Well, it happened again. As we returned from Good Friday services we were once again asked to surrender our car keys.
What is going on? We just went through this last Sunday!
Our vehicle was quickly surrounded by Customs agents.
MAM, JUST EXIT THE VEHICLE.
The agent who was IN MY FACE AND YELLING at me was Officer Walter, according to his uniform badge.
Officer Walter, can you tell me what is happening?
GET OUT OF THE VEHICLE... NOW!
We were escorted into the Customs building.
This time I was a little more upset. Once was possibly a random search. Why was this happening again? Why were we suspected of something so horrendous that we were removed from our vehicle twice in one week?
Our wait was shorter this time and our passports were quickly returned to us by Officer Walter. He also provided a brochure which would explain the "U.S. Custons and Border Protection Process." We were seated against a wall and Officer Walter was standing over us.
Can you tell us what is going on?
NO. YOU ARE FREE TO GO.
I would like to speak to someone. Is there someone I can speak to?
IF YOU HAVE QUESTIONS, THERE IS CONTACT INFORMATION IN THIS BROCHURE.
But I would like to speak to someone now. Is there a supervisor here I can speak to?
NO. USE THE INFORMATION IN THE BROCHURE.
My husband is getting agitated. Because of his aphasia he tends to gesture a lot with his "good" hand in his effort to speak.
Officer Walter leans over my husband. SIR! DO NOT POINT AT ME! PUT YOUR HAND DOWN SIR!
Officer, my husband is a stroke survivor. He's just trying to speak to you!
Now I am getting agitated. Kinda like a Mama Bear. Do you have a number, Officer Walter?
You know, like an employee number?
Well, do you have a first name? I mean, there might be other officers with your surname...
Officer Walter turns on his heel and walks away from me to exit the lobby.
I stand up to exit the other direction and comment, And you're rude.
Officer Walter returns and yells to me across the room: USE THE INFORMATION IN THE BROCHURE. YOU HAVE A GOOD DAY.
And you have a good day too.
I read the brochure. This is what it says:
You should be treated in a courteous, professional and dignified manner.
You will receive an explanation of the examination process as it occurs.
If you feel that the examination was not conducted in a professional manner, ask to speak with a CBP suipervisor immediately. A CBP supervisor is always available at the facility or by telephone.
So I still don't have any answers. But, thanks to Officer Walter, I can show the brochure the next time I ask to speak to a supervisor. And chances are, there will be a next time....