Before you go
I love the United States. Visited many times. But….what the heck is up with your immigration service? Does it suddenly suspect Australians of being in league with Osama Bin Laden? What is the explanation for this piece of news? From 2010, when Aussies exit the United States, they will be required to leave a parting gift – a photograph and fingerprints. This is under the bizarre new exit policy of the US and will apply to all non-US citizens as well as Aussies.
Not content with taking your mug shot on arrival and fingerprinting your ten digits, US immigration wants to subject you to the same process when exiting the country. I have refused to visit the US ever since the introduction of their biometric programme. But I did have to land in Miami in transit to Europe a couple of years ago. Although I was in transit, I had to suffer in a LONG immigration queue, only to met with the most surly, unfriendly immigration official I have ever met. Fortunately, biometrics was not waved in my face because there would have been a huge cat fight between me and US immigration otherwise. I had my passport stamped and was graciously allowed to wander the (pretty boring) airport for awhile.
The Department of Homeland Security is beginning trials of this annoying new exit programme in Atlanta (Hartsfield-Jackson airport) and Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County airport and it is obviously aimed at ensuring people don’t overstay their visa. Congress has been demanding a visa-enforcement programme since 9/11. But more security means less privacy and intrusive surveillance, tired and frustrated travellers stuck in snaking queues, and travellers like me who consider it’s best to just bypass the United States.
My experience was just in transit. Can you imagine the LONG queues of ‘non-resident aliens’ lining up for mug shots and fingerprint zapping whilst US citizens breeze on past. Welcome to America!
But I have cunning plans afoot to thwart US immigration:
- never set foot in the US again so they can’t nab my fingerprints and mug shot – shame as I really like the US and in a heartbeat would live in Boston or Chicago
- wait until I’m really, really, really old. Surely US immigration wouldn’t suspect a 90 year old woman of being a terrorist or wanting to overstay their US visa.
- follow these step-by-step instructions on how to make fake fingerprints
- dye my hair pitch black, get an orange fake tan, pop in brown-coloured contact lenses, and wear a prosthetic nose a’la Nicole Kidman when she portrayed Virginia Woolf in The Hours. That would make me look sufficiently different from my current red-hair, pale skin, blue-eyes and average size nose. Coupled with my fake fingerprints and a false passport, I might be able to sneak into the US.