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carltmon

Apr 5, 2010, 12:09 PM

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The road north.

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We left higera blanka for northern cal wednesday morning at 4am and drove to najahoja. Up at 5am drove to santa ana where I found stress cracks on the brace that my hood connects to. Found a welder to fix it {$200 pesos} then on our way to redlands. On this trip we only saw one accident, a big rig smashed into a embankment. Normally I see more wrecks on the drive north, less traffic this time. At the US border crossing we were searched and treated like common criminals. I truly have lost all respect for the US authorities. If your planning to cross north at nogales expect it to take 2-1/2 hours. ...Havent left mexico for a cople of years so this trip should be interesting.
carltmon



mexliving

Apr 5, 2010, 8:39 PM

Post #2 of 34 (10109 views)

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Re: [carltmon] The road north.

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glad to know i am not the only one treated like shit at the border by u.s. customs... i understand its probably the worst type of job in the u.s. customs... but hell...


Nancy Sanders

Apr 5, 2010, 10:48 PM

Post #3 of 34 (10088 views)

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Re: [carltmon] The road north.

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When you get to where you are going in the USA, if you have a computer and a physical address, write both your state's Senators and your Representative from your area. These days, you google their website and click CONTACT ME. Don't send them a real letter. You might be surprised how much power your senators and representatives have, especially if they know their voters are being hassled like a criminal. Remember, your US representatives finances the border crossing.


chinagringo


Apr 6, 2010, 7:53 AM

Post #4 of 34 (10050 views)

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Re: [carltmon] The road north.

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Going back to 1949, I have had the opportunity to go through U.S. Customs 100's of times. From 2000 through 2005, all of our trips to and from Mexico were by plane and from 2006 till the present, all have been by car. In all of these crossings into the U.S., I can honestly say that we have never been treated as common criminals nor have we been subjected to what I would call excessive questions or searches. Since we started doing the "driving thing" to/from Mexico in our minivan, we have returned from each trip fully loaded to the ceiling. With all of the warnings about increased interest in the contents, we have had a list sitting on the dash in preparation for Customs. Not once have we been asked exactly what we have! Just the cursory questions and then we were on our way in a matter of minutes.

Then again, we have always crossed at Santa Teresa, NM (a rather small crossing).
Regards,
Neil
Albuquerque, NM



Reefhound


Apr 6, 2010, 8:56 AM

Post #5 of 34 (10035 views)

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Re: [Nancy Sanders] The road north.

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I think you would be surprised how little power your congresspersons have in even getting an full explanation much less any action from a large federal agency like ICE. Same goes for the DHS or IRS or EPA.

These agencies were designed to be immune from political pressure (unless the administration as a whole seeks a policy change) in order to do the dirty work that needs be done while letting the individual politicians pretend to be on the side of the people.

Maybe if there were a serious transgression your representative could make a phone call and get a high level supervisor to "look into it" but I'm not sure what being "treated like a common criminal" means. Were they handcuffed or thrown into a cell?

You have to remember that the prime mission of an agency like Customs is NOT to welcome you back to the U.S. with a smile and a handshake. It is to check docs to ensure you are who you say you are, to question and observe you and look for something suspicious, and to conduct searches. Everyone, even your representatives, are subject to being questioned and searched.

Now maybe you take umbrage at being questioned about where you have been and what you were doing or having your trunk searched. Maybe you feel the same in airports for having to take off your shoes and jewelry, run all your bags through a scanner, and step through a metal detector. Maybe you think the customs officer or airport screener should just see your warm smile and automatically assume you are just a good law-abiding citizen to be treated like an old friend but that ain't gonna happen. By nature, their job is to view you as guilty until proven innocent.


lamur

Apr 6, 2010, 10:35 AM

Post #6 of 34 (10014 views)

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Re: [mexliving] The road north.

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My only complaint was the guy took his time chatting..with people lined up behind us. He was very nice and just did a peek into the car. Asked for the 3 dogs papers they were over a year old from the last trip but he just took a look and handed them back.


Reefhound


Apr 6, 2010, 10:42 AM

Post #7 of 34 (10005 views)

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Re: [lamur] The road north.

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The chatting is probably a way to give him more time to notice anything amiss and see if you get impatient or stressed.


chinagringo


Apr 6, 2010, 11:26 AM

Post #8 of 34 (9994 views)

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Re: [Reefhound] The road north.

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Very valid point. Be they Customs Agents, Border Patrol or TSA - they are all trained to observe the demeanor of those that they are dealing with. At Santa Teresa, they often have had two Agents handling dogs walk down both sides of the line of vehicles. The dogs are doing their thing and the Agents are observing the passengers. Personally, I wish they had the ability to seize 100% of the contraband coming across the border but that isn't realistic.

By the way, we have experienced Border Patrol Agents with an "attitude" going through the checkpoints located miles north of the border!
Regards,
Neil
Albuquerque, NM



esperanza

Apr 6, 2010, 4:02 PM

Post #9 of 34 (9974 views)

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Re: [Reefhound] The road north.

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In Reply To
You have to remember that the prime mission of an agency like Customs is NOT to welcome you back to the U.S. with a smile and a handshake. It is to check docs to ensure you are who you say you are, to question and observe you and look for something suspicious, and to conduct searches. Everyone, even your representatives, are subject to being questioned and searched.

In the not-so-far-distant past and for years prior to that, I have been literally welcomed into the USA by Immigration. A quick check of my US passport was always followed by a smiling, "Welcome home, Sra. Esperanza." Those days appear to be gone forever.

http://www.mexicocooks.typepad.com









La Isla


Apr 6, 2010, 5:49 PM

Post #10 of 34 (9957 views)

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Re: [esperanza] The road north.

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I remember getting that "Welcome home" greeting at US Immigration at the Philadelphia International Airport not so long ago. The last time I went through I was asked if my visit to Mexico had been for business or pleasure. When I told the agent that my visit had been to the States, not to Mexico, dumbfounded, he asked me why I had chosen to live in Mexico. I mumbled something about the weather and lower cost of living, but he still looked at me as though I wasn't quite right in the mind....


jimboynton

Apr 9, 2010, 5:56 AM

Post #11 of 34 (9852 views)

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Re: [carltmon] The road north.

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Been driving back to the U.S. from PV the last 4 years with crossings at Nogales and Colombia and other than the wait at Nogales (around 1 hour) with a fully loaded mini-van have always been treated respectfully. This time just scanned our passports and asked the usual questions about fruits and vegetables and a "welcome back to the US and have a nice drive home".


Reefhound


Apr 9, 2010, 8:04 AM

Post #12 of 34 (9834 views)

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Re: [jimboynton] The road north.

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Maybe questions about fruits and vegetables is what some perceive as being treated like a common criminal?

BTW, my experiences have also usually been like yours. The officers sometimes like to chit chat with our kids, smiling and laughing at times. What I meant is that it is not their primary JOB to be a welcoming committee. They are there to enforce customs and immigrations laws. They are not acting out of line if they for whatever reason they feel like additional questions or a physical search is needed.


chinagringo


Apr 9, 2010, 8:20 AM

Post #13 of 34 (9830 views)

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Re: [Reefhound] The road north.

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Aside from the very typical and expected questions - they asked us if we had "ROCKS". That one threw us for a loop and even when we asked, we didn't receive any answer as to why that question.
Regards,
Neil
Albuquerque, NM



carltmon

Apr 9, 2010, 8:53 AM

Post #14 of 34 (9822 views)

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Re: [Reefhound] The road north.

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When asked how long we were in mexico we told the truth, 1 year. After that they proceeded to tear the truck apart. I call that being treated like common criminals.
carltmon


Casa

Apr 9, 2010, 9:22 AM

Post #15 of 34 (9807 views)

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Re: [carltmon] The road north.

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I had a common criminal, truck tear down experience in Nogales when we were going north to visit family for the summer. It was not pleasant. I was traveling with my partner, a Mexican citizen with a 10 year tourist “laser visa”.

When asked what our relationship was I answered good friends, I was waved into secondary as the agent screamed “code 9 code 9”. (I have been told that if I answered partners or something similar that he would be denied entry because”everyone knows all Mexicans want to move to the US”) We were descended upon by no fewer than 6 agents. It seems that it did not matter that I had been living in Mexico for 2 years with him already or that we had a home and bank accounts in Guadalajara together.

They took EVERYTHING out of the car, opened all suitcases and took everything out of the suite cases, glove box and any other compartment and dumped it all on the table. Once they had finished trashing everything and interrogating both of us separately to see if we would have the same answers I suppose, they told me I could proceed into the US but the Mexican citizen could not. When we asked why we were told that they did not have to tell us why and that he was not allowed in end of story.

We went to the US Consulate and they said his visa was fine and there should be no problem, so we spent the night in the beautiful town of Nogales and he tried to cross by himself the next day to no avail. I called a friend that works in immigration and he said that “yeah there are a lot of assholes that work on the border that’s just how it is put him on a plane”

Nogales has no airport so we drove to Tijuana. Purchased a very expensive ticket from TIJ to LAX, I dropped him off at the airport and got in line to cross into San Diego (where I got the "welcome home" comment and I forced a half smile biting my tongue) then drove to LAX to pick him up. We spent 4 weeks in California (he was stamped in for 6 months). That was over five years ago and have not returned to the US since.

I guess I need a wife and some kids for the agent to chit chat with .....................


(This post was edited by Casa on Apr 9, 2010, 9:25 AM)


gpkgto

Apr 9, 2010, 11:06 AM

Post #16 of 34 (9776 views)

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Re: [Casa] The road north.

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I constantly apologize to my Mexican friends for the treatment they receive from US customs and embassy officials. It is embarrassing to be a gringo sometimes (even though I have my Mexican citizenship).


Poncho32

Apr 9, 2010, 11:20 AM

Post #17 of 34 (9773 views)

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Re: [carltmon] The road north.

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Pardon me ,where is the monitor of this forum?
I was under the impression that this whole site of mexconnect was dedicated to topics that relate to Mexico and you were not to get political?
Reading all the material that is being tossed around is certainly political as I see it.
Bud


gpkgto

Apr 9, 2010, 2:32 PM

Post #18 of 34 (9749 views)

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Re: [Bud Crest] The road north.

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carltmon's comments are very relevant to life in Mexico--at least for those of us who have Mexican friends/family or actually interact with the Mexican population who are kind enough to let us live in their country.


Rolly


Apr 9, 2010, 3:15 PM

Post #19 of 34 (9736 views)

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Re: [gpkgto] The road north.

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I agree. This discussion does have a direct tie to our life in México.

Rolly Pirate


Reefhound


Apr 9, 2010, 4:24 PM

Post #20 of 34 (9717 views)

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Re: [Rolly] The road north.

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So that the thread can remain open to those who find it relevant, I'll refrain from any further defense of U.S. customs officials or troops.


chinagringo


Apr 9, 2010, 5:19 PM

Post #21 of 34 (9706 views)

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Re: [Reefhound] The road north.

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U.S. Customs/Homeland Security have a similar job to those that choose Law Enforcement as a career. Would I want the job? Heck no but thank you for those that choose these professions! As I have stated previously, I have never felt that my rights were being stepped on or been treated like a common criminal when re-entering the U.S. I can also say the same for entering into Mexico, with one exception (with Immigration), and that was our screw-up with not canceling our FMT's in the allotted 180 days.

Just happen to remember that on our August, 2009 trip to MX - we had to pass through a Homeland Security Customs checkpoint on the way south. Two males and one dominant female - their attitude and questions were more invasive that any received heading north!

I do remember as a kid, back in the 50's and 60's, where us kids were instructed by our parents to say that we were born in the U.S. rather than China for myself and Japan for my sister. Just made the crossing easier even though we carried U.S. Passports.
Regards,
Neil
Albuquerque, NM



(This post was edited by chinagringo on Apr 9, 2010, 5:27 PM)


Poncho32

Apr 9, 2010, 7:35 PM

Post #22 of 34 (9681 views)

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Re: [chinagringo] The road north.

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Since the door is left open.

As a snow bird that has traveled back and forth across that border between the U.S. and Mexico and also a person who considers both of the latter countries my home for over 40 years, I'd like to throw in the following comments.

One for those who believe the custom agents on either side of the border have an easy job, I say go for it.

Lastly with all the terror in all our world today, thank god they are there and thorough.
Bud Crest


sioux4noff

Apr 11, 2010, 9:53 PM

Post #23 of 34 (9606 views)

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Re: [mexliving] The road north.

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True, it was by air, but my recent arrival to Texas from Puerto Vallarta was pleasant. I think the customs/immigration folks asked a few more questions than they used to, and seemd to do so for everyone.
The passport checking guy asked me how I liked living in Mexico, and was very polite. The person taking the customs form asked me a question about Mexico as well. I didn't feel like they were singling me out or treating me like crap.


Flaekingur


Apr 12, 2010, 10:18 PM

Post #24 of 34 (9497 views)

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Re: [sioux4noff] The road north.

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I have been driving to Mexico from Canada for 17 years and have never had anything but courtious and friendly encounters with U.S. Mexican and Canadian border oficials. We have occasionaly been directed to the secondary inspection but again, they have always been professional and a quick scrutinizing of the trailer fridge and we are on our way. Most intense search ever was at Canadian customs just south of Vancouver. That took 40 minutes and everything was put back in place.
We have even crossed with a Mexican friend once and he also was treated respectfully.
Most recently, a couple of weeks ago, we crossed into the U.S. at Nogales, (Mariposa) and the screening agent asked if we were both U.S. citizens. With a Manitoba plate, which I am sure had been scanned, I thought this was strange and replied "No, we are both Canadians" "Oh" he replied, "I thought that was a Montana plate". (Aha, a little trick question.)
Next was the usual question about any fruits or vegetables. My wife replied that we had a bag of limes, (allowed), and a kiwi. "I'm sorry" he said, "but I have to take your kiwi". When my wife said that she didn't know exactly where it was, he directed us to the secondary inspection area and followed us there. As we parked, my wife anounced that she had found it and handed it to the agent. "Well, you're here now so we'll just have a look through your van." A few minutes later, one of the agents brought a white plastic bag out of one of our grocery boxes and placed it on the table. I am sure that the other people around us were sure they were witnessing a cocaine siezure - but what it was was a package of manteca, Lard. An animal product and therefore prohibited. Now they were satisfied, they had done their job and we were waved on our way.
My wife lamented to them that now she would be in their computers as a lard smuggler for the rest of her life. Both agents doubled up laughing and said that her record would remain clear, "Lard smuggling" was not an offence that they kept records on. So off we went on our way.
If one is not trying to sneak in any contraband, you have a different air, and after checking thousands of people every day, I am sure these agent develop a sixth sense. We always answer questions truthfully, keep our hands in sight and look the officer straight in the eye. Maybe we just have inocent faces but it has always worked. They have occasionaly found an orange or potatoe that we had forgotten about but in all these years, we have never had an unpleasant experience at a border crossing.


wearechange

Apr 13, 2010, 11:56 AM

Post #25 of 34 (9448 views)

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Re: [Flaekingur] The road north.

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On both sides of the border we are gradually headed towards a police state.
wearechange.org
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