Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Bewildered by Detention at DFW

Collapse
X
  •  
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Bewildered by Detention at DFW

    I hope someone here can shed some light on what happened to me last night when I arrived into the U.S. (DFW) from the U.K. It might be a bit long winded so appologies in advance if you get bored - just want to make sure I give as much info as possible.

    I had completed the green I-94 visa waiver and customs forms and the immigration officer asked the usual questions: purpose of visit (busines) and how long (3 weeks). He scanned my passport then proceeded to take a long time typing on his terminal and looking at the screen. He said nothing to me, filled in an orange form (I couldn't see any of the details) and had someone escort me to a room behind the checkpoint.

    Once inside the room another officer took my documents and started looking things up on his terminal and printing out several documents. He asked me if I had applied for employment authorization in the past (I think that is what he said - I was tired and can't clearly remember). The only thing I could think of was that a company I worked for back in 1998-2001 had applied for an L1 visa and was also going to apply for a greencard on my behalf. The company was bought out at the end of 2001 and most of us original employees were let go. I called the immigration lawyers at the time to find out what my situation would be - they said they couldn't discuss my case and would not give me any case number I could reference with the INS. So I left it at that and just assumed the applications would be void. I explained all this to the officer and then asked him if that was the problem - he wouldn't answer, I asked again if there was some kind of problem I should be aware of as I had been visiting the U.S. many times over the last 3 years and never been questioned before. Again he wouldn't answer. He asked what my business was (property investing), where do I conduct my business (U.S., U.K. and Australia), how much time I usually spend in the U.S. (up to 6 months of the year), where I stayed when in the U.S. (a condo I own in Dallas), did I have a Texas drivers license. I took out my wallet and showed him the license, he then took my wallet away from me and went through the contents.

    He left his desk, taking my wallet and other documents with him, to confer with other officers in the room. I couldn't quite hear what they were saying but picked up things like, "too many visits", "has drivers license and condo in Dallas", "is this legal?". I was kept in the room for about 90 minutes and at this point began to feel like I would be denied entry. Eventually I was summoned over to his desk and he handed back my documents with the usual stamp in my passport allowing entry for up to 90 days. I asked him if there was anything amiss that I should know about, he wouldn't answer, just said "You can go now.".

    O.K., now I may be overly paranoid but I've never had problems entering the U.S. before and am now concerned that I might have problems in the future. I'd probably feel a bit more relaxed if I knew what the problem was to begin with, but it was impossible to get any information out of the officer. Truthfully, I found it a bit intimidating when he just ignored my questions so I didn't push the issue. Should I get in touch with someone in officialdom about this? If so, who as it seems the INS has been broken up, would it be "U.S. Customs and Border Protection"? or some other department?

    Also, given that the officer took my drivers license, credit cards and other documents out of my wallet, should I assume that they have now recorded all of those details? Again, I'm probably being paranoid but I can't help feeling that I've lost a fair amount of my privacy if they have recorded this information (which includes government, business and personal information associated with the U.K., U.S. and Australia).

    Thanks in advance for any advice you can give.

  • #2
    I hope someone here can shed some light on what happened to me last night when I arrived into the U.S. (DFW) from the U.K. It might be a bit long winded so appologies in advance if you get bored - just want to make sure I give as much info as possible.

    I had completed the green I-94 visa waiver and customs forms and the immigration officer asked the usual questions: purpose of visit (busines) and how long (3 weeks). He scanned my passport then proceeded to take a long time typing on his terminal and looking at the screen. He said nothing to me, filled in an orange form (I couldn't see any of the details) and had someone escort me to a room behind the checkpoint.

    Once inside the room another officer took my documents and started looking things up on his terminal and printing out several documents. He asked me if I had applied for employment authorization in the past (I think that is what he said - I was tired and can't clearly remember). The only thing I could think of was that a company I worked for back in 1998-2001 had applied for an L1 visa and was also going to apply for a greencard on my behalf. The company was bought out at the end of 2001 and most of us original employees were let go. I called the immigration lawyers at the time to find out what my situation would be - they said they couldn't discuss my case and would not give me any case number I could reference with the INS. So I left it at that and just assumed the applications would be void. I explained all this to the officer and then asked him if that was the problem - he wouldn't answer, I asked again if there was some kind of problem I should be aware of as I had been visiting the U.S. many times over the last 3 years and never been questioned before. Again he wouldn't answer. He asked what my business was (property investing), where do I conduct my business (U.S., U.K. and Australia), how much time I usually spend in the U.S. (up to 6 months of the year), where I stayed when in the U.S. (a condo I own in Dallas), did I have a Texas drivers license. I took out my wallet and showed him the license, he then took my wallet away from me and went through the contents.

    He left his desk, taking my wallet and other documents with him, to confer with other officers in the room. I couldn't quite hear what they were saying but picked up things like, "too many visits", "has drivers license and condo in Dallas", "is this legal?". I was kept in the room for about 90 minutes and at this point began to feel like I would be denied entry. Eventually I was summoned over to his desk and he handed back my documents with the usual stamp in my passport allowing entry for up to 90 days. I asked him if there was anything amiss that I should know about, he wouldn't answer, just said "You can go now.".

    O.K., now I may be overly paranoid but I've never had problems entering the U.S. before and am now concerned that I might have problems in the future. I'd probably feel a bit more relaxed if I knew what the problem was to begin with, but it was impossible to get any information out of the officer. Truthfully, I found it a bit intimidating when he just ignored my questions so I didn't push the issue. Should I get in touch with someone in officialdom about this? If so, who as it seems the INS has been broken up, would it be "U.S. Customs and Border Protection"? or some other department?

    Also, given that the officer took my drivers license, credit cards and other documents out of my wallet, should I assume that they have now recorded all of those details? Again, I'm probably being paranoid but I can't help feeling that I've lost a fair amount of my privacy if they have recorded this information (which includes government, business and personal information associated with the U.K., U.S. and Australia).

    Thanks in advance for any advice you can give.

    Comment


    • #3
      If you don't like it then you can leave ! Get out !

      Comment


      • #4
        >how much time I usually spend in the U.S. (up >to 6 months of the year),

        That's probably the stickler right there.

        Getting 6 months off to vacation in the US is a LONG as.s time. Combined with a texas DL, history of long employment here, intent on acquiring a green card, and probably lack of documents from you showing foreign employment, residence, family, etc.

        You're lucky. Most airports you'd be sent back on yoru way. A mark has been placed in your name now. Nothing you can do. Meaning next time expect an even "thorough" examination. Unless the officer is lazy and decides to forgo it til the next visit.

        -= nav =-

        Comment


        • #5
          I would be interested on how you obtain a Texas DL as well. I think thats one of the red flag. Then again, you might just encounter another system flag due to the number of visits, a overzealous immigration inspector, etc

          If you're really concerned, you can initiated procedure to gather all the documents that the government have about you, under the Freedom For Information Act.

          Comment


          • #6
            I agree with marmaduk, however it is not illegal to own property in another country, including US, you are here on business, however as moondin said the 6 months is a stickler even for business. I would check with Freedom of Information Act and get what INS has on you. As for the Texas license, as long as at the time you obtained it legaly, then you are free to use it. I suspect that immigration did not have anything on you that is the reason they let you go. One customs guys may have just noticed all of the traveling and maybe suspected something. I would say "keep your nose clean" and you should not have any problems, if you do it will probably be the sme as before, a lot or questions and time spent with customs and they eventually let you go.

            Comment


            • #7
              Thanks for the replies - particularly marmaduk and ardainia. I think in the future I will have to carry a lot more documentation with me, e.g. copies of property titles for here, the U.K. and Australia. Probably also financial statements for each country to show my connection with each of them. I'm actually now considering applying for an E2 visa, though an immigration lawyer I spoke to a couple of years ago said it would not apply for real estate investing. Maybe I just need to set up another business in the U.S. - LOL.

              In respect to the TX DL, I've had that for over ten years from when I first worked in the U.S. on a H1B visa. According to TX DMV I can still renew it given that I have an SSN. Also, I own a vehicle here and would not be able to get insurance without a U.S. DL.

              Comment

              Sorry, you are not authorized to view this page

              Home Page

              Immigration Daily

              Archives

              Processing times

              Immigration forms

              Discussion board

              Resources

              Blogs

              Twitter feed

              Immigrant Nation

              Attorney2Attorney

              CLE Workshops

              Immigration books

              Advertise on ILW

              EB-5

              移民日报

              About ILW.COM

              Connect to us

              Questions/Comments

              SUBSCRIBE

              Immigration Daily



              Working...
              X