Experiences at the Airport and Ports of Entry

Has your foreign national colleague or employee encountered problems with the Customs and Border Protection at the airport or at the port of entry? How do you deal with a rude, unresponsive and intransient officer? The U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency (CBP) has now embraced the philosophy that “complaints are to be viewed as opportunities to improve our service to travelers”. With that approach, the CBP has now implemented a number of procedures to report, register complaints or compliment the CBP. Now the foreign national will have the following options:

  1. COMMENT CARD PROGRAM. This permits you to express, in writing, complaints or compliments that you experienced upon entry, personal search or Secondary Inspection.
  2. A COMPLAINT AT THE CBP INFO CENTER. In the airports or points of entry where Info Centers have been established, you may register a complaint. The Info Center office should be back in contact with you, your attorney or congressional office by telephone to acknowledge receipt of the complaint and to seek to resolve it expeditiously. This process is not accessible under the Freedom of Information (FOIA) procedures as FOIA requests must be in writing.
  3. PASSENGER SERVICE REPRESENTATIVE (PSR) CONTACTS. A prospective complainant may seek out the PSR to register the complaint or compliment.
  4. TELEPHONIC OR VERBAL COMPLAINTS. These complaints are recorded in a Complaint Information Data Sheet and CBP, through its port directors, supervisors or PSRs, should contact the complainant within one business day to acknowledge receipt and seek resolution.

It is refreshing to know that the CBP is making an effort to eliminate rude, uncooperative and unresponsive border entry incidents. Although we applaud the CBP for its goals and aspirations, we will await responses from our clients to ascertain if the CBP has effectively implemented these goals and eased the burden of international travelers when they are arriving in the United States. We will appreciate any compliments or complaints that you or your employees may have concerning these programs.

Finally, we would remind you that the CBP has now eliminated the Departure Record (I-94) card which was stapled to the alien’s passport. To assist your foreign employees to maintain proper legal status in the United States, we would request that they provide us with a copy of the computer printout which CBP will generate upon their entry. If the employee did not receive such a document upon their arrival, we will be able to access in the CBP computer system if the employee will provide us with the following information:

  • Family Name
  • Given Name
  • Birth Date
  • Passport Number
  • Country of Issuance of Passport
  • Most Recent Date of Entry
  • Class of Admission

All of the information must be precise as to what was inputted by the alien upon their arrival. If any of the information is at variance, then a computer printout may be inaccessible. We are finding that 10% of our clients are having difficulty accessing the computer printout as the data was either erroneously inputted or has been erroneously recalled. If the alien employee becomes an overstay, immigration laws provide that their visa is automatically cancelled and they must obtain a new visa upon their departure prior to a subsequent return to the U.S. If they have remained in the U.S. in unlawful presence for more than six months consecutively, upon departure from the U.S. they are barred from getting a new visa for three years and if the unlawful presence continues for more than one year consecutively, the bar is ten years. Because of these draconian consequences, it is imperative that the foreign national maintain proper legal status in the U.S. at all times. We shall assist them if they will provide us with the CBP computer printout upon their entry into the country. Obviously, it is the responsibility of the foreign national to maintain their legal status and we are happy to assist them in monitoring if we are provided with the information and documentation requested timely.