“1 out of 2 ain’t bad…”

Mr. & Mrs. Passports. Visas. Computer: ho-hum. Yaddie yaddie? Yaddie
yaddie yaddie. Yaddie? Yaddie Yaddie. Bang Bang Bang Bang.

It’s another day at the office, this time behind the glass at San
Francisco International Airport. Flights come in, flight go out. In comes
a Mexicana Airlines flight filled with US citizens, Green Card holders and
the occasional Mexican visiting relatives. Routine stuff.

Until ho megirl walks up and gives me a Guatemalan passport. Now, I look at
this passport and think to myself “what the hell is a Guatemalan doing on
a Mexicana flight?” I mean, Taca I understand, but Mexicana? So she’s got
my curiosity peaked, which is rarely a good sign.

She’s approximately mid-fifties and doesn’t look like a candidate for the
undocumented worker pool. She says she wants to visit her sisters for two
weeks. The passport’s valid and is legit for all I can tell (Guatemala
isn’t too big on document security). The visa is valid and appears to be
legit. The computer’s got nothing interesting on her. I ask for her
tickets and they makes sense: Guatemala City – Mexico City (two hour
layover) – San Francisco. The dates jive with her story so I guess she’s
got to get here somehow. Bang Bang Bang.

Up walks homeboy in a blue suit and green tie, looking like he just walked
out of a swing music video. …with a Guatemalan passport.

“Are you
with her?”

“No.” Bullshit.

I turn around and the lady’s gone, but homeboy is still here and he’s
mine. The computer’s got nothing interesting, but he’s going to secondary
anyway. The passport looks good (but, again, it’s Guatemalan).

“Do you have another passport?”


“Is this your first passport?”


There’s only one visa, a multiple-use good for ten years. But the visa’s
old and has only been used once. The embassies don’t generally issue
either ten year visas or multiple-use visas the first time around, you
have to earn them with good behavior. I don’t have the smoking gun

See it’s not enough to convey curiosity, I have to give the folks in
secondary enough material that they become suspicious. I want them to
throw his bags around and look at his documents under microscopes and
strange lights.

I ask for his tickets and he gives me a set with a familiar itinerary. The
same one as the previous passenger.

“Did you know that lady?”


“Why do you have her tickets?”

“We bought them at the same place.”

“You have tickets in her name because you bought them at the same


“But you don’t know her?”


He get’s the “are you joking or do you actually expect me to believe that
crap” look.

“Go to Secondary.”

Turns out he had perviously entered the U.S. on a single-use visa (no
expired) but had it chemically altered so he could re-enter. It’s kinda a
stupid thing to do because he could have gotten a legit one if he’d asked.
I’ve been getting congratulations on the catch for three days now.