Comments: 3502 • Responses: 70  • Date: 

Makeleleroll1292 karma

From my experience when I'm getting my passport stamped after international travel, the CBP officer asks a question like "How was your trip?" or "Do anything fun?" but they don't seem genuine, probably because he/she is trying to observe my behavior when answering. I don't think they are just being nice and trying to be pleasant. Has there ever been a time when you or a CBP officer you know asked a simple question like that and the answer raised suspicion? Or am I just being paranoid and the CBP officers are just trying to make small talk? How are you trained to look/listen for cues that the person coming into the country is shady?

The_Man_In_Blue1750 karma


jorMEEPdan214 karma

Do you get trained on interviewing people who may demonstrate these behaviors due to something like Autism Spectrum Disorder?

The_Man_In_Blue425 karma

RIP Inbox, it was fun Reddit :)

Repo_co574 karma

When my wife and I were coming back from our honeymoon in the UK, the CBP agent barely made eye contact with us before waiving us through. Is there a certain level of profiling that happens, and to what degree, based on destination/origin of travel/national origin/race/religion/age/gender/anything?

The_Man_In_Blue1190 karma

RIP Inbox, it was fun Reddit :)

lostcognizance477 karma

What can we do to make the border crossing process as quick and painless as possible?

The_Man_In_Blue1000 karma


gobbliegoop159 karma

In another response you mentioned how the kiosks are a waste but in my experience they have helped with speed. You don't get stuck behind the deer in the headlights not knowing what to do or what documents you actually need.

The_Man_In_Blue254 karma

RIP Inbox, it was fun Reddit :)

lopoticka11 karma

Interesting choice in line of work if confused tourists anger you tbh.

Do you have any estimate how often you have to deny entry to people with tourist visa or ESTA for various reasons?

hoxtea61 karma

That's a silly statement to make. Every single career has a monotonous task that could be vastly improved if people just followed instructions, instead of "trying to help out".

lopoticka22 karma

Oh absolutely, I appreciate the answer.

The idea of a customs officer getting randomly angry when he thinks back to that confused japanese couple handing him a hotel reservation printout gave me a chuckle though. Tourists are generally confused like 90% of the time, it's just how I would expect it to go.

The_Man_In_Blue45 karma

Dude. The Japanese are the best tourist we have. Organized, ready, efficient, know how to travel, low risk.

<3 Japanese tourists lol

That said, it's usually old people that are never ready. And you can't really get mad at them anyway but ughhhh, hurry up, you're the last in my line and I want to go on break! if you don't hurry, they'll put more people in my line!

ares7394 karma

What's this thing about escorts?

The_Man_In_Blue824 karma

RIP Inbox, it was fun Reddit :)

caseyoc344 karma

Do you have anything to declare?

The_Man_In_Blue906 karma

RIP Inbox, it was fun Reddit :)

xynix_ie320 karma

YES! An AMA that's useful to me. OK, so what do you see on that screen of yours? I've been to 60+ countries and travel all the time as a US citizen. Every single time I come back, usually landing at ATL, I get my automatic kiosk rejected (100% of the time) and have to stand in line. No idea why that is, but the officer clicks, clicks, clicks, asks me a few questions, stamps my stuff and I'm off. Never been detained, never had my stuff searched, I have 100s of stamps on my passport.. is that why? A lot of Latin America in there too.

What is on that screen? Edit: More importantly why am I 100% rejected from the kiosk?

Edit 2: Also you all do great work and are always nice and I appreciate it after a 12 hour red-eye from Buenos Aires.

The_Man_In_Blue345 karma

RIP Inbox, it was fun Reddit :)

reid8470250 karma

You said the worst parts of the job are the hours/morale/etc. When I head back into the US (as a citizen), the agents I interact with have always been a mixed bowl. More often than not I'll deal with a customs officer who is really nice, relaxed, and professional. Other times I'll deal with a complete asshole who is impatient, condescending, etc.

I don't expect nice, but I don't expect condescending either. When I'm going through that line, the only thing running through my head is "I've been cramped in a tiny ass plane seat or sleeping like shit on airport floors for the past 24 hours, I just want to get home without dealing with some prick."

Do you have any insight into what's behind the individuals in CBP who act like complete assholes to people? I can't imagine it's a part of training, and it's definitely a minority. Do agents just tend to lose their patience towards the end of a long shift?

It's like... I understand if someone had a shitty day at work and isn't in a good mood, but it kinda sucks being on the receiving end of it--serves as a cherry on top to a miserable day of travel, except that cherry is made of shit and leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Makes an already bad day worse.

The_Man_In_Blue448 karma


reid8470133 karma

I completely believe that everyone should work a customer service job once in their life.

Yeah I get where you're coming from, and it's definitely a minority of CBP, but it confuses the hell out of me 'cause it seems like they're miserable. Act like some of these officers do in a customer service setting like retail and that person would be fired.

No problem with a CBP officer avoiding any small talk and just doing his or her job, but the condescending, talking-down-on bullshit that occasionally surfaces always makes me think "Man... Find another job if you can't treat people with basic respect."

Another question: my buddy swears that wearing an American flag t-shirt (with nothing covering it) gets you through CBP reliably in the quickest possible way. Any truth to that?

The_Man_In_Blue171 karma

RIP Inbox, it was fun Reddit :)

Chillax2TheMax172 karma

Do you ever see native americans trying to enter america as part of the Jay Treaty, to live and work there? Are they successful?

The_Man_In_Blue191 karma

RIP Inbox, it was fun Reddit :)

budgie88152 karma

what if i wanted to come to the US but just wanted to wander around ? backpacker style, would there be issues?

The_Man_In_Blue190 karma

RIP Inbox, it was fun Reddit :)

Bludae150 karma

Do you get sick often since you're dealing with people from all over the world? Or is your immune system crazy strong by now?

The_Man_In_Blue268 karma

RIP Inbox, it was fun Reddit :)

iamtheret103 karma

How do you feel about the poly? I heard rumors the test was being fought in court for removal from the hiring process. Do you think it's a valuable tool? Or is it just a way to get rid of candidates that aren't well-liked?

The_Man_In_Blue239 karma

RIP Inbox, it was fun Reddit :)

BunglingBoris71 karma

Yours is a career i've always been tempted to switch to, what are the best and worst parts of the job?

The_Man_In_Blue170 karma

Best: $100k+ after 5 years

Worst: the hours, management, morale

caseyoc30 karma

Okay, whaaa? Are you counting administratively uncontrollable overtime, or do you get a lot of overtime? Are you GS, or???

The_Man_In_Blue72 karma


Overtime up to $45k now.

lot of mandated overtime that you won't know about until you show up that day.

rnavstar11 karma

Sounds like my company, without the best!!

PS. Airline pilot, see you guys all the time. Keep up the great work :)

The_Man_In_Blue25 karma

The commercial pilots (guys in their 50s) are always telling me to jump ship and come fly a plane, as if it's that easy and quick to be flying a triple 7 across the Atlantic.

Love processing crewmembers when I can!

nerwal8567 karma

Have you considered doing preclearance in Canada? Or any other country? Are there really any perks for you guys to do it?

The_Man_In_Blue111 karma

RIP Inbox, it was fun Reddit :)

Makeleleroll46 karma

Questions about the academy: How long is the academy training? Is it the same for most CBP officers? Most challenging part of the academy? Most interesting or surprising moment you experienced at the academy?

The_Man_In_Blue86 karma

RIP Inbox, it was fun Reddit :)

theabsurdist00025 karma

Why are there millions of illegal immigrants in the US?

I'm a legal non-immigrant and I know the hoops we have to jump through and all the USCIS red tape and beureaucracy. It surprised me to know that millions have entered or overstayed illegally.

The_Man_In_Blue49 karma


There's a legal precedence on crossing the border without inspection (out in the desert) vs coming through legally, then overstaying. You see this a lot with DACA kids. They were brought here legally under a tourist visa, then never left.

Th_Daltor13 karma

What are you sentiments on kids brought into the US illegally and involuntarily by their parents at such a young age that the US is the only life they know and have no recollection of their birth country?

Do you think they because of the circumstances they were brought in, have no right to call this land their home?

Just genuinely curious how you differentiate special cases like that and obvious others.

The_Man_In_Blue25 karma

the /r/immigration forum is great for this kind of question.

DACA is not a lawful status, and they're kind of this gray area.

Which is what my thoughts on them are. Gray.

Sending them back to a country they don't know, assuming they have family they can be with is not the end of the world. But to kick a kid out of this country who knows no other and had no choice is also not fair.

I think there are more pressing matters in the immigration field to deal with.

turdlez_rock11 karma

How has the current political climate changed (or not changed) your job/career? Do you feel like you have different expectations? Do you feel like your work is more under scrutiny? What feelings do you get when you do "get your hands dirty" and deport someone? Do you think about how it could "ruin" their life? What's your opinion on how to "fix" the current immigration system (from an insider perspective)?

The_Man_In_Blue53 karma

How has the current political climate changed (or not changed) your job/career?

I'd argue that nothing has changed. CBP still has rules for doing our job. Officers are optimistic but that's about it. Not surprisingly, many officers voted Trump. I did not. However, I can't "blame" them. If you're a single issue voter, and you've been here for 10+ years and are tired of the fraud and abuse that we see daily, you'd want someone who was tough on immigration as well. I'm a card carrying Libertarian that didn't vote for Trump or Hilary.

Do you feel like your work is more under scrutiny?

No. Only when local congressmen or people in power want to see what we're actually deporting people over. We're not denying people just because Trump took over.

What feelings do you get when you do "get your hands dirty" and deport someone?

My family recently asked me a similar question. My answer is usually "they deserved it. They broke immigration law." Whether it was someone who visited for 6 months and worked as a dishwasher on their last trip making $10/hr, or someone using government assistance on a visitor visa, or that British kid who smoked weed last time he was here, I generally have no sympathy anymore.

Do you think about how it could "ruin" their life?

Nope. If you're able to fly to the U.S. on your own dime, maybe your life isn't all that bad back home. If someone else paid for the ticket, they can send you money.

What's your opinion on how to "fix" the current immigration system (from an insider perspective)?

Quality over quantity.

derekcanmexit2 karma

Any particular country where you have deported the most people back to? Would it be Mexico? Have you deported any Canadians (I am from there) and the reason why?

The_Man_In_Blue5 karma

I guess it might be Mexico, but no, it seems as if people from all over are sent back home from my port. We gets flights from everywhere.

Canadians are rarely sent back at my port. Many of them are processed at pre-clearance ports in Canada.

YElluminaty0 karma

Could I give you my ex-girlfriend's name and location for deportation since she overstayed her visa for two years to finish high school in the United States after her mother returned to her country of origin?

This was around 2005, and she's since left and returned to the U.S. She also lied on her job application to obtain a post-graduate work visa, essentially defrauding the government.

The_Man_In_Blue3 karma

I can't personally take it, but by all means, contact your local port or CBP Office.

Vekta_-10 karma

Do you ever stop and think that some of the stuff you do is not morally justified in any sense and you continue to do it because the government that grants you the artificial authority to do so is the one giving you your check?

The_Man_In_Blue9 karma

I don't have complete authority to send someone back. No single officer does.

I have not yet encountered a case that I thought was not justified.

goudschg-16 karma

Do you enjoy being employed as a savage? I understand the necessity of your occupation, but you describe it as deporting people for a living and seem damn proud. How many lives have you ruined? Does this affect your conscience at all? Do you have a conscience?

The_Man_In_Blue5 karma


I don't know how many lives I've ruined. :( These people don't keep in contact with us after we put them back on a plane. There really should be a "where are they now?" update sometimes.

Does this affect your conscience at all?

Nope. Maybe when someone didn't deserve to be sent home I'll have that thought.