A number of newspapers in the U.K. are reporting that 2,000 elderly British cruise ship passengers were forced to endure seven hours of immigration checks when their cruise ship docked at the port of Los Angeles.
The U.K.'s Telegraph and the Mail Online have rather sensationalized accounts of how things went wrong once when passengers aboard the luxury P&O cruise ship Arcadia arrived in LA on May 26th. Although this was their 10th stop at a U.S. port, and they had all completed forms for multiple-entry visas, the passengers described a nightmare situation where the elderly passengers were subject to detailed passport checks, extensive background interviews, and full biometric checks, including fingerprints of both hands and retina scans.
When some of the passengers protested the Gestapo-like treatment, passengers complained that the custom and border agents retaliated against them. The newspaper analogized the mis-treatment to the manner terrorists are treated when they arrival at Guantanamo Bay.
Then an immigration officials' computer broke down, forcing the weary travelers to wait even longer.
The elderly passengers were 'herded like animals', according to an article in the Telegraph, "causing some to pass out and leaving others confused and bewildered."
The delays forced the P & O cruise ship to extend its stay in LA by 24 hours, and the passengers will miss a planned visit to Roatan, Honduras later this week.
A U.K luxury cruise turns into a U.S. Customs and Border Patrol "revenge interrogation" of geriatric Brits? The U.S. war on terror continues. They are lucky U.S. Homeland Security didn't water-board them . . .
Today's blog was mentioned in the South Florida Business Review - "The British Are Coming" and the U.K. Mirror - "Cruise Passengers Face Seven-Hour Ordeal at Hhands of US Immigration."