Digital Version of November/December 2014 Print Edition
CBP revokes traveler’s Global Entry membership over eggs and potatoes
Customs and Border Protection officers revoked an international traveler’s membership in its trusted traveler’s program after he tried to smuggle some unusual contraband items through customs at Washington-Dulles International Airport.
The passenger, arriving at the airport on a flight from Tokyo, failed to report several items upon entry and use of the CBP’s Global Entry Kiosk on Feb. 25, said the agency.
Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists fined the passenger $300 for failure to declare dried eggs and sweet potatoes, and CBP officers permanently revoked the traveler’s Global Entry membership. CBP said he also had a Swiss Army knife.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection said its officers referred the passenger to a random trusted traveler compliance inspection. The passenger subsequently answered ‘No” to all questions on the automated Global Entry kiosk, said the agency in a Feb. 25 statement. Questions asked if the passenger was bringing anything to the U.S., such as agriculture products, currency exceeding $10,000, or commercial merchandise.
Global Entry is a trusted traveler program that allows pre-approved U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents to speed through Customs and Border Protection international arrivals processing in just a couple of minutes.
The infraction seemed small, but the CBP said it took the violation very seriously as the program is based on trust. “It’s called a trusted traveler program because we place a significant amount of trust in members to comply with all customs, agriculture and immigration laws,” said Christopher Hess, CBP port director for the port of Washington. “Global Entry was never intended to be a freeway for smuggling prohibited products.”
CBP said it is required to validate trusted traveler programs through random compliance inspections. Violators face consequences, including loss of their expedited processing privilege, civil penalties or arrest.
As many as 12,000 international travelers a day may process their arrivals at Washington-Dulles, according to the agency. During peak arrival periods, it could take as long as 60 minutes or more to process the last person in a primary inspection line. Global Entry shaves that processing time considerably for trusted travelers through biometric verification at automated kiosks. Average processing time for Global Entry members is 64 seconds, it said.