Monday, November 20, 2006
Survey: US immigration officers are a bunch of pr*cks
I've said it before and I'll happily repeat it: I love (going to) the United States, but I dread the employees of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), as they manage to make a German shepherd on acid look quite friendly by comparison. In short, even though I did apply for a Green Card, I would rather eat three bowls of Special K soaked in gasoline than encounter one of those rather frustrated sons of a gun that pass for government employees on American airports.
Fortunately, I am not the only one who thinks this way. In fact, visitors to the US now dread the DHS more than terrorists. Money quote:
US immigration and customs officials are viewed as "arrogant, rude and unpredictable" by foreign business travellers in a survey by the Discover America Partnership, a group of US business leaders concerned about the impact on the economy.
"We deliberately sampled an elite group of business travellers who are more likely to feel positive towards the US than most people in their own countries," said Geoff Freeman, the director of Discover America Partnership. "All they are asking is to be treated with respect, professionalism and courtesy: they are not asking for America to reduce its security measures."
Respect, professionalism and courtesy are three words I have never, ever associated with US immigration officials. How can a country which harbors such a friendly people hire such rude a**hats to extend the first welcome?
Update 21 November, 2006, 19.47: Rogier wasn't too happy about the INS either, when he decided to become a citizen.
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I apologize on the country's behalf, Arjan. If it makes you feel any better, the INS daughter agencies are like that for us Yanks too. My younger sister was adopted from overseas, and when my parents applied for citizenship on her behalf, they filled out some forms and then waited for weeks without any reply.
There was a number you could call for the Immigration office, but it went straight to an answering machine and nobody ever called back. My parents eventually called our US representative, who leaned on the INS and got them to cough up the paperwork. Apparently no citizenship applications got touched until US House or Senate offices called in to complain.
Friends of mine who have married foreign nationals have complained about miserable treatment as well. All I can think of as an explanation is that federal government employees are not well regarded in the US (with some exceptions such as the military and some law enforcement agencies), so they tend to attract time-servers more interested in guaranteed employment and light duties than providing good service.
SparcVark (ip:18.104.22.168) 20 November 2006 - 1:33 uur
Sir, no apologies are necessary. As you may have read, the same survey also shows that visitors who actually made it into the country, got a very favorable impression of the United States.
As they should. In my experience, Americans are a lot more friendly and considerate than the Dutch, who tend to confuse frankness with being blunt or downright rude.
Arjan Dasselaar (ip:22.214.171.124) 20 November 2006 - 12:13 uur
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