Chris Moss Online

Are YOU A U.S.. Citizen?

I am waiting for a plane in McAllen, TX to take me back to DFW. The flight is delayed over 6 hours because of the fact that the aircraft is an MD-80. They always break.

When one enters the security line at the McAllen aeropuerta, there are U.S. Border Patrol agents adjacent to the airport security guy who checks your ID and boarding pass. As you approach, they ask you, “Are you a citizen?”.

My answer was of course “yes” and they said nothing else to me and I passed through security without incident.

This brings to mind two questions. I am a racial minority here in McAllen, which I guess makes me an easy case for the Border Patrol. I look like a white American, am slightly annoyed, and answered their question “yes”. If I were Hispanic and said “yes,” I wonder if that would be the end of it, or do Hispanic folks routinely have to produce some form of proof that they are a U.S. citizen?

My other question is, what would have happened if James had been with me? He would have had to answer “no” and then I’m sure they would have wanted to see his passport and visa. Although he usually travels with these, what if he had not? What if he traveled relying on his Texas driver’s license as the rest of us do?

The real downside here is that, with airport security if you can’t identify yourself, you merely can’t fly. If you can’t prove on demand that you are in this country legally, you could be detained by the government.

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