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A few years ago I went from Washington, D.C. to Cancun, Mexico for two weeks. I'm an Indian citizen on a U.S. visa, and I had a visa for Mexico too. However, while returning from Mexico to Miami, I was extensively questioned by the immigration official at Miami airport, about my activities in Mexico and my previous visa stamps.

Is a prior/recent entry into Mexico a red flag for U.S. immigration officials? Is so, why and is it fair?

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I do suspect they treat a Mexican entry as a risk, but I'm looking for concrete citations that they do. – Vedant Chandra May 31 '14 at 18:43
Regrettably, there is a large flow of illegal drugs from Mexico – Frank Thorne May 31 '14 at 19:14
Again, I already suspected that, all I'm looking for in an answer is actual evidence that it's a sticking point in immigration – Vedant Chandra Jun 1 '14 at 4:56
I'm not sure what you'd accept as "actual evidence", since CBP's guidelines for what's suspicious and not are (obviously) not public. – jpatokal Jun 1 '14 at 5:29
Americans made 20 million visits to Mexico in 2013, so I doubt its a problem of itself. – DJClayworth Jun 1 '14 at 18:47
up vote 1 down vote accepted

Is a prior/recent entry into Mexico a red flag for U.S. immigration officials?

I have recently finished watching all of the episodes of the TV show Border Security: Canada's Front Line. I know you asked about the States, but in this regard, I would say that the immigration practises are not too dissimilar.

I have observed two things:

  • Mexico: considered to be a drug source country. There are a good number of cases shown whereby visitors to Mexico and other South American nations bring back banned substances to their country of origin. This happens knowingly as well as under duress. Substances tend to be concealed within the body at times and this can only be brought out of the traveller under extensive questioning/checks.
  • India: I've heard immigration officers state that India is also a drug source country especially when packages are shipped from India. Another flag: it is not uncommon to find Indian visitors bring in undeclared food/fruits/meat products.

Is so, why and is it fair?

I think this to be a matter of opinion. Every country has their own rules on who they want to screen based on circumstantial clues. There are going to be people who think it makes a place safer and there are going to be people who think it is a nuisance.

I have my opinion too: immigration officers have a job to do regardless of a travellers country of origin, gender, race, etc. If you feel like you have been treated unfairly, there are channels through with grievances can be reported.

I do suspect they treat a Mexican entry as a risk, but I'm looking for concrete citations that they do.

That is not in the public domain. A lot of the time, immigration officers tend to question persons they feel could be concealing something.

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-1 mainly speculation! – user141 Jun 2 '14 at 14:34
@andra With the majority of material pertaining to this topic being private information, speculation is the best we can do. – Vedant Chandra Jun 3 '14 at 12:59
@VedantChandra In that case the question is not a great fit for this platform on the base that it is primarily opinion based and should be closed as such – user141 Jun 3 '14 at 14:29
A similar TV show about the U.S. Border Patrol is Border Wars. It mostly covers the U.S.-Mexico land border. – Michael Hampton Jun 3 '14 at 18:04

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