates. One thing that does tend to hit all of the immigration points of entry hard is when multiple international flights all arrive in close proximity to each other, either because of routine scheduling or because of flight delays (have those happened recently?). With both the voluntary and because of recent flight problems involuntary focus on cramming passengers into every available seat, as well as the number of passengers modern long-haul aircraft can carry, this floods immigration checkpoints causing delays (and probably hammering their software). Although I'm sympathetic to people waiting in line when all they want to do is get on with their lives or vacations, as a taxpayer I have some difficulty with the idea that my tax dollars being spent for additional staff to handle peak loads when the rest of the time such staff will sit unneeded (and undoubtedly scheming on new and more evil ways to torture anyone who has to make contact with the agency).

Edited: 31 May 2010, 19:33
Vancouver...
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7. Re: us immigration

sfimporter: Are you a U.S. citizen? Just show your U.S. passport. What's the big deal? What does it matter about your relationship with another person? My wife(woman)and I are U.S. citizens, we show our passports and nobody cares is we are married or not. Nothing is asked about it. Your post is confusing. Chuck...

San Francisco
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8. Re: us immigration

While perhaps not as prevelant, I've heard that the flights arriving from Asia are creating some havoc. Between the airlines padding flight times and the jet stream, many flights are showing up way early.

BF came back from Shanghai a few weeks back. I checked the status of the flight an hour before only to find that it had already LANDED!! I did a serious shot down 3 flights of stairs and out to SFO (fortunately it was early Sunday morning.)

Now, even with three flights arriving within 20 minutes of one another, he was through Customs in jig time ... although he had to wait an hour for luggage (thank God, it was the only thing that save my a$$). Perhaps it's situations like that which make their computers freeze up!

And of course I am going through the US Citizens' line, but more often than not they say "welcome home."

Indianapolis
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9. Re: us immigration

Caffiend, you may wish that every employee of the Dept. of Homeland Security is terminated with extreme prejudice, but, unfortunately for me, that would make it impossible to travel to lovely locations such as San Francisco. DHS is my husband's employer, and the source of a good portion of our family income :-). I'm sorry andyjansy had such a bad experience, and I certainly don't have any special knowledge or expertise concerning Customs, but I know every organization has problems, or excessively busy periods at one time or the other. I hope the rest of the OP's vacation went well.

Down Under
Destination Expert
for San Francisco
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10. Re: us immigration

Hey Sal___how come you left LAX off your axis of evil airports list.

I think it's the worst but SFO is usually great.