Trip To US – I

Had a relatively interesting weekend. I went to the States to get a car which my uncle passed on to me. The idea was for me to fly to Chicago and then drive back to Canada in the car. These are some of the observations that I made during my trip. They range from the utterly mundane to interesting. I will be listing all of them in the coming days.

The first one was at the US immigration. One look at the immigration officer and I knew I would have trouble with this guy. He looked at me in condescending way which seemed to say “I don’t like you but I will have to deal with you”. He kept me at the till for about 5 minutes before informing me that I need to fill out the I94 form and told me to get back to the line. It was a fairly straight forward request made as if I were some sort of vermin from whom he needed to get away. I swallowed my temper and went back to the line and quickly filled out my form. By the time it was my turn, I was again sent to the same till!! I approached the guy and again gave him my papers while he gave me the what-the-hell-is-he-doing-back-here look. This time he went through my passport with a fine comb, looking at each page and started to ask me questions. He noticed the UAE and Bahrain entry and exit stamps and looked at them carefully. And then he said

“you’ve been to a lot of Mid-East countries, haven’t you?”

By the time my patience was at the edge and I blurted out

“And they are the BEST place to be in.”

He just gave a nod and processed my entry into the States. And I wondered what exactly was the reason for this attitude. Was he taught this method at the immigration school? Was he just making sure that this single brown skinned man with a one way ticket a suspicious character? Either way he managed to piss me off. And the funny thing, he spent 10 – 12 minutes going
through my passport and he never noticed that the passport was expired on the front page (with an extension on one of the inner pages)!! So much for going through the passport carefully.

After the immigration was the security check. Man, if my Pakistani friend has to go through such a thorough search each and every time he visits the States, he must have a lot of patience. They did everything but strip search me. That, of course, did not help me with my anger. But again I had to biteit back because this desi guy doing the search was only doing his job.

I am not really familiar with the US immigration policy but I had been hearing that it’s not one of the best in world from numerous people. And my experience (a very minor one compared to some of the people I know) has ledme to believe that it truly is a pathetic one.

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