The American Gestapo, the TSA and CBP

The American Gestapo, the TSA and CBP.

It seems that nowadays our own government is more controlling than the government of China. I travel internationally quite often, last year I spent approximately 4 months abroad. It has gotten to the point where our own government not only harasses you upon reentry, but they are now harassing you before you leave.

The Department of Homeland Security has a few departments within it, such as the Transportation Security Agency and the Customs and Border Protection department. In the last few months they have introduced a new reentry system where instead of filling out a form you now go to a kiosk at the airport and you scan your passport and take a picture upon reentry. If you are flagged the machine will print a receipt with a BIG X across it, if you are fine you will not have an X.

While traveling with friends, all who are American, they never get an X on their receipt, however, I do. I am a Cuban American, in fact I consider myself 100% American, I am probably more American than they are. In all the flights I have taken my friends never get the X but I do every single time. Being frustrated on my return flight from Panama City, Panama, I asked the CBP officer why I keep getting the X on my receipt, he responded by saying “It is because you have such a common Hispanic last name, if your name was Jose you would still get flagged by our system.” Wow, I just got racially profiled because of my Hispanic last name. I got racially profiled under an administration that takes pride in suing states like Arizona and Florida because of their racial profile laws, the same administration that turns a Florida case into a national race case.

On another occasion, I was leaving to Sydney, Australia from LAX, and before I boarded my flight they decided to ask passengers questions., they were checking everyone’s passport again before we boarded, even after the gate agent checked herself. The questions were very personal; they were about my financials, where I have been, what I do for a living and who purchased my ticket. Questions that quite honestly are none of their concern. I asked if these questions were necessary, I was about to invoke my Fifth Amendment right, and the officer said, “Yes, to determine if you are suitable to travel to Australia.” These same questions are constantly asked upon my reentry into the U.S. as well, but it is absurd that I have to also answer them to leave my own country. These individuals need to get taught the constitution; apparently they have never read it.

I condemn Europe quite a bit, but they never ask their citizens questions upon leaving or entering their own country. China and Israel were both a lot easier to enter and exit than my own country, the United States. Yeah, I think our country has hit a new low when Communist China is nicer to Americans than our own country. There should be no reason for these questions or type of treatment at the hands of our own government, it is pathetic and a violation of our constitutional rights.

As Americans, we need to stand up for our principles and for the constitution. We all have read the reports of how our government is listening in to our phone conversations, they should not be making travel into and out of our own country a mission, I am an American and I pay for these services. At the end of the day, none of these questions that they ask are stopping terrorists or keeping Americans safe, they are only hindering our rights as Americans.

We need the government to get reevaluated and put under control, they need to learn their place and that’s out of the lives of the American people, especially a 23-year-old law student who, again, is probably more American than they are. My mother and I came to the United States when I was five, we know what oppression and fear is, we left Cuba to pursue the American dream and live a life of freedom, an idea that is quickly diminishing.

I refuse to pay for Global Entry because I pay enough taxes and fees on my travel already, the government fees and taxes are sometimes higher than the airfare itself. Also, to get Global Entry you need to give them even more personal information, as you need to undergo an interview, produce your biometrics.

With this said, I hope that this post captures the attention of many other individuals who are constantly harassed by our own government because of their religious, political or racial background. We are all Americans and should be treated as such in order to preserve the principles that this great nation was founded upon.

Share your thoughts with me in the comments section!

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  1. Your first example did not necessarily sound like racial profiling. My friend John frequently runs into that problem. His last name is Smith.

    1. It could be that their intentions may not be racial, but the officer said ‘Hispanic last name’ which raises the racial profiling flag. Thank you for your input!

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