If you feel you have been mistreated or abused by a CBP (Customs and Border Protection) officer, the agency has a system set to address traveler complaints.  According to  “The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) currently has in place four primary programs to address and respond to customer complaints and compliments. They are the Passenger Service Representatives, Comment Cards, Customer Service Center, and a program where port directors and supervisors personally respond to telephone and verbal complaints.”

Although going through immigration is not checking into the Ritz, a certain standard of behavior by the officers is expected.  If you encounter problems, follow the agency’s procedures to complain. 

Most CBP officers are courteous and are simply doing their jobs.  However, as with any occupation, those who make a habit of being rude, unprofessional or abusive to custoners should be replaced.  In this economy, finding qualified people to perform those duties should not be too difficult.  Inspired and qualified?  Go to careers at CBP, they may be hiring now!

Author: Bradley Maged

I'm Brad Maged, an immigration lawyer in Boston, Massachusetts. I help people who want to live and work in the United States and companies that wish to employ them. This blog provides opinion and information on developments in immigration law. Thanks for reading!


  1. i am a flight attendant and was fined by an officer for supposedly not declaring what type of food i had even though i declared that i had food and now i have to pay a $2000.00 fine for it ,if anyone can help me through the steps on how to go about dealing with this matter please email me as time is limited i have a month to pay for it or get a hearing..
    the officer treated me biased and was very rude and insulting to me.. Please help me thanks…

  2. I am a Viet Nam veteran that believes fought for a humane, democratic, pro human rights United States. We are now past way past our second centenial and see that we are going backwards and not forwards. Protecting our borders do not give immigration officers working on my tax dollars to be rude to me or my family members.

    On June 7th, 2010 around 2:00 am both my mother and I were badgered by a Treviño officer at the Laredo border. Both my mother and I have been legally in the United States since 1955. I am an American citizen, my mother remains a legal alien because of mistreatments like these.

    I have never been asked for a passport crossing the Laredo border and have lived in Laredo since the early sixties until I moved to Austin for college. I was mildly harassed telling me that they may or may not allow me into the United States where I own a home and work for AT&T. My mother was a different case. Officer Treviño in his bad Spanish asked my mother to give him el sobre which in Spanish means an envelope. My mother had her card in a little leather wallet Mr. Treviño thought was called an envelope in Spanish. My mother puzzled asked what sobre? He rudely told her if she did not give him el sobre he would detain her for two hours. That was totally uncalled for to a law abiding 78 year old senior with documentation.

    Seems like every tine we cross this border there are other Treviño type officers misunderstanding their roll in protecting our borders with being totally impolite with brown people.

    I have written about this to Senator Doggett before and must bring this incident to his attention once again.

    Police officers do not have the right to badger law abiding people. I were not given an open invitation to be rude to the Vietnamese people while my two tours. What gives employees working off my tax dollars authority to speak to people like my 78 year old mother and myself in that tone of voice and be a smart ass about doing their job?

    I would really like to see changes in the way these public servants speak to people that have a need to travel into thye United States.

    Please let me know what you are doing to avoid abuse of power like we always encounter crossing the border.

    Honestly I am tired of being afraid to go to Mexico because of these harassments. The last time I visited was 2007.

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