Infuriating: US Immigration Is A Complete Disaster

Filed Under: Travel

I understand that these are unprecedented times for just about everyone, and that this situation isn’t easy, no matter who you are — it’s tough for the government, it’s tough for hospital workers, it’s tough for airlines, it’s tough for… literally everyone.

Most reasonable people are trying to adapt best they can, but I can’t help but feel a special kind of disappointment seeing scenes from US immigration checkpoints.

Lots of people are flying from Europe to the US

At the moment we’re seeing lots of people flying back from Europe to the US. This comes because:

As you’d expect, the airports have been packed the past couple of days, and will likely continue to be packed for the next couple of days. It’s not just Europeans trying to come last minute, but also Americans returning out of panic.

What’s the scene like at US immigration?

Almost across the board I’m seeing reports of absolutely outrageous lines at US immigration checkpoints at airports. Not just an hour, but, like, several hours.

Reports at most airports suggest passengers aren’t being offered anything, while reports at other airports suggest passengers are being offered water and disinfectant wipes, given how bad the lines are.

What could possibly go wrong with thousands of people being inches apart for hours on end while returning from “hotspots,” as Trump describes it?!

And here’s the craziest part — you might think that the lines are this long because they’re thoroughly screening every passenger, assessing medical conditions, etc.

Nope. Virtually all the reports I see suggest that US passport holders aren’t being asked any health questions, aren’t being reminded that they should self quarantine, and are basically just being waved through (after waiting for hours).

Bottom line

I get this is tough on everyone. But it’s maddening to not only see immigration lines that are hours long (so much for social distancing), but on top of that to hear that apparently no sort of screening or questioning is being done on Americans who return to the US, Americans aren’t being advised of the precautions they need to take, etc.

If a Europe travel ban was going to be added, then it seems like they should have thought through the logistics of the panic that would create, because based on the pictures we’re seeing at immigration checkpoints, it sure seems to me like this could be making things even worse. Wouldn’t it have been smarter to add a gradual ban and cap the number of flights so that immigration facilities would be equipped to handle the situation?

(Note: The featured image is from Cancun Airport a few weeks ago, so it’s not the US, but was a similar story)

  1. The dotard and his regime caused this. No planning, just knee-jerk “decisions” based on mood and dementia.

  2. The US government isn’t thinking anything though right now. Policy is Jared’s spitballs crowdsourced from his mates on Facebook.

  3. If you read the Fifth Risk you will realize this Gov’t has exposed us to several risks not just Corona. Unfortunately we as a society do not understand this

  4. Not surprising. US Immigration is a disaster in the best of days, you just need to be a non US citizen to see that.

  5. Im not sure, but the US Border control has an airport wait Time that can generate reports of wait times at individual airports and tracks that for several months. site which Im sure you know about but it doesn’t show 6 hour waits at all. We all know customs is a zoo, but perhaps people are exaggerating? I don’t know.

  6. I can confirm they are just waving Americans through customs. Two family members had to fly back to Ohio from Spain right after Baby Brent closed travel with Europe. The were just allowed to walk through with no questions or comments about quarantine.

  7. Politics aside by those blinded by that…If they are just “waving American passport holders through” then why would there be 6 hour long lines? It doesn’t add up. I’ve stood in long customs lines before even with no virus hype and it didn’t matter who the president was.

  8. For those who want more government involvement in our lives this is an example of why you don’t. it’s not about politics; it’s about massive, unresponsive bureaucracy.

  9. To be expected. Measures like this have never taken place at this magnitude. Patience, we’re all going through a new experience.

  10. There’s no evidence other than their bald statement that this is being done to slow the rate of spread of disease. Having people go through 13 funnels and then fan out across the entire country guarantees community spread with multiple epicenters for future spread. Doing this at ORD & DFW guarantees the Midwest will be hard hit.

    Economic collapse for the many is a buying opportunity for the few. Follow the money. Never attribute malice to stupidity. When someone’s actions keep putting money in certain pockets, that isn’t some crazy coincidence.

    I read The Fifth Risk @Marcus. Good book.

  11. There is a special place in hell for people that whine in the midst of harsh times and when people are doing the best that they can.

    But there is the worst place in hell for cowards who try to make this political.

  12. I hope they are telling every single individual who goes through that to self-quarantine even if not coming from a hotspot. What is going on at our CBP checkpoints upon arrival to the US could be a superspreader event of COVID-19. I seriously hope no one catches it while waiting to clear customs in America’s airports but I have my doubts. Please self-isolate if you went through this people.

  13. Following my experiences with US Customs and Immigration I am not surprised at what is happening. Most of these guys don’t seem to give a damn how long you have to wait. Some think it is perfectly OK to shout at or patronise adults (passengers and airport staff) as if they were young children. LAX in particular have an attitude problem.

  14. This is unbelievable and we are just steps away from anarchy. This is all due to Trump spending weeks calling the virus either a hoax, created by media and democrats, Obama’s fault, or “not my responsibility.” It’s led us to being three weeks behind any preparations or build-up to handle what every scientist and expert knew was coming. Instead of anticipating and learning from our “former” allies as we watched them get blindsided (Italy), Trump just made light of it and only took it seriously when his precious stock market started collapsing.

    As a whitewater kayaker his response has been like me running a river backwards and hoping for the best in reacting after each disaster compounds on another.

    At this point I swear I would feel more comfortable if the military took temporary control of the Government, removed Trump from power, and made drastic measures to manage this situation. If not, I really fear we are just a week or two away from looting and anarchy on the streets.

    And this…private jet companies have reported huge surges in flights by the super wealthy to their private remote estates and islands. They know it’s coming.

  15. @DaninMCI Last night people on Twitter were sending the pictures to report 4-6 hour hours standing around baggage claim, so it appears the baggage may be going through some kind of cleaning before it’s unloaded. In any case, it’s the 4-6 hour wait for bags backing people up at ORD. You seem to be the only person who doubts the veracity of actual people on the scene sending photos. They’re there, and you’re not. I’m gonna believe them.

  16. The emphasis on baggage wait time reminds me of an incident with LH at EWR, It was the end of a contractual dispute with the outside vendor that handled baggage. maybe they are operating with a skeleton crew either due to quarantine, general slowdown or layoffs.

  17. People making this political should strongly consider their life choices. You are filth.

  18. @V. When people start looting in the streets and the nation turns into anarchy due to the late and idiotic actions of “Your President” I imagine you will be calling that “fake news” as well. You will be fine though, when organized gangs invade your home and hold you hostage just remember to yell at them, “you don’t exist, you are just fake news.”

  19. It’s amusing that those who are saying “it’s above politics” of course are in the bag for Trump, and just don’t want to admit his massive failure of leadership.

    If Obama had 1/10 of the ongoing scandal Trump has, Fox News and its viewers would be apoplectic.

    Sadly we have 8 more months of this until we can have some sensible, serious, honest leadership in the WH. We have to rely on each other (and actual scientists & doctors) to get us through this now.

  20. My God Stuart do you really believe what you just wrote ? Thats more frightening than what is actually happening.

    Lucky has a good and valid point however this is like telling the grocery stores they failed as well because of the hundreds of thousand people want toilet paper and food only to find shelves empty. what about 911 I was flying then so Stuart did you feel the same then?

    I am not posting as a supporter of the administration rather as an American who has been through war ( wounded ) and seen real panic and due to chemical exposure in the military in a very high risk. But folks I took charge of my own being and prepared, not relying on the government maybe you should as well Stuart.

    Suck it up everyone act like Americans and we will all get through this.

  21. @Matt. Trump made it political. Not us. He did it by losing precious time in preparing the world’s wealthiest and most powerful nation as every scientist warned him of what is coming. Instead he spent weeks calling it a hoax, a little cold, fake news, democrats, and ending with the classic, “it’s not my responsibility”

    You are “filth” for defending him in what is going to become the worst global humanitarian crisis, both in health and economy, that the world has seen in generations. And it could have been mitigated had he listened, led, and planned instead of lying to the nation for weeks.

    So, yeah, you better believe I am going to make it political now at every chance I get. As should everyone.

  22. @ghostrider. Welp, people laughed at me weeks ago when I said this will bring the world to a standstill, flights will be shut down and martial law will end up happening.

    So, why would anarchy not be the next progression? It will start in places like Brazil where gangs have as many weapons as the military and spread quickly.

  23. People need to stop with these pointless criticisms. What would have been a better approach? It’s not just the US that is quickly shutting down travel. Most of Europe is as well. So this crush of returning travelers was largely inevitable, irrespective of decisions made by the administration. From a public health perspective, we likely should have down travel even more quickly. We certainly should not be delaying shutdowns now just to ease the crunch on airports or for traveler convenience. Everything we are doing today should have been done yesterday. Time is not our ally.

    The people who waited in the long lines yesterday should be relieved that they are back and should promptly do their part and self-quarantine. That’s how we will get through this, and hopefully safely and quickly.

  24. Good luck my American friends… I am Italian and we are working hard to protect ourselves from COVID-19… we moved late and we are paying the consequences of it… I hoped other countries will learn from us but it doesn’t seem so… wish you all the best

  25. The government’s response to a crisis is inherently political. Dunno why some people don’t understand this.

  26. Not news, the underlying problems have been like this for years but in normal times it’s less obvious especially to regular American travellers.
    U.S. customs and immigration is poorly organised, sometimes lazy, often staffed by people who aren’t that smart so deal badly with anything new, has inefficient processes and is aggressive.

  27. Ok Lucky you seem to have chosen to edit comments to fit your agenda and not in response to others. My point is that while this administration was slow indeed to react I submit politics are sadly playing a role here. Having said that is this any different to the aftermath of 911 I was flying then and faced essentially the something as we are witnessing now. For heavens sake why were these people not coming back sooner? As for “stuarts” comments does he really believe what he wrote.

    why are we not critical of the grocery stores who’s shelves are empty from mass buying? Are they any different than the choke points we have at the airports ?
    What we all need to do is to calm down take charge of yourself and we will all get through this.

  28. Precious time? The Chinese lost the world precious time by hiding this thing. Precious time? Trump put in place a China restriction and was called racist. What is he supposed to do when he sees the EU and the UK capitulate to this virus?

  29. ghostrider5408 has supported Trump for years and repeatedly towed the Trump line. Not that it makes a difference.

  30. “For those who want more government involvement in our lives”

    Well, if it’s a competent government…

    “This is all fake news. Stop falling for uncorroborated tweets.”

    So…these are fake pics of lines of people at airports?

    “What would have been a better approach?”

    To have taken this more seriously and behaved accordingly?

    “and seen real panic and due to chemical exposure in the military in a very high risk. But folks I took charge of my own being and prepared, not relying on the government”

    Details please, otherwise nobody will take what you wrote seriously.

    “But there is the worst place in hell for cowards who try to make this political.”

    I’m not sure I follow your logic or reasoning. It seems like you’re trying to deflect (legitimate) criticisms of the way the administration is currently handling the situation?

  31. I was flying on United on 9/11. I was on one of the first flights back from Europe to the US after the US started allowing in common carrier flights a handful of days after 9/11.

    There were no such massive lines at US airports of entry in the days after 9/11. There were no such massive lines at US airports of entry last week or at this time last year. But this weekend, Trump’s DHS/CBP has created such massive lines at US airports of entry that it’s worse than the worst lines that I have ever seen at airports anywhere served by US common carriers.

  32. If I had more time to gradually have my car accident, I would have made sure to wear my bubblewrap suit.

  33. This was a decision made in the White House. It may indeed have been the tight decision. But the person who runs the place is a elected official. It is reasonable to ask whether he or those around him thought about the consequences and prepared adequately for them. Some might dismiss this as being “political.” I call it holding our elected official accountable. That is is how a democracy works.

  34. To all saying those who make this political are filth, consider Trump literally blamed Obama for testing shortages in his press conference on Friday. He also said he took no responsibility for the testing shortage. Call whoever’s you want “filth”, but Trump himself is clearly the epitome of filth as he clears himself of his sworn duty to protect the American people.

  35. But I don’t get it. And I have spoken to 4 friends (on the phone, natch) who have come through the cluster that is US customs and immigration. They all asked the same: why?

    Nothing has changed at the immigration booths. People are welcomed back to the US and waved through. No additional screenings. No health questionnaire. No advice on what to do when they arrive home.

    It’s the same number of flights as before. Same capacity. Other than a few [normal] delays of inbound aircraft, planes are landing at the same scheduled times. No new flights put in service.

    So why the delays?

  36. Looking at this from the UK, it seems to be mind numbing stupidity. Without the political filters our US friends have, all I hear is a President looking to blame anyone but himself rather than acting Presidentially.

    Why is the US so low in infections? Because they haven’t been testing at the rate/ratio of European countries. You simply don’t know, because you haven’t been allowed to find out. If UK models from our testing apply, there are probably 100K+ cases in the US.

    The travel ban has meant that thousands of Americans, probably quite a number with infection, have now been corralled in airports, spread the virus and then distributing on their connecting flights around the country.

    An ill conceived, badly implemented plan from a President who doesn’t listen to advice (Donald knows best) who wants to be seen doing something, anything, so he won’t take the blame.

    Leader of the Free World no longer.

  37. It defies belief that people can excuse this gross and heartless incompetence. These returnees would have been feeling anxious, probably stressed by making last minute bookings, almost certainly apprehensive about flying with passengers from known hotspots. So in that context, and against all medical advice about the need to distance, the razor-sharp minds in the administration put together the makings of this fiasco. Clearly, not a scintilla of common sense planning /staging went into it.
    At least the level of incompetence is consistent with that displayed in the roll-out of the testing regime.
    Mentally he doesn’t seem to have moved on from “it’s just one guy from China and we’ve shut it down”

  38. If the Chinese government would have done the right thing by blocking in their borders two months ago, none of this would happen.

    To this day, they still have not done what they were supposed to do. Furthermore, they are now showing off how “great” they are controlling the virus and mass brainwashing citizens thru all kinds of media that America is responsible for the virus.

    I am not a fan of Trump either, but let’s be objective people and point the arrow at the right target. However, don’t be racial and xenophobic toward Chinese/Asians/Italians/Europeans/etc. We are all victims at this moment. The only coward is by the name of Xi in Beijing.

  39. @Kevin. My theory and what I imagine will come out in time is that a large percentage of CBP agents are calling in sick or saying they need to “isolate.” I bet they were working with half the agents they normally have. Because, you are right, there was no reason this SHOULD have happened. Especially given that few were being questioned beyond the normal entry and were all U.S. citizens or residents.

    Police in Denver recently announced that they will not respond to requests they decide as non-essential or life-threatening. The breakdown of order will start first with govt. agencies, police, and security who are unable or unwilling to do their work. The looting and riots will follow.

  40. @Sir Fly A Lot

    China is not the right target because they don’t control what the USA does or does not do. They are a totally separate country on the other side of the Pacific Ocean. The blame for terrible stuff that happens in the USA lies within its borders, period.

  41. @Sir Fly a Lot
    I don’t disagree with that. But China is working overtime to rewrite this. Asking for an apology and for credit in slowing down the spread ( both suggestions should be met with open-mouthed incredulity by any reasonable person, but they did get some traction in ,ex-Japan ,Asia). Now they’re sending medical teams/equipment to Europe, received with gratitude.
    Rather than well-deserved opprobrium, they’ll end up looking like part of the solution…while Trump looks like part of the problem. It’s weird.

  42. Ghost rider you don’t know what you’re talking about. Lines looked nothing like this after 9/11. Nice try though. You fail to realize people in this board actually were traveling then and know. Now that is fake news. Just because you write it doesn’t make it so.

  43. China screwing up doesn’t absolve others, like Trump, from screwing up. Both can be wrong, and both can be called out for it.

    Otherwise, this seems like a case of deflection.

  44. I am surprised people say this is due to how China handled it. Actually it’s not. I have little Good to say about China but how they contained this should be commended. People were traveling before they knew really what was going on. Once it was determined they completely force quarantined the city and shut down all transportation. It’s those draconian measures which actually slowed the spread down. Only when it went to the EU and US who bumbled quarantining etc because you know why would we force quarantine anyone. Land of the free right.

    Like I said, China is largely a shithole but give credit where credit is due.

  45. @Paolo – because they did slow down the spread. China has practically shut down the spread of this. It was the EU/USA and everywhere else that continued with the flood gates that has really perpetuated this pandemic. Look at Italy. Look at Spain. He’ll look at us.

    We don’t know what we’re doing. One could argue we could never institute the draconian measures China took but regardless if other states had taken similar measures as them we likely wouldn’t be having this conversation now.

    The reality is they should be commended and we should take some of the blame. And trump should take a lot for his minimizing this issue as well as Fox News and others.

  46. Couldn’t they keep people on the planes in order to control the lines? I’m sure most people would rather spend extra time on the plane, watching movies etc, than standing in lines for hours.

  47. Mark my words, the history books will note America’s handling of Covid-19 as the official end of this country as the world’s dominant power.

    China and South Korea could contain it. We have already lost.

  48. It will be worse with Free Medicare for All. When there’s a government monopoly, like customs or the proposed Medicare for All, it is a potential disaster.

    Unfortunately, we will be forced to choose in November between disaster Trump versus disaster Biden. All the same candidates dropped out or didn’t run.

  49. @derek – lol. One candidate wants to overturn the ACA, the other one wants to enhance it. There’s *just* a little bit of difference between the two…

  50. @Ryan

    China contained it by going door to door and removing people. Also welding doors shut for buildings. Is that what you think America should do?

  51. @Shawn
    Yes and no. Yes, much of the response in the west has been woefully inadequate. But is there the will in countries like the USA for a China-style shut down? Maybe there will be in a couple of weeks, ie too late, when the hideous reality sinks in.
    In respect of China: no. No credit…they lied about it, harassed the whistleblowers, failed to close the vile and disgusting markets despite knowing, very clearly, the potential for a crossover virus ( selling Koala Bears, to eat, FFS). Their deceit, obfuscation and initial incompetence is going to kill tens of thousands of people around the world and in China, and cause a major recession. Beijing deserves nothing but contempt and the world should not forget easily or quickly.

  52. For those saying this was inevitable, no this was not. This is a result of kneejerk policy decisions that could have been planned for (this is literally the kind of contingency that governments are supposed to draw up plans for), but wasn’t because policy decisions are made by Jared and Stephen Miller 90 minutes before the President goes on TV to give a speech to announce it without coordinating with anyone.

    The first thing you would do is game this out WEEKS ago. If you know that closing borders or restricting travel is a possibility, you think about what it takes to execute it and any consequences that will result.

    You work with ports of entry and the CBP to draw up and implement protocols to keep people at a safe distance from each other, a screening protocol for people entering the country from different areas.

    You understand that, in order to keep people a certain distance from each other and implement screening efficiently, you need to limit and space out the number of arrivals at any given time.

    So maybe you work with the airlines to plan for and help cover the cost of additional capacity, added frequencies, to be spaced throughout the day. Maybe you help airlines plan to run flights that are specifically O&D into major markets, where people can be screened and processed in a hangar, or at least at a different time so as not to create an additional bottleneck at TSA checkpoints. I don’t know…these are just ideas. The point is, you have to THINK about these things.

    If you need to, you ease arrival curfews, and work with regulators in places like the UK to plan additional arrival and departure slots, knowing that many slots are not being used right now.

    This takes time, but it is something that can be planned and coordinated.

    This could have been foreseen. This should have been a contingency that was thought through weeks ago. That’s why you have a DOT and and FAA who regulate airlines, who can communicate, draw up plans in partnership with airlines and regulators in other countries.

    But what you see above is what happens when you have someone at the helm of the (rudderless) ship who refuses to acknowledge that there is, in fact, an iceberg right ahead.

  53. Trump Trump Trump, Trump Trump Trump Trump. Trump Trump Trump:

    1) Trump
    2) Trump
    3) Trump

    There, y’all feel better now? This is ridiculous.

  54. There’s actually no need for a China style lockdown, just for much more testing in order to track the virus and do targeted quarantining. Look at South Korea. They have only a few thousand people quarantined and their new cases figure is down to the 100s. Not many people have died from the virus there either… I think I read about a 0.7% death rate.

    Another point I want to make is that the US government needs to be run by competent people rather than shunned for private companies. I don’t think a national emergency can be handled by any entity other than the Federal government. Thus the damn thing needs to function a lot better than it is now!

  55. People seem to have revisionist views of history. When flights from China were blocked these same people called it rascist, anti immigrant, another travel ban that is unnecessary …,,and that’s from people in government, some of whom are running for president. Now these same people are saying the government failed by not doing things fast enough. Remember swine flu ?
    It was 9 months before that government took steps. Testing more people is not necessarily the answer.
    First u test people with symptoms then their contacts. Test was not great as it took 2-3 days for results. Recently test developed to get results in 3.5 hours. That will help greatly advance it is done on automated machines. And thousands can be done in a day. But these are not everywhere. Next they will test healthcare workers. All epidemics start with problems but we are better this time than last one. We will be better with the next one. One pres candidate said more will die than in world war 2. Those scare tactics do nothing but create more panic. And as far as the hoax comment, the pres labeled criticism that the gov is doing nothing a “hoax” . Stop repeating things that u should know are false. You become part of the prob. Once elected the president is pres for all and u should hope any pres is successful in times like these…..

  56. Interestingly, there was no post by Mr. Ben when China was travel banned. There must be a consistent one standard here.

  57. Let’s not make this political, let’s make it religious, even though most of the churches have closed down.

    The people most at risk are —- Trump voters!

    Thank God.

  58. When the house is flooding, you don’t really have time to develop a 10 step plan and slow the trickle of water. You cut it off. We are where we are. I’m sure all of the finger pointing will get us through this.

  59. @Stuart and @Ross –

    You both are real class acts. Wishing my family is taken hostage by anarchist gangs and wishing the virus infects American worshippers is really a sign of an evolved human being.

    I’m sure your parents are so proud of the job they did raising you two.

    Neither of you are making this pandemic into a political statement. You’re making it personal by attacking me and attacking an entire religion. Unfortunately for you, this crisis will pass and Trump will be your president till 2024.

    Stay classy, boys. And if there is an apocalypse, feel free to head down south. I’m fully stocked, locked and loaded and would have no problem offering supplies, shelter and defense to all fellow Americans – even losers like you.

  60. I came back from LHR to LAX yesterday on BA. First line is to get to immigration – about 1 hour (no Global Entry or Mobile Passport were allowed – and each person was taking at least 2-3 mins to go through this check (some more). About 1/2 the desks were open. If you have been in Schengen area in last 14 days you were sent to CDC screening (temp check and questionare + contact details). There was lots of CDC staff there – and they were friendly, efficient and quick. But then, unbelievably, you had to go back to the back of the line for immigration AGAIN. What idiot is in charge of immigration at LAX ? This was another 1 hr + wait. Not sure what the purpose of the second check was – they asked you for address and email – which you already provided to CDC and (at least the address part) to them on the computer system previously. Cutting this extra step out (or having a fast check lane for people coming out of CDC line) would have cut the waiting lines down by at least 1/3. It’s not the wait so much that is the objection – it is the efficiency of the process – not very well thought through – and the fact that you then have lots of people from supossed hot spots waiting next to each other for 2 hours more than necessary. Guys, come on, I know ICE agents are just doing their job – but their management could have figured this out much more efficiently in my opinion.

    I heard DFW and ORD were even worse.

  61. Americans fly home from the current epicenter of the outbreak, do not go through any pre-screening and then get crammed into hours-long lines…and get no instruction to self-quarantine. WTF? The government has just caused a big wave of new cases.

  62. Wanna play a guessing game? There are several statements below concerning the Coronavirus. Can you guess who said each of them?

    January 22: “We have it totally under control. It’s one person coming in from China. It’s going to be just fine.”

    February 2: “We pretty much shut it down coming in from China.”

    February 24: “The Coronavirus is very much under control in the USA… Stock Market starting to look very good to me!”

    February 25: “CDC and my Administration are doing a GREAT job of handling Coronavirus.”

    February 25: “I think that’s a problem that’s going to go away… They have studied it. They know very much. In fact, we’re very close to a vaccine.”

    February 26: “The 15 (cases in the US) within a couple of days is going to be down to close to zero.”

    February 26: “We’re going very substantially down, not up.”

    February 27: “One day it’s like a miracle, it will disappear.”

    February 28: “We’re ordering a lot of supplies. We’re ordering a lot of, uh, elements that frankly we wouldn’t be ordering unless it was something like this. But we’re ordering a lot of different elements of medical.”

    February 28: “This is a hoax perpetrated by Democrats.”

    March 2: “You take a solid flu vaccine, you don’t think that could have an impact, or much of an impact, on corona?”

    March 2: “A lot of things are happening, a lot of very exciting things are happening and they’re happening very rapidly.”

    March 4: “If we have thousands or hundreds of thousands of people that get better just by, you know, sitting around and even going to work — some of them go to work, but they get better.”

    March 5: “I NEVER said people that are feeling sick should go to work.”

    March 5: “The United States… has, as of now, only 129 cases… and 11 deaths. We are working very hard to keep these numbers as low as possible!”

    March 6: “I think we’re doing a really good job in this country at keeping it down… a tremendous job at keeping it down.”

    March 6: “Anybody right now, and yesterday, anybody that needs a test gets a test. They’re there. And the tests are beautiful…. the tests are all perfect like the letter was perfect. The transcription was perfect. Right? This was not as perfect as that but pretty good.”

    March 6: “I like this stuff. I really get it. People are surprised that I understand it… Every one of these doctors said, ‘How do you know so much about this?’ Maybe I have a natural ability. Maybe I should have done that instead of running for president.”

    March 6: “I don’t need to have the numbers double because of one ship that wasn’t our fault.”

    March 8: “We have a perfectly coordinated and fine tuned plan at the White House for our attack on CoronaVirus.”

    March 9: “This blindsided the world.”

    March 13: “I take no responsibility at all.”

    It’s a list I quickly put together. I’m sure there are myriad more.

    Any guesses?

    But then, I guess it’s better than the Reagan Administration, which made jokes about and wouldn’t even mention the acronyms AIDS and HIV.

  63. I just hope the Trump Sycophants have learned to not get 100% of their info from Fox News (whose bubble has been well documented). Was it only a week ago they declared C19 was a liberal media fueled hoax? Lol.

  64. Reading this comment section is definitive proof that people are stupid. Making this situation political is just cheap and disingenuous. Of course, Dems in the US will try to use this to find a way to blame Trump, since their farcical Russiagate investigations and flimsy impeachment trial literally went nowhere. Dems are getting more and more desperate, which is hilarious in a sick sort of way. Anyway, back to the virus. As shown from the virus’s rapid spread worldwide, it’s quite clear that political leanings have no bearing on the situation. It was only recently that libs called Trump xenophobic for restricting access to China. Of course, now they are screaming that he should have taken the drastic measures he’s taking now earlier, nevermind the fact had he done so he would have been branded as overreacting and racist. Let’s just call it how it is: No matter what course of action Trump would have taken, Dems would have found fault with it, just on principle. But, let’s be honest: NO POLITICIAN IS AN EXPERT WHEN IT COMES TO PANDEMICS. REGARDLESS OF POLITICAL AFFILIATION, COVID-19 WOULD STILL BE A PROBLEM. STOP USING IT FOR CHEAP SMEAR CAMPAIGNS. INSTEAD OF POINTING FINGERS, WORK TOGETHER TO FIND A SOLUTION. Working together, I guess, is just a pipe-dream in our Divided States of America……..

  65. Chicago is another issue. When arriving several years ago from a MegaDo flight, the lines were real bad – and this was a normal day. Non-USA citizens – over 4 hour wait, USA citizens 1.5 to 2 hours. That is when I decided I needed Global Entry – at time I was just waiting for UA to kick in the free credit card for payment.

    Chicago has even been worst after you exit Term 5 since the train to the other terminals has been broken and shutdown for a year and a half. Is it open yet.

    Yes – this is an unusual time – but an Airport like Chicago shows lines like these pictures at normal times. I try to avoid ORD for international arrivals – JFK is my favorite with 8 terminals each with its own arrivals.

  66. These reports are all totally accurate, and the posted picture from Cancun airport, taken weeks ago, is definitive proof of it. 😉

  67. Someone I knew flew from LHR to Dallas on Thursday, right after the ban was announced (but he had booked his ticket before that). In the past week, he had been to a few places in Europe, including France. At immigration, he said there was not only a long line, but no check for symptoms (he’s an American Citizen) and they were only told to self quarantine and let go.

  68. To JetAway:

    If government is not the proper agent for intervention, how do you envision the invisible hand of the free market stopping a pandemic in a manner that leaves that very market unaffected? Markets are heavily influenced by peoples’ collective states of mind. So what is the mechanism by which the free market continues unaffected, or solves a pandemic by means of it’s invisible hand, and yet be detached from actual human beings’ states of mind? Serious policy question. If not the government, then who?

  69. @Thomas – you say “no politician is an expert on pandemics”. Probably true. That’s why Obama had a pandemic response team created. And increased CDC finding.

    Oh, Trump disbanded it in 2018. And decreased CDC funding. Whoops…

    Easy to say “can’t we just work together”, yet the Trump Sycophants see nothing wrong with Dear Leader’s ongoing lies and inaction.

  70. I flew LH FLR-FRA just before the nationwide lockdown was enacted in Italy. All passengers were required to complete a form detailing our itineraries and contact information. No such information was collected on my UA FRA-ORD flight. Temperature scans were taken at FRA to transit between concourses, but this seemed to be a local policy, not a UA/US one. The load was quite low on the flight and a flight attendant decided to greet me and have a chat given my status with UA. I described my recent travel travails as I had recently had flights cancelled in the UK and Italy. Later in the flight she took it upon herself to collect my itinerary and contact information on the back of a Polaris service flow document. Clearly neither UA nor the US government had any policies in place regarding passenger tracking related to COVID-19. Do they not care because the NSA already has all of this information? In ORD Global Entry was working normally and had no lines. I was able to make a very tight connection on the T1 C concourse in about 15 minutes after re-checking my bag, even with waiting for the crummy shuttle bus (there was not a single other passenger in the Clear/TSA PreCheck line). The virus surely spread among the crowds at customs yesterday. Will clearing some boomer liabilities off the books be so bad?

  71. The march to the gas chamber was less efficient. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine the mismanagement would continue to such an extreme.

  72. @Thomas,

    The issue with Trump is that the historical actions he took (disbanding the pandemic response team, cutting CDC budgets) and his more current actions of calling the virus a hoax, classifying information, downplaying the virus, trash talking Democrat’s, the testing kit debacle and his inactions have directly contributed to wider spread and the loss of American lives.

    Your failure to acknowledge this and instead trash talk people of different political leanings is not “working together”. Practice what you preach, focus on people and keep your politics where they belong, to yourself.

  73. Hospitals have cancelled elective procedures to ensure resources (doctors, beds, masks, respiration machines) can be used for the most critical medical cases.

    In this case if we planned to repatriate the bulk of the American population abroad, in through 9 locations, it would have been wise to cancel elective travel (people cashing in on deeply discounted flights to go to Disney World before it closes) in order to direct resources (TSA, CBP, disinfectant, line control agents) to the ports of entry.

    As it stands these pictures show that no one put any thought into public health protocols either — even the space inside the terminals could have been used to ensure safe social distancing.

  74. A friend returned LHR – EWR Saturday and wasn’t asked anything about past European travel history. She inquired about the self-quarantine procedures and was told….get this:
    “No…we’re not starting that until Monday, so you are good”

    OK…let’s just think about that for a moment….

  75. People need to take a step back and look at the USA as a whole. This country is severely broken and is not a leader anymore. It still has the world’s largest economy and some fabulous things but it has tons of problems people won’t acknowledge and fix.

    The medicine system is broken. I called one doctor (non related to the virus thing) and was number 10 in the queue to make an appointment.

    The infrastructure of roads, airports, bridges is a mess and many need repairs and replacements.

    We’ve been trying to squeeze every last dollar of profit out companies that they need to step back and start reinvesting for the future. Boeing is the most recent company that completely FU this and now they are bleeding money and people will lose jobs.

    Instead of all of these tax cuts which only temporarily boost the market, money needs to be invested into the country and that could mean higher taxes for everyone.

    People seem to think this virus scare won’t be long term, hopefully it won’t but eventually the impossibly large national debt is going to cause huge hardship because we ignore it. Like the pandemic you can only ignore things for so long before they cause problems and then people think that it is fixable in a short time.

    Somewhere over the last 40 years this country went down a very bad path and it will take a long time to fix it once someone acknowledges the problems. Russia and China are enjoying this, seeing a very fragmented and weakened US. We had economic power over them but that is disappearing quickly. Too many short sighted me first people in this world.

  76. I flew in to Tom Bradley Terminal at LAX this morning and cleared customs in seconds. There was no line at all.

  77. @ Aaron…when is the normal rush of European flights into LAX (I am more familiar with ORD)? I think that is when the bottlenecks appeared yesterday.

  78. Cleared DFW Customs this afternoon – no lines, used mobile passport (don’t have GE). This is just more last ditch fake news from a media invested in trying to make the current administration look like idiots.

  79. @Kevin So just because you didn’t experience it this afternoon, then it couldn’t have happened last night? Nice logic. It’s like telling your neighbor that your house didn’t get robbed this morning so you don’t believe him when he told you that he got robbed last night. How many European flights would have left just before the deadline and landed this afternoon at DFW? Yeah, I thought so.

  80. From “Scandinavian Airlines Suspends Operations Due To “Non-Existent” Demand” March 15, 2020 by Ben (Lucky)

    “This comes as Denmark, Norway, and Sweden, are all closing their borders this coming week to most foreign visitors.”

    They’re even further behind the curve than Trump?

  81. @Kevin – you may now return to watching Faux News 24-7…everything is good there, C19 is a HOAX, it’s a liberal media conspiracy, yadda yadda yadda

  82. @Kevin…the current administration is doing a fine job making themselves look like idiots. Because they are idiots.

  83. @Kevin. “ This is just more last ditch fake news from a media invested in trying to make the current administration look like idiots.” No need, this administration does a darn good job itself of looking like idiots.

  84. Our only hope was for people to stop traveling. All these people had a couple of months of advance warning that this would happen. I can’t imagine they were all doing essential travel. Even business travel I personally don’t consider to be essential.

  85. @Kevin don’t forget the one from today on twitter !!!!!1!!

    “We are doing very precise Medical Screenings at our airports. Pardon the interruptions and delays, we are moving as quickly as possible, but it is very important that we be vigilant and careful. We must get it right. Safety first!”

  86. Supply and demand. There are only so many lines at customs, and only so many employees and they need to take lunch and breaks. Shit happens regardless of who is in charge. We just came back from Tokyo. Customs there had no line for residents and about an hour for non citizens. Coming back to the us it was the opposite. Not a problem for us a long wait for non citizens.

  87. Ross you and the other posters who are making this political are fools. This is a situation without parallels. It wouldn’t matter who is in the White House. Quit your complaining lock your doors and stop posting this garbage.

  88. 400 years of hustlers and hucksters. The us empire was “exceptional”. FATCA and CBT.

  89. @ cargocult.

    Let it be known that you said this, “The virus surely spread among the crowds at customs yesterday. Will clearing some boomer liabilities off the books be so bad?”

    You actually just said that you are encouraging crowding for older people so that they will contract the virus and die? WOW.

    You are a sick person. I mean, sick beyond anything I have ever read here. We can disagree and blame and argue but to wish death upon a population based on generation is perhaps one of the most disturbing things I have ever read in a comment outside of Reddit in my life.

    Dude, karma is not going to be good to you at all.

  90. @Lucky. Really, based on the comment from CargoCult you should get his IP address (which you have) and send it to authorities. I mean, this dude is the next active shooter waiting to happen.

  91. @SirDumbalot….please save ur senseless ranting for Steven sure he’ll hear you out..

  92. I just can’t believe how a beautiful country can be managed so poorly for so long. At every visit I am amazed by the bad airports, inefficient and incompetent handling of passenger flows and the poor infrastructure in general. Not to mention the totally overpriced ‘health care’.
    This last example of the mess in airports was totally predictable and shows that 0 preparation was in place.

    My hopes for improvement are low. As it looks you guys are going to be forced again to make a choice between 2 incompetent idiots in November. Unless you manage to break this disastrous 2 party system, my hopes remain low and my prediction is that the US will continue to fall behind.

  93. What’s outrageous about @Stuart’s comments? Anyone remember NYC with simply the power off for 24h?

    It is political but there’s no point in arguing that. We have the sad benefit of a scorecard. When this is all said and done, we can compare our numbers to everyone else’s and then we’ll see how much politics had to do with it.

    The EU already has TWICE the infections per capita that China has. Meanwhile we are mixing sick with healthy in customs and distributing them nationwide. The “score” will speak for itself.

  94. I just arrived thru JFK T7 and it was fine. Took about 20 minutes to wait for CDC and straight through. Thankful as I was expecting a horror show.

  95. “Dems in the US will try to use this to find a way to blame Trump”

    Well…in this case, they aren’t that wrong for doing so.


    Yes, well, two years ago when Trump disbanded the global health security team on the National Security Council (NSC) that was responsible for preparing for a pandemic. The NSC’s global health security chief, Rear Admiral Tim Ziemer, was fired the day after an Ebola outbreak was declared in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Last year intelligence agencies warned that the US remained vulnerable to the next flu pandemic but Trump, it seems, hoped that his long streak of political luck would hold.

    Also, Trump turned down the offer of a German-made diagnostic test approved by the World Health Organization and taken up by many countries. It was reported that just 11,000 tests have been conducted in America so far, whereas South Korea is carrying out 10,000 tests per day.

    It seems that Trump only began to take the issue seriously two weeks ago when he saw a 1,000-point drop on Wall Street. Even then, he urged aides, including Kellyanne Conway and senior economic adviser Larry Kudlow, to go on television and preach confidence, according to five White House officials and Republicans interviewed by the Associated Press.

    So yeah, nobody is an expert…but man, did Trump repeatedly fumble like a buffoon during all of this.

  96. For those complaining as to why the President is being blamed, let me help you.
    1. He talked down the threat for almost 2 months
    2. He then proceeded to put a religious nutjob in charge of the entire exercise
    3. After disbanding the Pandemic Response Team (name might not be correct) he puts Jared Kushner as his point man for the response.
    4. Provides half baked ideas just to say hes doing something, but has not thought through any plan of action.
    5. The buck stops with the President. Even if he is an orange skinned dotard

  97. GUBlunder,

    You blundered, sort of like the country blundered by being in with you on your opposition to Hillary Clinton for POTUS ….. even as she was the less flawed character of the main two on the ballot for POTUS in November 2016.

    Denmark and Norway closed down the border in different ways, and timing relative to the US isn’t that meaningful. These two countries probably would have been better off closing down sooner, but the spread there came mainly from within Europe, from Iran/Central Asia and the US and not as much and early from China as happened to the US. Sweden has delayed closing things, even more than the US, and I expect them to come to regret that delay in taking serious action.

  98. @ Spruce Goods, @ Raoul Speingsteen

    Every single airport facility is supposed to have ‘contingency planning’ – be it for fire, flood, structural collapse, terrorist-related activity, power outage, labor strikes, etc.

    The same ‘should’ be in place for TSA, Homeland Security (under the authority of United States Customs and Border Protection ).

    I’m pretty certain that a bucket-load of money has been spent by these organisations supposedly training ‘senior management’ to anticipate and thent execute.

    Where are those responsible and why are they not being held accountable?

    Regardless of the political strip of ‘The Administration’, these are basic requirements expected of competent management. Where is the demand for ‘accountability’?


  99. oh Joe would just forget to check everything

    Bernie would just have open borders and not worry about it

  100. That’s what you get with massive government bureaucracy. That’s what you get with government workers earning excessive salaries, benefits and with unions preventing actual efficiency and competence. People think that because 1 guy is elected President it is going to change the trajectory of big government agencies and departments. Nothing further from the truth. As we have seen with more socialist Spain and Italy, more government and “free” health systems didn’t save them from the virus.

    People use the example of Nordic countries as to how efficient and beneficial socialism can be but they don’t realize that a country of 5 million mostly racially and ethnically homogenous people with the same culture and way of life is a lot easier than in a country of 326 million. Canada is touted for cheaper drugs and it’s healthcare system but Canada has 35 million people. And let’s not forget these countries like Sweden and Canada throw away their advantage of limited population with excessive immigration from non western countries. The mass increase in violent crime especially against women, drain on benefits and dissemination of low culture as a result of African and Arab migration has hurt Sweden. The dangers of an open borders policy was evidenced by the SARS outbreak in Toronto years ago. It wasn’t western tourists for the most part who spread COVID-19 from China and other countries to the west. It was ethnic Chinese who live in the U.S. who had families they visited in China and then brought it back to the U.S. It was ethnic Iranians who visited family in Iran and returned to Italy, the U.S. Canada and other European countries. Remember the Ukrainian airline plane crash in January where many of the victims were ethnic Iranians who lived in Canada. Tourism is great and It is very easy to shut down tourism. It is very hard when people have familial ties to foreign non western countries and pose a big risk to the western world.

  101. This has long been a problem at major US airports, waiting and waiting and waiting in a huge line that moves at tectonic pace, with only two or three agents working despite their being six or eight booths, spending ten minutes interrogating every passenger, even though you have a current ESTA, an onward ticket, and your passport was issued by a country that’s been a staunch US ally for the best part of a century. Do you know what happens when you rock-up with a US passport at an Australian airport? You get to sail right through the electronic entry gates. Time to return the favor, America.

  102. @Pete, not so fast buddy, I haven’t been to Australia, but I have been through numerous European airports and have waited a good amount of time. Most of the time its about 20 minutes, however one time I waited almost 2 hours to enter Lisbon. Ive waited an hour multiple times to enter Mexico. not everybody that has a “ally” passport is a “good guy ” or isn’t going to break the rules. BTW, you (ESTA and even B1/B2) are allowed to use the APC machines just like any US citizen…

    In all fairness, yes this is a big mess, but what do you expect when the AIRLINES schedule flight arrival times at the same time for their banks. YOU are the ones who buy the tickets and times. Everyone wants to arrive at a “good time”, well when you have 7-8 777/747/A330 and then another 5-10 737/A320 all arrive within 45 minutes of each other (on a normal day), what do you expect.

    At most there are what, 30-50 officers on duty to process several THOUSAND people. When you think it takes about 30-90 seconds to process a foreign traveler, and maybe 20-30 seconds to process an American, and thats without any other “stuff” to look for on the computer, yea its gonna take a while. Because everyone decided to come home on the same day at the same time, you can’t really put the blame on Trump, not that im letting him off on this, but come on man. There have been long immigration lines under Obama, Bush, Trump, and in foreign countries as well. But in reality, tell me what country is truly prepared for this mess. This is unprecedented.

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