Come on – give us a smile….

What is it about US immigration officers that makes me feel like a criminal?  My recent trip down to St Martin involved a number of encounters of the worst kind.  Every time I approached the desk I felt like I was auditioning for Midnight Express.  Listen – all I am doing is trying to get down to somewhere sunny and then at the end of it trying to get back to Canada.  Would a smile kill ya?  Maybe this is part of the training – do not engage with the aliens.

On the way back to Canada we changed planes in Newark so we had to go through immigration – again.  I was directed to one of the officers whose light was on indicating that he was open and ready for the next person in line.  He rudely told me to step back behind the line as he was having a personal little bitch session with his colleague.  I stood there – behind the line – contritely.  Hell these people scare me witless.  They have the power.  To make matters worse he called me “ma’am” – ugh.  I don’t think I am a ma’am type of person.

Whatever we think of going through US Immigration it is a necessary evil as so many of those lovely must visit places involve a trip through the States.  So I practise my humble smile, bite my tongue and leave the contraband at home.

By Lesley Keyter

Lesley Keyter is the face of travel in the fast growing city of Calgary. Every week since 1997 she has has featured live on the Morning News Global TV.


  1. Having been refused on my return twice in San Juan, I avoid the US Southern Border, last time we went on Windstar through Barbados it was via T.O., I was also told by a HomeLand Security supervisor in YYC, to keep my British Passport in my back pkt.

    Peter Pittman


  2. Hi Leslie,
    I have travelled to and through the USA several times in the past 10 years, and have found that Americans are the most paranoid people on Earth. Maybe it’s because of WTC and 9/11????
    Even a cheerful “Good Morning” from me hasn’t elicited any more than a nod from their customs people here in Calgary.
    You are right that any ‘backtalk’ (however friendly or advisory) would land you in “Purgatory” (wherever that is!!)…..
    Oh well, Happy Travelling in the future..


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