Last Saturday, August 18th, my friend & comrade, Fred, and I arrived at Newark International Airport, Terminal B, by Lufthansa 408 coming in from Duesseldorf, Germany. The Airbus was mainly occupied by German and American folks.
The plane was on time, around 2:40 pm, and we entered the immigration zone there some minutes after disembarking. All of the 65 booths for U.S. citizens & residents and visitors were open. At around 3 pm a computer glitch, disabling fingerprints and digital photographs as well as processing data, caused a big queueing up.
First, it was quite a guessing what was going on there due to "zip" information provided.
The immigration guys and gals, sitting quite cool and relaxed in their booths, were happily chatting with one another and kept the passengers standing in line without any other reaction.
The major present opinion of passengers' was:"Typical public service behavior, the servants are not in charge of this, let other people fix it. The main thing is, we have served our working-time up to now."
The stalemate was for almost 90 mins till obviously a responsible superior made a savvy decision and get them to work instead of chatting and dumb blabbering.
All of a sudden the guys and gals immigration officers worked like "switched on" again and started churning out their visa stamps. Without taking pictures, fingerprings and unnecessary questions about purpose, duration of stay, return-ticket and money cash at hand, we were almost waved through.
I am kidding, the computer system worked partly, and the passport documents could be digitally copied.
But, the "major" entry requirements, like fingerprinting and digital photographs, didn't still work after the "magic order" (sensed heavenly sent) from above to let the people in. Imagine the "pile up" of immigrating people at that time.
Whoa, I said to Fred," Finally, a customer-friendly boss made a smart decision."
Did he / she really compromise U.S. homeland security by letting people in without fingerprints and photos. Well, I guess not.
"Why this move against stiff regulations?" Some 'scared and worried people' in the U.S. might ask.
The chips in the passports of passengers are nowadays mandatory. The fingerprints, at least the index fingers, are digitally stored on German and U.S. passports, right? And, I do think that the 'cool and safe & sound sitting' immigration officers can detect false documents on the spot, right?
So, the orders to let the citizens, residents and visitors in were given quite late - but they were finally made in the interest of the arriving people and not by sticking to "unflexible" behavior and thinking. Thumbs up for that, Mr. or Ms. supervising officer.
Well, Fred and I arrived at the hotel at 7 pm in the evening but we could still make our night bus experience by Grayline.