Deported from Mexico


Yep, this is going to be a long story…

I am supposed to be sitting on the beach in Cancun right now, but instead, I’m back at my computer in Virginia Beach.  All is not lost though, I’m booked to fly back into Mexico tomorrow.  But anyway, here’s the story:

I won a trip for a guest and myself to vacation in Cancun for a week.  My guest, an old girlfriend who is a permanent US resident from Bolivia (been here longer than there), was traveling on a Bolivian passport.  Before even putting her name on the list we checked to see what was needed for a Bolivian to enter Mexico, and the response we got was “nothing other than a US citizen – just the passport.”  I was told that by US Airways, and so was the travel agency the trip was booked through.  No worries – let’s roll!  The night before leaving she realized her Green Card was sitting on her desk back at her house in Washington DC.  We knew she’d need that to get back into the States, so we got one of her roommates to FedEx it down to the hotel in Cancun.  We stuck to the itinerary and left Norfolk, VA for Philadelphia, PA (layover).  Once in Philly we were asked to show our passports 3 times (they’re a mess there) and we also had to show it in Norfolk – every time asking the US Airways staff if the Bolivian Passport was okay.  Also while in Philly, we wanted to make absolutely sure, one last time, that she would be okay to enter Mexico, so we went to US Airways Special Services and were told again “she only needs her passport.”  Feeling pretty confident, we got on the plane for Cancun.

After waiting through the Mexican immigration lines that make traffic on 95, in DC, look fast we ended up with Senor Napolean Complex; who just so happened to be the supervising officer on duty.  It was like he had been waiting all day for someone he could be a prick to and found us to be those someones.  He detained us in a back office and decided to berate us about how America sends Mexicans home all the time and that seemed to be the basis for his reasoning.  His subordinates were begging him to let us enter, but he was dead-set in his decision.  I offered to pay any fees and even have us detained to the hotel until something could be figured out.  He would not allow us to make any calls and refused to call the US Embassy or Consulate stating “you American’s do this to us all the time.”  In the end he said a Green Card from the United States would grant her access to Mexico.

So, to make matters even crazier, Senor Napolean Complex made a plane, that was getting ready to take off, taxi back to a gate and escorted us onto the plane.  Needless to say, we were not welcomed too well on the plane until people heard the story.

When we arrived in Charlotte, NC we were put in holding so US Customs could verify identification.  They were super friendly, and even waived all fees in sympathy to the situation (there was supposed to be a $500+ fine for not having a Green Card).  They also said a Green Card was not needed to enter Mexico, after they checked entry-necessities for foreign countries in the worldwide travel database.  US Customs said Senor Napolean Complex had a “stick up his ass” and was out of line.

Due to the lateness of the whole ordeal, we were put in a hotel over night and on a flight back to Norfolk at 9:30 AM the next morning.  US Airways was seriously apologetic, but couldn’t offer any financial recourse because customer service is closed on the weekends.  Our travel agency has already filed a complaint and I’m about to launch my pitt bull side at them first thing Monday morning.  US Airways was also fined $10,000 for allowing us to leave the United States without “proper documentation.”

As for now, we’re working on arrangements to get the Green Card from FedEx (already under a “stop shipment”) and another flight back to Cancun tomorrow.  We’re hitting the road up to DC in a little while….where we will also be flying back to Cancun from.

Needless to say, we’re on a Mission from God.

Hopefully my next posting will be from Cancun…

5 Comments Add yours

  1. Kim Clark says:

    OMG – you can’t make this stuff up!!!! Hope you are on the beach by now!! Kim


  2. Lisa Ponche says:

    Alex, you need a vacation from your vacation! Good Lord!


  3. axspot says:

    Sorry for the late reply. It ended up being one of the craziest maneuverings of all time.

    To finish the story from where I left off…

    About 2 minutes after posting this article we received a call from the travel agent who had gone out of her way to find a slew of flight options for the both of us. We also found out, from FedEx, that the package with the Green Card was still sitting in DC. Through all the exhaustion we gained the strength to continue the fight. We hit the road toward DC with a stop at Norfolk airport to try to get some retribution from US Airways – we at least wanted to be reinstated on the original return flight back to the States that US Air burned to return us. We discovered that they burned the flight in such a way that the only authorities who could reinstate us were out for the weekend. We dropped my car at the airport thinking there was still a chance and took her car up to DC to track down the package. We got back to DC around 8:30 PM on Sunday night. Grabbed some sleep and set off at 7:00 AM till 11:30 AM from shipping office to FedEx distribution office to shipping office and back and back and back again. All the while of driving between Dulles (where the package would head straight to Mexico) and Falls Church I was on the phone with the travel agent changing itineraries as we went. By 11:30 AM we were at Dulles for the second time and found out the package had just left 30 minutes before we got there. The distribution office didn’t open till 11:30 AM and they could have caught it. They claimed they saw the stop-shipment notification right after the package was loaded. If their location opened earlier we could have gotten it. At that point I called the travel agent again and filled her in on things, and was able to book a last minute flight on American Airlines by myself. The kicker was I had to take roundtrip tickets out of Reagan Airport on the other side of DC. Between driving from Dulles to Reagan we found out my mother was going to be in DC for the weekend; which meant I could catch a ride back with her on Sunday night. So, I ended up flying back to Cancun to have 2 of the 4 days of fun with my coworkers then spending the weekend in DC. To be honest, I didn’t want to go back to Mexico, but I felt compelled not to see every dime of this trip lost. All in all, it was a crazy time and one that I will never do again – totally f’ed up from the floor up once we got to Philadelphia (my most dreaded American Airport). I have no desire to go back to Mexico either – I think I said that the last time I was there too.

    As for US Airways, I really like traveling with them. They’ve always been my first pick on most flights and I would like to continue to make that statement. If they can throw in 2 first class roundtrip tickets for a future trip to Costa Rica I will continue to fly with them.


  4. ugh…Just reading your account gives me a splitting headache.

    I hate officials with something to prove. I’m sorry you had to deal with all that.


  5. Andrew Baillie says:

    Funny/frustrating story, as an immigrant know the feeling. ……So the bottom line will not be taking any trips to Mexico……..


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