YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollectionsInspectors

Customs Inspecting

April 07, 1985

Three columns of newsprint were squandered on Peter Greenberg's sniveling "Making It Through U.S. Customs" March 3. The publication of such drivel was particularly ironic, coming as it did during the weekend when it became publicly known that Mexican drug traffickers have threatened to kidnap, torture and kill U.S. Customs and Immigration and Naturalization officers.

Admittedly, mine is a biased viewpoint, although I am writing only as a private citizen and not in any official capacity. I spent the better part of the last 12 years as a U.S. Customs inspector at LAX, and personally cleared several hundred thousand passengers from virtually every nation. During that time it was my privilege to work with hundreds of inspectors who, by virtue of their intelligence and dedication, are probably overall the finest group of people I have ever encountered. . . .

The only sound advice Greenberg includes in his petulant, self-serving article consists of his suggestion that prospective international travelers send for informative free brochures, of which there are many, put out by the U.S. Customs Service. If he had taken a few minutes to read his U.S. passport when he received it, he would have found that very suggestion and an address to which to write, and might have saved himself a lot of aggravation. . . .

I'm so glad that Greenberg is so taken with the old "Saturday Night Live" skit. We like it so much, too. It is frequently shown to new inspectors to add a bit of levity to their serious and complex training.


special agent

U.S. Customs Service

Terminal Island

Los Angeles Times Articles