From Argentina’s Crash
by Simon Black: Do
You Know Someone Who Has Broken Free?
too many things in this world that I worry about the way I
have my life structured makes me feel confident and prepared to
deal with whatever might come my way.
Of the few
things on my list, however, traveling to the United States is near
the top. If youve ever gone through US border control checkpoints,
you know what Im talking about.
consists of two phases first standing in line to have your
passport stamped, then clearing the customs agent after baggage
claim. The experience is unpredictable, and thats being generous.
On some occasions,
its smooth sailing without so much as a casual glance from
agents at either stage. Other times, it can entail a lengthy interrogation
about the nature of your business, and even extremely personal questions
like, what is this medication for and tell me
your computer password.
frequently herd large groups of people into inspection queues where
officers dump the contents of travelers suitcases inside out
looking for something, anything they can generate revenue on. Too
many cigarettes? Report to the cashiers window with your checkbook.
are intentionally designed to intimidate. In Miami International
(easily the worst airport in the developed world), I remember once
seeing a squad of customs agents standing in a rather ceremonious,
single rank formation.
officer gave the order, and his subordinates fanned out from the
formation with the precision of a champion synchronized swim team,
heading straight towards the nearest traveler for a random inspection
with that booming, authoritarian tone of voice they always adopt.
It appears theyre incapable of holding a normal conversation.
My last several
visits to the United States (as infrequent as they are) have been
and I always expect the worst. Luckily, I had
a good experience yesterday evening arriving to JFK they seemed
short staffed and were rushing everyone through border control as
quickly as possible.
The only oddity was that one of the customs agents was walking up
and down the line giving travelers a sales pitch for why they should
sign up for the US governments Global Entry program,
which offers the possibility for a speedy immigration experience.
It costs $100
as the officer told us over and over again
of course, no mention
of the interview process or biometric data collected upon application.
But I thought it was funny that the government was trying hard to
pitch their product.
Once free of
customs, the car service I use picked me up right on time, and within
minutes we were headed for the Midtown Tunnel with the haunting
sounds of Trent
Reznor and Atticus Ross playing in the background.
the rest of the article
March 11, 2011
© 2011 Sovereign Man