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KTPAFlyer
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Joined: Sat Oct 10, 2015 8:08 pm

Policy for CBP detentions across US airports

Wed May 17, 2017 7:49 pm

Hello A.net,

I was under the impression that after the recent institution of the travel ban, things would eventually sort themselves out as CBP officers start to understand who is allowed and who is not. However, somewhat alarmingly, the number of detentions has been increasing at many airports (including my home airport of TPA) as of late and I was wondering as of late what exactly CBP policy is for detaining people, particularly rationale for detaining US citizens without probable cause, and whether anyone on A.net has had any experiences with this recently. Is it business as usual? Has anything "changed?" I have also heard that they now are much more adamant about asking for social media passwords and access to your phone at many airports and was wondering if there was any truth to this. Are they strictly adhering to the affected countries or extrapolating this policy to the region? All contributions appreciated, thank you.
 
SonomaFlyer
Posts: 2038
Joined: Tue Apr 20, 2010 2:47 pm

Re: Policy for CBP detentions across US airports

Wed May 17, 2017 9:28 pm

Things have whipsawed dramatically since the attempted travel bans and subsequent unleashing of more CBP leeway in screening. The regs say the CBP officer has the final say on who enters the country if one is not a citizen. That means that particular agent has a ton of power in making the final call.

Detaining U.S. citizens also can vary widely. If a person has any sort of criminal record, that can trigger secondary checks. We've seen examples of people of certain races who are U.S. citizens detained but you'll never get CBP to say what triggered the detention. Some are legitimate and tied to ongoing investigations involving the DEA, CBP, FBI etc (drug dealing, fraud etc).

I've never been detained nor asked for anything outside of passport and itinerary of my trip. However, I don't fit any threat profile, am white and am often dressed in a suit so perhaps that lets me off the hook. Who knows.

The U.S. does face significant threats. CBP is the last line of protection which it comes to screening folks flying into the U.S. The intel and law enforcement community have done well to keep out most folks who'd seek to fly into the U.S. to do us harm. However, recent examples show that this increased discretion given to agents can have consequences whether intended or not.

I hope some day our hyper vigilence will no longer be necessary. That day won't happen for a long time, if ever. Until then CBP will continue to question people closely, especially those who hail from certain areas such as the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia (i.e. Pakistan, Afghanistan). Whether we want to admit it or not, most of the external threats to the U.S. comes from those areas. Unless that threat goes away, things at the airport won't change.

To be fair, the U.S. also faces its own home-grown people who are anti-government. That is something outside of CBP's control but can't be ignored either.
 
GBNWB
Posts: 61
Joined: Thu Sep 29, 2016 4:56 pm

Re: Policy for CBP detentions across US airports

Wed May 17, 2017 9:38 pm

I am not a us Citizen but do have 37 US entry stamps in my passport.

The procedure usually goes something like this...

CBP-What is the purpose of your visit to the United States?

Me-To drink bourbon in Kentucky sir.

CBP-Sounds good, you traveling alone or with a friend?

Me-With a friend sir, although he is on a flight from London I am meeting him here.

CBP-What is your occupation in he UK?

Me-Police officer sir.

CBP-Welcome to the United States.(Stamp) Y'all have a great trip sir.

Whatever people say about CBP, they have always been perfectly reasonable with me irrespective of my port of entry.
 
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KTPAFlyer
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Re: Policy for CBP detentions across US airports

Wed May 17, 2017 9:45 pm

SonomaFlyer wrote:
Until then CBP will continue to question people closely, especially those who hail from certain areas such as the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia (i.e. Pakistan, Afghanistan). Whether we want to admit it or not, most of the external threats to the U.S. comes from those areas. Unless that threat goes away, things at the airport won't change.


As a US citizen visiting relatives in Pakistan next week, I will admit that the possibility of detention is definitely a real concern, and something I have never encountered in my time despite flying there every summer for the better part of decade, and is also one of the main reasons I decided to start this thread.
 
johns624
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Joined: Mon Jul 07, 2008 11:09 pm

Re: Policy for CBP detentions across US airports

Wed May 17, 2017 11:14 pm

One thing to remember is that if you have a US passport, CBP can't not let you back into the country.
 
dcajet
Posts: 1437
Joined: Sun Aug 01, 2004 9:31 am

Re: Policy for CBP detentions across US airports

Thu May 18, 2017 12:50 am

johns624 wrote:
One thing to remember is that if you have a US passport, CBP can't not let you back into the country.


I assume you meant CBP can't stop you from getting back into the country, correct?
"Unattended children will be given espresso and a free kitten"
 
SonomaFlyer
Posts: 2038
Joined: Tue Apr 20, 2010 2:47 pm

Re: Policy for CBP detentions across US airports

Thu May 18, 2017 6:53 pm

johns624 wrote:
One thing to remember is that if you have a US passport, CBP can't not let you back into the country.


True they can't bar you from the country but they can pull you into secondary, grill you, try to detain you and search you and your bags if they feel something is amiss. Fail to cooperate (even though that is your right) and your detention time would increase.

Most folks take the path of least resistance because the last thing they want after a very long distance trip is to be held another few hours by CBP because of concerns about where you've been and what you've been up to during your travels.
 
johns624
Posts: 1522
Joined: Mon Jul 07, 2008 11:09 pm

Re: Policy for CBP detentions across US airports

Thu May 18, 2017 10:42 pm

dcajet wrote:
johns624 wrote:
One thing to remember is that if you have a US passport, CBP can't not let you back into the country.


I assume you meant CBP can't stop you from getting back into the country, correct?
Correct.

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