By: Patricia Ann Talley
We have had two 2 reports USA Immigrant Residents being stopped and detained at the border upon returning from their vacations. We want to alert tourists who are foreign immigrants living in the USA, and we want to inform our readers about current immigration issues. Please read what happened to one of our visitors.
What was your purpose for coming to Ixtapa Zihuatanejo? Have you visited Mexico before?
We have been vacationing in Mexico for the past 5 years. We went once to Cozumel and then we found Ixtapa Zihuatanejo and have come back 4 times. We love Ixtapa Zihuatanejo. My wife and I came this year to celebrate my 50th birthday. We had a wonderful time – until trying to return home.
What is your USA immigration status?
I was born in England and I am a citizen of the United Kingdom. My family moved to the United States when I was just 2 years old and I’ve lived here for 48 years. My immigration status in the USA is a Permanent Resident Alien. I am married to a USA citizen. We have a daughter who will be graduating from college this year. We own a home in the Northwest Region and a small business. We are respectable, hard-working, tax-paying members of our community.
What happened to you when you tried to return to the USA from your vacation?
Upon returning to the USA from our vacation, I showed my UK Passport and my wife had her USA Passport. We were ready for the normal “drill” at Customs – You know, get out your Passport, put your bags on the conveyor belt, take off your shoes, go through the scanner, etc. But this time, the Customs Agent told us to step aside and told me to go to Homeland Security. Initially, I thought it was just some type of random check. At first, our biggest concern was missing our connecting flight. I had no idea what was in store for us next.
I was detained and separated from my wife for 5 hours. Of course, we missed our flight and my wife was absolutely hysterical not knowing what was going on. Basically, I was taken into custody and told that I would no longer be admitted back to the USA! Are you kidding me! My home is in the USA. My life is in the USA. I’ve lived there 48 years! But, Homeland Security told me that due to a new act that went into effect January 1, 2010, I can’t be re-admitted because 30 years ago I got a $250.00 fine for possession of a marijuana pipe. The Customs Agents confiscated my UK Passport and USA Immigration Card (green card). Now I’m facing deportation. Again, the USA is the only country I have ever known.
How has this incident affected your lives?
As you can imagine, our whole family has been traumatized by this incident. I was not officially admitted to the USA and I’m facing deportation back to England. We hired an Immigration Lawyer and I have spent over $10,000 so far. I had the first of what will be at least two (2) court appearances. I was previously in good health, but due to the stress of this incident, my doctors suspect that I’ve had a mild heart attack. My whole life is in turmoil! I’m facing deportation after 48 years! I still can’t believe it!
I just want your readers and other vacationers to know about these things. You don’t have to be a felon or a foreign terrorist to be detained and deported at the US border. This is happening to respectable, hard-working immigrants. For me, I had a foolish incident as a kid; I was punished and I paid the fine. I thought it was illegal in the USA to punish someone twice for the same thing. This is ridiculous and completely inhumane.
Remember, everyone in the United States that is not a Native American came from some other country. Americans need to know what is happening at the borders.