Monday, September 14, 2009

How to complain about immigration treatment at airports and borders

The US Customs and Border Protection is the division of the Department of Homeland Security that inspects travelers on entry to the US. The agency now has four primary programs in place to address and respond to customer complaints and compliments. These programs are:

1. Passenger Service Representatives (or Passenger Service Manager)
2. Comment Cards
2. Customer Service Center, and
4. a program where port directors and supervisors personally respond to telephone and verbal complaints.

More details about the programs are here.

1. Passenger Service Manager (PSM).

In March 2009, CBP introduced 20 PSMs at international airports around the US, listed here. According to the CBP website,
PSMs will provide training to managers and supervisors on customer service issues, they will collect and analyze reports concerning professionalism, and they will promote public awareness of the CBP mission through distribution of public information bulletins, brochures and comment cards; and oversee issues related to travelers requiring special processing.
2. Comment Cards.

CBP is supposed to provide comment cards to all travelers entering the US who have been referred to secondary inspection. CBP says that it will contact everyone who completed a comment card to address concerns, however it is unclear if this happens, or even if comment cards are being given out.

3. Customer Service Center.

CBP's website describes this as their
single point-of-contact for reviewing, responding to, tracking, and addressing all customer complaints and compliments relating to CBP interaction with the general public, travelers, industry, Congress, and other government entities.
CPB explains how to make a complaint here, but it is very cumbersome, especially for people who are not familiar with online procedures.

4. Port Director and Supervisor Response.

Complains about a passenger's treatment at a port of entry or border are supposed to be resolved within one business day by the relevant Port Director or Supervisor. For contact information, see here

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