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United States: Whether the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) employs its own Immigration Officers at foreign airports to check documentation prior to boarding commercial flights to the United States; whether a person could board a flight in Pakistan and transit in another country without being examined by U.S. officials

Publisher Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Author Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada
Publication Date 1 July 1999
Citation / Document Symbol USA32316.E
Cite as Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, United States: Whether the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) employs its own Immigration Officers at foreign airports to check documentation prior to boarding commercial flights to the United States; whether a person could board a flight in Pakistan and transit in another country without being examined by U.S. officials, 1 July 1999, USA32316.E, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/3ae6ab8b9c.html [accessed 22 December 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

 

Section 1225a of the United States Code, Title 8, Aliens and Nationality, establishes the legislative basis for a regime of preinspection at:

5 of the foreign airports that are among the 10 foreign airports which the Attorney General identifies as serving as last points of departure for the greatest numbers inadmissible alien passengers who arrive from abroad by air at points of entry within the United States.

However, according to an official within the Inspections Section of the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) in Washington, this system was never implemented after it was decided that it was not a cost-effective approach to the interception of inadmissible aliens (14 July 1999). This was corroborated by the Immigration Attaché at Embassy of the United States in Ottawa, who added that one of the strategies arrived at to address this issue was to increase the number of Immigration Officers at United States embassies abroad, some of whom engaged in random inspections at foreign airports (15 July 1999).

In response to the question of whether a person could board a flight in Pakistan and transit in another country without being examined by U.S. officials, the Immigration Attaché stated that it was impossible to give a definitive answer owing to the variety of possible scenarios. As a minimum, such persons, if their final destination were in the United States, would be examined upon arrival. For passengers transiting through the United States, they might, in some airports, be sent to "sterile" international transit lounges prior to boarding their onward flights to a foreign destination. However, even those persons might be subject to examination, as it is INS practice to perform random checks of these "sterile" international transit lounges (ibid.).

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum.

References

Embassy of the United States, Ottawa. 15 July 1999. Telephone interview with Immigration Attaché.

Inspections Section, Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), Washington, DC. 14 July 1999. Telephone interview with official.

United States Code, Title 8, Aliens and Nationality, Section 1225a. [Accessed 13 July 1999]

Copyright notice: This document is published with the permission of the copyright holder and producer Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB). The original version of this document may be found on the offical website of the IRB at http://www.irb-cisr.gc.ca/en/. Documents earlier than 2003 may be found only on Refworld.

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