A Filipina's trip to the United States to attend the wedding of her daughter turned into a nightmare after she was harassed, insulted, and deported by American immigration authorities. Carina Yonzon Grande recalled her harrowing experience at the hands of US Immigration officers at the Seattle International Airport on October 1.
Grande was traveling with complete valid documents -- a passport with a 10-year US visa valid until 2017, round trip plane tickets, and even shuttle vouchers. The 63-year-old, who used to work for the Asian Development Bank, is well traveled and has been to Italy, Austria, Germany, Belgium, Switzerland, Vanuatu, Fiji, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Uzbekistan, Pakistan, Australia, Hong Kong, and Singapore.
It was her 13th time to visit the US in a span of more than two and a half decades.
Carina Yonzon Grande with grandson Josh and future son-in-law Ken Shaw in this photo taken in March 2012 in Solvang, California
Her nightmare began when the immigration officer told her to go to a room where people were being held for more questioning. Grande said she was confined in the small room for 6 hours...Read more (Pinay traumatized by horror trip to US)
The immigration officer then returned to the room and accused Grande of being a liar. He claimed that he talked to her aunt, who allegedly told him that Grande will take care of her as a caregiver...
While doing this (searching Grande's purse), another officer passed and shouted 'Who is she, a TNT?'...
Caldwell (supervisor to the Immigration officers) gave Grande two options: be deported to the Philippines on the next flight of the same day or be put in jail and barred from entering the US for 5 years.
"Exhausted, hungry, and sleep-deprived, I chose option one," Grande said. "It is disheartening that at my age, I didn’t receive any respect from these officials. I was treated like a criminal. I was not allowed to talk to my daughter and grandson and my celfone was taken away from me. Even after the interrogation concluded, they did not give it back to me."
"It pains me so much that I was mistreated like this. I have never been so humiliated and demeaned in my life! I am still hurting and hope other people will not suffer the extreme humiliation I recently experienced," she said.