[caption id="attachment_4102" align="aligncenter" width="225"] Immigration Officer is a Pudding[/caption]
I can now confirm the worst Immigration officer in the world award (If I had one) would go to the Immigration Officer I met on the Rainbow Bridge crossing, Niagara Falls into the USA from Canada. The reason for travel into USA - to see Niagara falls from the US side, duration of stay I would assume two or three hours.
I had no luggage, a camera and the look only a very cold tourist who has spent an entire day in -30 degrees taking pictures of a giant ice cube.
After several questions about my TRUE intention to enter the USA the officer just looked at me like I was interrupting his bathroom break. His tone was short, in his eyes I could see I was certainly a deep under cover terrorist ready to destroy his country. The rude comments about my passport, my preferred route and even my marital status was painful and very droll.
Slowly he began ticking some boxes on my application form of some 20 cm or 8 inches long, so limited in content.... once he had his fun!
I assumed his pen was not his preferred weapon of choice based on the speed which it moved and accuracy of application on paper. I needed to build bridges here not just ride across them I thought. I could not be so narrow minded as to assume he is horrid just because he was not funny and maybe cold like myself. So I aimed my conversation carefully at the large hand gun in his holster. I gently inquired about the number of Canadian's he would be expect to shoot during the average day along with other friendly chat.
Eventually he could tell I was interested his best friend and his chest expanded as he explained. "Guns are not dangerous, only the people who use them are the danger."
Mmmm, I thought what does that say about you and US Immigration officers who use them as part of their uniform?
I was a UK Immigration Officer for five years before deciding to help other with their Immigration issues around the world. In my opinion arming a man who works in an office, a busy office at that with an IQ of a single spent bullet is not the best Immigration policy in the world.
I know the US leaders would like to reform their immigration controls. I would suggest they start with removing weapons from officers in offices. An droll and slow immigration officer is a far more effective deterrent from entering the USA than a gun as I quickly turned my car around and headed back to Canada I realized how just one immigration officer real can ruin an entire country and first impressions do count. Next time I flew into the USA and the next Immigration Officer was much nicer and restored my faith.