Immigration TALK: Resolving Problems at the U.S. Port of Entry
By: Attorney Gail S. Seeram
Since 9/11, there has been heightening security at the airports and U.S. port of entries. Though many travelers feel safer at the airports and on airplanes, there are a few travelers that are harassed at the borders and delayed during their course of travel. Some common complaints include watch list issues, repeatedly referred to as secondary screening at the port of entry, an inability to print electronic boarding pass, and unfair treatment by officers.
In response to traveler complaints, the Department of Homeland Security has implemented DHS TRIP or Department of Homeland Security Traveler Redress Programme. Through DHS TRIP, passengers complete an inquiry form that can be submitted on-line or by mail. Supporting documents must be mailed to DHS TRIP within 30 days of the on-line filing or with your paper inquiry form. Once the inquiry form and supporting documents are received, then DHS TRIP will process your request. Visit www.dhs.gov/trip for further information on filing an inquiry form.
The following topics are also discussed on the DHS TRIP website:
Redress Control Number:
When you submit your DHS TRIP inquiry form, the DHS TRIP system automatically assigns you a Redress Control Number. You will be able to use this number to track the status of your inquiry. After your inquiry is completed, you will also be able to use the number when you make an airline reservation.
When you make an airline reservation, provide your redress number when requested by your travel arranger or airline representative, or when prompted by an interactive reservation system. This will enable your airline to determine quickly your identity and reduce the likelihood of mistaken identity during future trips.
Government Watch list
The U.S. government does not reveal whether a particular person is on or not on a watch list. If the government revealed this information, terrorist organizations would be able to circumvent the watch list’s purpose by determining in advance which of their members were likely to be questioned or detained.
Many people erroneously believe that they are experiencing a screening delay because they are on a watch list. In fact, such delays are often caused merely by a name similarity to another person who is on the watch list. Ninety-nine percent of individuals who apply for redress are not on the terrorist watch list, but are misidentified as people who are. DHS TRIP can help resolve inconveniences resulting from name similarities by providing a Redress Control Number that allows systems to prevent such misidentifications from recurring.
When Should You Use DHS TRIP?
DHS TRIP can help you work to resolve travel-related issues when: You were not able to print a boarding pass from an airline ticketing kiosk or from the Internet; you were denied or delayed boarding;
A ticket agent “called someone” before handing you a boarding pass; you were told that your fingerprints were incorrect or of poor quality, your photo did not match the travel document, your personal information was incomplete or inaccurate or you are on the “No Fly List”; you want to amend a traveler record because of an overstay as a result of not submitting the required I-94 when exiting the United States or ensure your biometric record created in US-VISIT is removed from Department of Homeland Security systems; you believe you were unfairly detained during your travel experience or unfairly denied entry into the United States or the U.S. government’s record of your personal information is inaccurate.