Question: I participate in the Global Entry program, which allows you to go through U.S. customs faster. At least it did – until last summer.
I was returning from Europe when I tried to use one of the Global Entry kiosks at the airport. It stopped me halfway through the process and returned me to the start screen.
Since I’m accustomed to buggy software, I restarted the kiosk process. The second attempt was completed successfully and issued the normal receipt authorizing me to proceed to customs.
As I was walking to the baggage claim, a Customs and Border Protection officer intercepted me and asked why I completed the kiosk process twice. I told him the software suffered a glitch and had to be restarted.
The officer stated without any doubt that the kiosk software was error-free. He confiscated the kiosk receipt and escorted me to an immigration booth where my passport was stamped and I exited.
Several weeks later I received a letter from the Global Entry Enrollment Center, stating that my membership in Global Entry had been revoked for “attempting to evade inspection.” Not only was Global Entry privileges revoked and but my CBP file is now annotated with directions that I be sent to secondary inspection. On every reentry to the country, secondary inspection adds 30 minutes to my transit time.
I appealed to the CBP Ombudsman and received a reply that “the denial remains unchanged because you did not provide sufficient evidence that CBP used incorrect or erroneous information to make the original denial determination.” A second letter to the agency has gone unanswered. Can you help me clear this up? — George Percivall, Crofton, Md.
Answer: The government should have thanked you for pointing out the software glitch instead of punishing you.