With Trump’s executive order in barring certain countries from coming in to U.S.A. I thought this post was quite fitting for today. How many of you have gone through immigration and have been questioned or stopped? Me (raising my hand).My story goes back a few years ago when I was dating a British man from London. I met him when I first visited the U.K., we grew fond of each-other and eventually, we decided to do the overseas long distance for a few months.
The initial immigration horror encounter happened when I first came to visit him during the early stage of our long distance relationship. I arrived mid afternoon at Heathrow airport giddy and excited to see him. Getting off my flight was like a dream; we were a happy couple, mature, we wanted the same things and had a bright future ahead of us. I really thought this was it, we would get married and live happily ever after. Then, I snapped back to reality.
I had forgotten that I was at the immigration counter that day facing a stern looking woman with an upbeat tone in her voice. She asked ‘what was the purpose of my stay’ and I responded to ‘see my boyfriend’. That statement alone opened up to all sorts of red flag questions.
It went from who is this man? Where does he live in the UK? What does he do to how long is your relationship going to last? Questions that I, nor he, could even answer for both of us. A few minutes into the interrogation, another officer came behind her. At this point, I thought for the worst. I thought he was going to escort me and send me back to U.S.A. Luckily, it turned out he was just handing her a pen. That’s when my patience stopped. I thought, I’m not doing nothing wrong and if they want to keep me and one of their citizens from seeing each other then, fine. But, don’t waste my time.
At some point, I think the officer finally understood me. Maybe she caught on to the tone of my voice which, turned from happy to annoyed that I was, indeed, really telling the truth. After what seemed like an hour long never-ending questions, she eventually gave me a 6-8 months entry stamp. The stamp was suppose to keep the immigration officers from asking me questions each time I came in to the U.K. since, I have no idea how long my boyfriend and I would be together. Ok, why not. Shortly after that visit our perfect relationship turned out to be just a dream. The stamp, however, will forever hunt me.
The other dreadful immigration experience of mine was the second time I returned to London 2 years later. Flying in to London from U.S.A. was fine. The immigration officer asked about the stamp, why I got it and what happened. It was simple and there was no trouble whatsoever. However, coming in from Paris to London was a whole different story.
My friend and I decided to do a weekend in Paris during that trip. Upon our return, the immigration officer at the counter questioned about the stamp. She didn’t believe my ‘I was dating a British man story and refused to let me in. I argued with her about how we came from U.S.A. and that there was no trouble at the airport yet, she’s refusing us now that we are coming from Paris? At that point, she eventually asked for our return ticket that showed the date of our flight back home to U.S. and told her the name of the companies we worked for. Both information is what allowed us back in to London and sadly, that was also my last trip in the U.K. because of such troubles.
I can only imagine what people are going through for those in question during this immigration executive order process that’s starting to happen today. I know my experience doesn’t even come close to what many people have gone through. I hope all of you will stay strong and keep positive.