I went to pick up the kids last night at DFW airport. Our son called as I was pulling into the airport to tell me they were on the ground and taxiing in. He said that he wanted to let me know they were down because they were informed on the plane that all cell phones had to be turned off while going through customs or they would be confiscated. What’s the rationale for this? Who knows? Because they can?
I had our daughter-in-law’s passport with me in the car so in case she was hassled my son – who had a valid passport – could come get hers and take it back so that she could get through.
After about 45 minutes of my waiting curbside, they showed up. Here’s what happened in passport control:
They came through and my son showed his passport then my DIL showed her certified birth certificate, driver’s license, marriage license and the copy of the passport we faxed her.
The following conversation took place:
Passport control jerk: Why don’t you have a passport?
DIL: I applied for a renewal 6 weeks ago and it hadn’t come by the time we left.
PCJ: How did you get this copy then?
DIL: They faxed it to me.
PCJ: Who is ‘they?’
DIL: My inlaws, who are at our house staying with the kids. My passport came while we were gone. They were going to FedEx it to me, but FedEx said they couldn’t guarantee that it would get to me before I left, so they faxed me a copy.
PCJ: What name are you traveling under?
DIL: My own name: Eades.
PCJ: I see his name (nodding toward my son) on the list, but not yours.
My son tries to hand him the boarding pass with the DIL’s name on it. PCJ doesn’t bother to look at it.
PCJ: What is your date of birth.
The DIL tells him.
PCJ looks over her birth certificate acting like he can’t find it.
DIL: (pointing) It’s right there.
PCJ: Go on through.
Despite the snotty, condescending it’s-my-job-to-protect-our-border attitude, the PCJ never looked at her driver’s license or the faxed copy of her passport, which were the only picture IDs she had. He looked at her birth certificate for her date of birth and that was the sum total of all the document checking he did.
In a perfect world inhabited by true civil ‘servants’ (there’s a real oxymoron for you), the PCJ (who wouldn’t have been a jerk) would have said something along the lines of:
We’ve really been overwhelmed with people applying for passports. Don’t feel bad. Your not the first to come through like this. I’m really sorry for all the hassle you’ve had. Come on through and welcome home.
Ah, well, it’s nice to dream.
The DIL wasn’t hassled either coming or going by the Mexican passport people. And she didn’t have to bribe anyone either.
Except for the angst caused by the passport’s not arriving on time, the trip went well.
Passport fiasco finale