My husband and I had planned a trip to India for February 2017. We had booked tickets before all of Trump’s immigration and travel ban revisions were announced. Being a green card holder, the doubts in my mind were pretty strong – would I be allowed to enter? Would I have to endure a painfully long screening process? How would I stay patient through it all? We were skeptical about the timing of the trip but since we had non-refundable tickets, we decided to go ahead and risk it.
This is how things turned out.
Our flight from Kolkata to Atlanta had a brief layover in Doha. We booked this flight because of it’s the shortest travel route at a rate that’s affordable.
We made it to Doha smoothly and went through security check as we got off the plane. It was a standard check – remove shoes and laptop and walk through the metal detector. Since all passengers needed to go through the check, it took a while to get through it. But we made it through the checks and walked to our gate.
At the gate, there was a queue for additional security checks meeting US standards. My husband and I were selected for a random secondary check while we waited in line. Like most people, I was not excited about the check since it meant that we would have to unpack everything and get treated like villains.
When it was our turn, we first went through the usual remove-shoes-laptop-metal detector check. We were then asked to wait for a secondary screening.
At the secondary screening, a no-nonsense officer checked all the contents of my bags. I was asked to turn my laptop on and she brushed it with a detector. She inquired about other electronics that I had. She then proceeded to use the detector to brush my palms, folds of clothing and shoes. In the busyness of the moment, she misplaced my boarding pass. In fact, she even forgot that she had not returned it to me and asked me for it. I thought to myself, this is it – trouble begins. Thankfully she decided to look for it among her things and found it after a brief search. I was relieved to finally have it back.
My husband who is an US citizen had to go through the same checks.
We were found ‘clear’ and proceeded to board when another employee discovered that my husband’s boarding pass was not marked as ‘clear’. The agent who had conducted his secondary check escorted him for a third search of similar intensity and finally cleared us both for boarding.
On arriving in the US, the rest of the immigration process was similar to ones in the past – no additional hassles for citizens and green card holders. We submitted my immigration form and were asked to declare that we were not carrying any restricted items into the US.
In a way, the checks seemed to go smoother than ever. Perhaps it was because we were almost expecting to be subjected to lengthier processes and interviews. We proceeded to baggage claim to collect our luggage and walked out of the airport.
We are still monitoring news related to immigration and hope that the right decisions are made by the governing powers of USA.