I’d like to share with you a letter I just wrote to the Department of Homeland Security after an outrageous experience we just had coming into the United States from Israel. I do not know what benefits it will yield us personally, but I feel it incumbent upon me to share this with my fellow Yidden. Please beware.
Dear Sirs at the Department of Homeland Security,
On December 10th, my 20-year-old son, Moshe, was returning home from a visit to Israel. He flew Continental Airlines, flight #91. The flight went uneventful. Some time before landing, a stewardess (whose name my son does not remember) handed out forms to be filled out before entering the United States, as is customary. Anybody who had something in his possession that needed to be declared was to do so then, on the form.
Moshe thoughtfully asked the stewardess if the pound of pumpkin seeds he had with him needed to be declared. Her answer was, “Oh, they’re okay.” Clearly, this was not to be understood as “Write them down.” So he followed her orders, and left the form blank.
Upon entrance into Newark Airport, Moshe – a totally innocent A+ college student – was “randomly” pulled aside to have his bags checked. When Officer J. Rutledge “discovered” some seeds, he, outrageously, fined him $300, an exorbitant fee for something which he was specifically told he may bring in. The officer made up some lame excuse that they were suspicious of some “elephant’s worms.”
How absurd! Is this where our country has taken us? Do we have so few problems in our midst that we could frolic in abstract suspicions of the innocent? If the suspicion was well-founded, I can understand, perhaps, confiscating this innocuous bag of seeds. But to fine him, as a first time white-collar ‘offender,’ a $300 ‘violation’ fee, for which he did, indeed, inquire about and was, consequently, misinformed, is, simply stated, an injustice.
In the name of true justice, we ask of you to please rescind this fee. Not only did he not do it “knowingly” (as stated on the notice of violation form), but, once again, he did inquire and was misinformed. Please show your true red white and blue colors and stand up for absolute truth and justice! This young man is clean!
Mrs. L…. (mother of Moshe)