B707321C
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US Immigrations And Their Useless Questions

Wed Oct 05, 2005 5:20 pm

Maybe someone can help me to understand? I have been visiting the US regularly the last 20 years (2-3 times pr. year) and still do not understand the purpose of the questions on Green VISA Waiver Form I-94W, which have been in use since 1991.

On this forms there are several questions, which in my humble opinion are rather strange and useless. My favourite question is the end of question B.

“. …OR ARE YOU SEEKING ENTRY TO ENGAGE IN CRIMINAL OR IMMORAL ACTIVITIES?

I would like to see a criminal that actually answered YES on those questions. Of all the millions of visitors to the US, I don’t think that many (if any) actually have answered Yes. Did Mr Atta answer yes on his form before entering the US prior to 9/11?
I find it very hard to take the immigration officers and their questions seriously, when being presented with obviously useless questions like this. Or is there something that I am missing here?
 
saxdiva
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RE: US Immigrations And Their Useless Questions

Wed Oct 05, 2005 5:30 pm

Drop them a note and ask them to explain the "immoral" part. Given the current administration, you might get some interesting answers...  Wink
 
AeroWesty
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RE: US Immigrations And Their Useless Questions

Wed Oct 05, 2005 6:25 pm

If they didn't ask that question, and you were found to have entered the country for criminal or immoral activity, then they couldn't deport you for a visa violation if you were caught.  Wink

It's one of Washington's create paperwork initiatives. Sort of like giving you a tax deduction for your safe deposit box rental so they can track who has one when you die.
International Homo of Mystery
 
B707321C
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RE: US Immigrations And Their Useless Questions

Wed Oct 05, 2005 7:06 pm

Quoting AeroWesty (Reply 2):
If they didn't ask that question, and you were found to have entered the country for criminal or immoral activity, then they couldn't deport you for a visa violation if you were caught.

Thanks for your feedback, but wouldn’t the criminal action itself qualify for deportation?
 
AeroWesty
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RE: US Immigrations And Their Useless Questions

Wed Oct 05, 2005 7:12 pm

Quoting B707321C (Reply 3):
but wouldn’t the criminal action itself qualify for deportation?

Not knowing the ins and outs of how deportation works, but having a little insight into how Washington works, it would seem that that question is there solely because a visa violation would make things easier for them to a) deport you, or b) track you for future visa applications if you did have a violation, or c) as a red herring. But enjoy your trip anyway! LOL
International Homo of Mystery
 
L410Turbolet
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RE: US Immigrations And Their Useless Questions

Wed Oct 05, 2005 8:32 pm

I'm surprised that you're surprised. Since when do government forms make any sense anyway??? In any given country.
 
B707321C
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RE: US Immigrations And Their Useless Questions

Wed Oct 05, 2005 8:47 pm

Quoting L410Turbolet (Reply 5):
I'm surprised that you're surprised. Since when do government forms make any sense anyway??? In any given country.

I did not say I was surprised. I taught the questions was useless and strange, which is not unique for US. This is just a prime example of forms and qustions that does not make any sense.
 
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ManuCH
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RE: US Immigrations And Their Useless Questions

Wed Oct 05, 2005 8:48 pm

I think it gets even more funny if you tick "Yes" on a question on the I-94W form  Smile
Never trust a statistic you didn't fake yourself
 
BigOrange
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RE: US Immigrations And Their Useless Questions

Thu Oct 06, 2005 3:58 am

It's like the police report you have to have to get an immigrant visa.

The UK report only goes back 10 years, so if you have a conviction before that it doesn't show.
 
Pope
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RE: US Immigrations And Their Useless Questions

Thu Oct 06, 2005 6:40 am

Quoting B707321C (Reply 3):
Thanks for your feedback, but wouldn’t the criminal action itself qualify for deportation?

Yes, but you would need to be convicted of the crime before the deportation could occur. The alternative probably allows deportion with less than a criminal conviction.
Hypocrisy. It's the new black for liberals.
 
B707321C
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RE: US Immigrations And Their Useless Questions

Thu Oct 06, 2005 4:31 pm

Quoting Pope (Reply 9):
Yes, but you would need to be convicted of the crime before the deportation could occur.

BUT, wouldn't you need to be convicted for a crime before they prove that you ticked the wrong box on the I-94W aswell? What's the difference!
 
geoffm
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RE: US Immigrations And Their Useless Questions

Thu Oct 06, 2005 5:13 pm

Another question I've read, when applying for a J work visa to the US: Do you intend to assassinate the president? (or words to that effect). Yeah, my guns are in my carry-on case.

Geoff M.
 
oldeuropean
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RE: US Immigrations And Their Useless Questions

Thu Oct 06, 2005 5:24 pm

Quoting Geoffm (Reply 11):
Do you intend to assassinate the president?

This question from the visa forms was the first thing comming in my mind, as I read the topic of this thread.
What a stupid question, what do they expect as response?
It shows how fixated the Americans are on their president. That`s ridiculous.

Axel

[Edited 2005-10-06 10:28:08]
Wer nichts weiss muss alles glauben
 
Doona
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RE: US Immigrations And Their Useless Questions

Thu Oct 06, 2005 5:47 pm

Quoting AeroWesty (Reply 2):
If they didn't ask that question, and you were found to have entered the country for criminal or immoral activity, then they couldn't deport you for a visa violation if you were caught.

But who the hell can dictate what's moral and what's immoral to another person? Each and everyone has his or her own definition of morality. Especially when dealing with people from other countries (which you ALWAYS do when it comes to the I94W). I believe it is immoral for a country to execute it's citizens. The US government apparently thinks it is moral. There's a difference of opinion there, and I leave it at that.

Does this question mean that I should let the US government impose it's right-wing, christian hard-on morals on me? Where's the personal freedom in that?

Cheers
Mats
Sure, we're concerned for our lives. Just not as concerned as saving 9 bucks on a roundtrip to Ft. Myers.
 
AeroWesty
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RE: US Immigrations And Their Useless Questions

Thu Oct 06, 2005 5:54 pm

Quoting Doona (Reply 13):
Each and everyone has his or her own definition of morality.

That's where you say "it was ambiguous so I answered it according to my conscience".
International Homo of Mystery
 
Doona
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RE: US Immigrations And Their Useless Questions

Thu Oct 06, 2005 7:31 pm

Quoting AeroWesty (Reply 14):
That's where you say "it was ambiguous so I answered it according to my conscience".

I'd like to do that, but I'm too chicken to mess with the Customs and Immigration agents... My grandmother's friends did that (read; joked about the questions on the form) when travelling the the US, and got thrown in the "holding room" for 12 hours at ORD... And we're talking sweet little 85-year old ladies from Ireland...

Cheers
Mats
Sure, we're concerned for our lives. Just not as concerned as saving 9 bucks on a roundtrip to Ft. Myers.
 
noelg
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RE: US Immigrations And Their Useless Questions

Thu Oct 06, 2005 8:06 pm

I'm sure I remember a question on mine last time that was something along the lines of "Are you planning to carry out terrorist activity while you are in the country".

Yeah I can really imagine a terrorist going "Yes!"
 
AeroWesty
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RE: US Immigrations And Their Useless Questions

Thu Oct 06, 2005 8:11 pm

Quoting Doona (Reply 15):
I'd like to do that, but I'm too chicken to mess with the Customs and Immigration agents

I'm not talking about joking. You're not planning on doing anything that you believe to be immoral are you? If so, then maybe rethink your visit.
International Homo of Mystery
 
usnseallt82
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RE: US Immigrations And Their Useless Questions

Thu Oct 06, 2005 11:46 pm

Quoting B707321C (Thread starter):
I find it very hard to take the immigration officers and their questions seriously, when being presented with obviously useless questions like this. Or is there something that I am missing here?

Its also a matter of your demeanor. They've done this for years with all types of law enforcement agencies and the like. When they ask you a question like this, obviously you're not going to come right out with an answer if you WERE guilty. But, for the vast majority of people trying to sneak into the U.S., these questions raise a sense of nervousness that can be detected when you reach the customs gate. If you notice, when they stamp your passport, they are almost always looking directly in your eyes the entire time. The guilty ones who are amateurs at it are usually pretty easy to read.

Now, this is all based on the premis that a customs officer is actually DOING his or her job. I've seen it so many times, especially on overnight flights arriving very late or very early, where the customs officers are half asleep when you arrive and just stamp you on through as quickly as possible so they can turn it all over to the next shift. If the personnel isn't doing their part, then you're right....the questions won't do a whole lot.

Other than this, like many have already said, its a paperwork thing. You may blow it off at first, but if you do something illegal, they have a signed legal document saying that you wouldn't do such a thing. Then they ship you to GITMO.  Big grin
Crye me a river
 
geoffm
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RE: US Immigrations And Their Useless Questions

Fri Oct 07, 2005 12:23 am

Quoting Usnseallt82 (Reply 18):
when you reach the customs gate. If you notice, when they stamp your passport

Customs are more concerned with the import of goods, legal or otherwise. Immigration deal with passports and whether you're allowed to enter the country or not.  Wink

Geoff M.
 
B707321C
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RE: US Immigrations And Their Useless Questions

Fri Oct 07, 2005 12:25 am

Thanks usnseallt82 for your detailed explanation, I believe that a lot of your comments explains the reason for the questions. But still most visitors to the US find the questions strange/amusing and thereby give them a very special first impression. However, last time I entered the US, the immigration officer was more concerned about making his computer work correctly with the new photo and finger printing system. I don’t think he even looked at me and he did not ask one single question.

Quoting Usnseallt82 (Reply 18):
The guilty ones who are amateurs at it are usually pretty easy to read.

Don’t worry about the amateurs, professionals are what you should focus on.

Quoting Usnseallt82 (Reply 18):
Other than this, like many have already said, its a paperwork thing. You may blow it off at first, but if you do something illegal, they have a signed legal document saying that you wouldn't do such a thing

It must be strange to live in a country, where it is easier to get in trouble for giving false information regarding ones intention, rather than actually do the crime in question. No offence, but I think that lawyers must have too much influence in the US.
 
senorcarnival
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RE: US Immigrations And Their Useless Questions

Fri Oct 07, 2005 12:29 am

When I applied for a Green Card in 1999, there were a couple of questions that asked whether you had been involved in any way with the Nazi Party in Germany between the years of 1932 and 1945 and IIRC there was something also regarding the Soviet Union.
Oh no, she's getting impatient! Take a stab at it!
 
usnseallt82
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RE: US Immigrations And Their Useless Questions

Fri Oct 07, 2005 1:58 am

Quoting B707321C (Reply 20):
I don’t think he even looked at me and he did not ask one single question.

I think that's one of the major pitfalls of our system. As long as we pay people barely over minimum wage to do those jobs, you'll never get officers that are actually concerned with doing the job correctly and efficiently. To be honest, our borders are probably the most easily penetrated in the world today.

Quoting B707321C (Reply 20):
No offence, but I think that lawyers must have too much influence in the US.

All I can say is, welcome to America!  Big grin

We've known this for years!
Crye me a river
 
SlamClick
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RE: US Immigrations And Their Useless Questions

Fri Oct 07, 2005 2:08 am

Quoting Usnseallt82 (Reply 22):
I think that's one of the major pitfalls of our system. As long as we pay people barely over minimum wage to do those jobs, you'll never get officers that are actually concerned with doing the job correctly and efficiently.

"Minimum" wage?

Do you actually know any Government employees? The customs officers at one western port (with which I was familiar) every single year ran up against the Federal MAXIMUM earnings rule for civil servants. That was about $65,000 a year at the time. I was making less than half that as a commuter captain at that time.

Several of them had luxury homes that I could not afford today.

On top of that they will have a fully-funded pension, something probably not one airline employee today will have.

Minimum wage my weary ass.
Happiness is not seeing another trite Ste. Maarten photo all week long.
 
usnseallt82
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RE: US Immigrations And Their Useless Questions

Fri Oct 07, 2005 2:56 am

Quoting SlamClick (Reply 23):
Do you actually know any Government employees? The customs officers at one western port (with which I was familiar) every single year ran up against the Federal MAXIMUM earnings rule for civil servants. That was about $65,000 a year at the time.

Yeah, I think I know a government employee.....  eyepopping 

Good for that guy then. But I beg to differ about the rest of the U.S. Customs payroll, the majority of them at least, making that much a year. Perhaps he was hitting it big with a major port, but I can promise you that most government jobs at entry level are just a little more than minimum wage. Try 25,000-30,000 a year.
Crye me a river
 
JGPH1A
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RE: US Immigrations And Their Useless Questions

Sat Oct 08, 2005 4:24 am

I like the one about genocide - Have you ever taken part in genocide ? Like anyone is ever going to say "Well, ermm, there was that spat with the Bosnians, but come on, it was only a couple of hundred thousand - does that still count ?" - silly INS !
Young and beautiful and thin and gorgeous AND BANNED ! Cya at airspaceonline.com, losers
 
57AZ
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RE: US Immigrations And Their Useless Questions

Sun Oct 09, 2005 1:59 pm

All I can say is that if the question is there, it's there for a reason. However I am certain that anyone who knows why it is there would never say anything on a public forum like this one. As one of my work related duties is passport application acceptance, I can say that where passports or immigration are involved, there are certain things that we never discuss in public or private outside of work.
"When a man runs on railroads over half of his lifetime he is fit for nothing else-and at times he don't know that."
 
B707321C
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RE: US Immigrations And Their Useless Questions

Mon Oct 10, 2005 6:43 pm

Quoting 57AZ (Reply 26):
All I can say is that if the question is there, it's there for a reason.

Well, great to hear that have such a great confidence in the system. No need to be critical in the US, I guess.
 
jaysit
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RE: US Immigrations And Their Useless Questions

Mon Oct 10, 2005 11:18 pm

Many of the TSA/INS people at immigration get a bad rap.

I have always had pleasant and smiling individuals who welcome me back home.

Quite recently, I accompanied my parents to the US from Barcelona via Paris. The immigration official was polite, welcoming and even deferential to my mother. He instructed her that he had to take her fingerprints based on a lottery based system, and was polite through the whole process (my father did not have to do the same). HE noticed that she was limping as she had hurt her leg at CDG airport, and offered to bring her a wheelchair and an attendant (which we declined, but were thankful for the offer).

A week after arrival, I sent a thank you letter to the TSA/INS staff at Newark.
Atheism is Myth Understood.
 
B744F
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RE: US Immigrations And Their Useless Questions

Tue Oct 11, 2005 2:58 pm

Quoting Usnseallt82 (Reply 22):
As long as we pay people barely over minimum wage to do those jobs

What happened? You took off your Conservative hat for a minute... are you OK?
 
B707321C
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RE: US Immigrations And Their Useless Questions

Tue Oct 11, 2005 4:16 pm

Quoting Jaysit (Reply 28):
Many of the TSA/INS people at immigration get a bad rap.

My critique was not directed to people doing their work and doing what their being told. My examples of useless questions were taken from I-94W and similar forms. Questions, which I believe have been carefully taught out by more senior people centrally.
 
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scbriml
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RE: US Immigrations And Their Useless Questions

Tue Oct 11, 2005 5:01 pm

I smile every time I fill one of those forms in!

At work we have to sign a code of ethics form each year. The form has about 20 question on it with YES / NO boxes to tick. All the answers are NO apart from the very last question. It's pretty funny to watch new people at work just tick all the NO boxes, then sign the form and put it in the envelope.  yes 
Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana!
 
usnseallt82
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RE: US Immigrations And Their Useless Questions

Wed Oct 12, 2005 12:12 am

Quoting B744F (Reply 29):
What happened? You took off your Conservative hat for a minute... are you OK?

The majority of my views are fairly conservative and aligned with conservative leaders, but there are some that break from this routine. Its called free thinking.  Big grin
Crye me a river
 
prebennorholm
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RE: US Immigrations And Their Useless Questions

Wed Oct 12, 2005 4:41 am

Yeah, always strange questions when entering the USA.

I remember very well first time, it was some 10 - 15 years before WWI on a ship docking on Long Island.

The immigration officer would ask questions and dictate what the registration officer should write on the ID card.

For every other passenger the conversation went like this:

- What's your name?
- Ich verstehe nicht.
- Ike Ferguson, next.

That should be the reason why there are so many Americans today with the surname Ferguson.
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