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Florida woman's fight with UPS touches nerve over security level

 
Anonymous Coward
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05/19/2009 06:54 PM
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Florida woman's fight with UPS touches nerve over security level
[link to www.palmbeachpost.com]

Florida woman's fight with UPS touches nerve over security level
By JOHN LANTIGUA

Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

MIAMI — A UPS envelope destined for South Florida is sitting in a warehouse in Louisville, Ky., instead threatening to set off an international dispute that touches on both immigration and national security.

Cristina Bustos, 33, of Bonita Springs said relatives in Monterrey, Mexico, shipped her the envelope in late March. It contains the birth certificates of two relatives living in Florida who want to apply for their Mexican passports at the consulate in South Miami, she said.

The envelope never arrived. Bustos said she received a voice-mail message from a UPS employee in Louisville telling her that it was being detained there. The reason: It contains official identification documents from another country, and she needs to identify herself further before receiving them.

Since the Sept. 11 attacks, the U.S. government has been concerned about counterfeit documents being used for fraudulent purposes.

"She said the only way I could get it was to send her proof that I am a legal resident here," said Bustos, who works at a McDonald's in Fort Myers. "She wanted me to e-mail her a copy of my green card."

Bustos said she has lived in the United States for 15 years, became a legal resident and received her green card in 2002.

"I told her I thought that was ridiculous," Bustos said. "She represents a private company. She's not an agent for the immigration service, and I have no obligation to show her my immigration status.

"We paid to have those documents sent, and they should deliver them to us. There is nothing illegal in that envelope."

Bustos refused to budge, and so did UPS officials in Louisville. The envelope has stayed put.

But an angry Bustos contacted the Mexican Consulate in South Miami and spoke to the consulting attorney there, John DeLeon, who also got angry.

"My question is do they stop stuff coming from England with a Tom Smith sort of name?" he said. "Do they stop stuff coming to French people who are now legal residents of the U.S.? Or is this lady being targeted because of her Hispanic surname?

"On top of which, private companies should not be enforcing immigration law. What's next? McDonald's asking proof of citizenship before they serve a hamburger? This is a dangerous precedent."

Kristen Petrella, a UPS spokeswoman, said the company is simply following the law. U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents open and detain certain items, she said, and UPS' role is just to notify the customer how to get it.

"We follow exactly what they tell us to do," she said. "We are not an enforcement agency. We are not making the rules. We are in the business of making deliveries, but we have to follow the law."

Since soon after Sept. 11, customs agents have been stationed at courier service hubs around the country where packages arrive directly from foreign countries. They include the UPS facility in Louisville, FedEx in Memphis and DHL in Wilmington, Ohio.

After shipments are X-rayed, some are opened and some are detained. Agents search for contraband such as illegal prescription drugs, counterfeit checks and other financial instruments, as well as forged documents that might be used to gain citizenship or some other right.

"Many people are involved in sending fraudulent documents to the U.S. for the purpose of stealing identities," said Zachary Mann, spokesman for Customs and Border Protection in Miami.

Some attorneys have insisted that the procedure violates the U.S. Constitution's Fourth Amendment guarantee against "unreasonable search and seizure."

Customs officials disagree. They say there always has been an exception to that law: People at U.S. borders can be searched and belongings can be seized without the usual warrants and legal prohibitions.

Because the courier hubs are where international packages enter the country, they qualify for the border exception, the officials say. Airports also qualify, they contend.

DeLeon, the attorney for the Mexican Consulate, counters that a "postal convention" that President Abraham Lincoln signed between the U.S. and Mexico in 1861 assures that all printed materials sent between the two countries should be allowed to reach their destinations "without any detention whatever." The birth certificates are printed materials.

"The Mexican government is encouraging Mexicans wherever they live to get passports," DeLeon said. "They can't get them without these documents."

No one at the Mexican Consulate could be reached for comment, but DeLeon said, "I can tell you they're not very happy about this." He represents only Bustos, not the Mexican government.

After the Sept. 11 attacks, Customs and Border Protection "was given the legal right to inspect everything coming into the country and going out," said Joanne Ferreira, the agency's spokeswoman in Washington. "Identity documents are of concern to CBP because of their potential use by terrorists."

She said couriers are required to obtain additional information about a shipment, including proof of residency, if customs agents ask for it.

Bustos would have the birth certificates if she had complied with the request, Ferreira said. If Bustos does not end up with them, they will be sent to the Mexican Embassy in Washington.
Anonymous Coward
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05/19/2009 08:34 PM
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Re: Florida woman's fight with UPS touches nerve over security level
I wish we could do away with borders between countries. What is the point of them anyway. So old fashioned, so medieval.
Anonymous Coward
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05/19/2009 08:36 PM
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Re: Florida woman's fight with UPS touches nerve over security level
"On top of which, private companies should not be enforcing immigration law. What's next? McDonald's asking proof of citizenship before they serve a hamburger? This is a dangerous precedent."

Oh the irony...
exactly
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05/19/2009 08:39 PM
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Re: Florida woman's fight with UPS touches nerve over security level
I wish we could do away with borders between countries. What is the point of them anyway. So old fashioned, so medieval.
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 646448


That is the point of the NWO = EU & NAU
Anonymous Coward
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05/19/2009 08:41 PM
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Re: Florida woman's fight with UPS touches nerve over security level
I wish we could do away with borders between countries. What is the point of them anyway. So old fashioned, so medieval.
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 646448



Yeah, let's stop all social services of freeloading leeches and free health care for leeches on other people's dime before we do that, huh?
Anonymous Coward
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05/19/2009 08:49 PM
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Re: Florida woman's fight with UPS touches nerve over security level
I wish we could do away with borders between countries. What is the point of them anyway. So old fashioned, so medieval.
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 646448


Oh yes.

Then we can all live happily ever after in that One Big Happy World, run by.....who, exactly.
Anonymous Coward
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05/19/2009 09:05 PM
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Re: Florida woman's fight with UPS touches nerve over security level
I wish we could do away with borders between countries. What is the point of them anyway. So old fashioned, so medieval.


Oh yes.

Then we can all live happily ever after in that One Big Happy World, run by.....who, exactly.
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 682958



This is easy.

Quit using UPS.

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