We spent much of August in the U.S. I’ll be honest, the trip was a mixed bag. I’ll start at the beginning.
While still on the plane at JFK, we tried to use the Mobile Pass app. At first, we thought it didn’t work because it seemed to not go through. We got an error that our pass couldn’t be generated at that time. Actually the app did work, but I’ll get to that a little later.
We got off the plane and then headed to immigration, where we scanned our passports. Both J. and I had a giant X printed on our resulting tickets. We were then shoved into a special line.
No one would tell us what the X meant. No one would tell us about the line. In fact, the immigration people yelled at us. So, we stopped asking.
There we were, standing in an incredibly slow moving line. We talked to our fellow line people. All of us had been flagged. We each had a ticket with either an X or an O. Stop and think about this for a second. Does it remind you of anything? People slapped with a symbol, tossed in a line, yelled at, and given no information? If not, please go read up on Nazis (from World War II, not the neo-Nazi shit heads who marched in Charlottesville).
All of us in the line were American. A good number of us had the exact same experience with Mobile Pass. I think if you are flagged, the system knows and won’t complete the process. If you try to use it and it doesn’t go through, prepare yourself for upcoming abuse.
The experience was terrible. It was a long line, and for the first 45 minutes there was only one person to “process” those of us in the flagged line. Some people tried to politely ask if maybe one of the SEVERAL OPEN stands could take us in to process us faster. Those people were threatened with detainment should they keep asking questions.
Welcome to America. Welcome home. Yeah. So, glad we came.
Finally, they opened some more stands for processing and we got through. Luckily, we got a nice person who pretty much just waved us through. We asked him what our X meant and he basically said he wasn’t sure because he never got a clear explanation.
“They’re vague about it,” he said.
Maybe he thought the system was wrong. Or, maybe he just wanted us to move along already. Who knows?
The rest of our trip was mostly good. We saw friends and family. It was really nice to catch up with people I hadn’t seen in so long. I saw one person I hadn’t seen in over ten years. I got so spend some real quality time with people, although not with as many as I’d like.
Next time, I’m hoping I’ll have a better experience upon arrival. We’ll see how things are two years from now. And yes, sadly, that is what I remember most about this visit home.