Caught somewhere between post 9/11 security concerns and personal rights is Cristina Bustos. According to the Palm Beach Post, her relatives from Mexico shipped her an envelope that contains the birth certificates for 2 of her relatives that live in Florida. But instead of receiving the envelope, Cristina, a legal resident, received a phone call saying that her envelope was being detained in Louisville and that “she needs to identify herself further before receiving them.” Later, a UPS employee told Christina that she had to email a copy of her green card if she wanted to get her envelope. Details, inside…
The article says,
Since the Sept. 11 attacks, the U.S. government has been concerned about counterfeit documents being used for fraudulent purposes.
“She said the only way I could get it was to send her proof that I am a legal resident here,” said Bustos, who works at a McDonald’s in Fort Myers. “She wanted me to e-mail her a copy of my green card.”
Bustos said she has lived in the United States for 15 years, became a legal resident and received her green card in 2002.
“I told her I thought that was ridiculous,” Bustos said. “She represents a private company. She’s not an agent for the immigration service, and I have no obligation to show her my immigration status.
“We paid to have those documents sent, and they should deliver them to us. There is nothing illegal in that envelope.”
UPS claims that they are only following procedures outlined by the government which is trying to prevent counterfeit documents from entering the country that could potentially be used by illegals to gain citizenship or some other right. The article says,
“Many people are involved in sending fraudulent documents to the U.S. for the purpose of stealing identities,” said Zachary Mann, spokesman for Customs and Border Protection in Miami.
Some attorneys have insisted that the procedure violates the U.S. Constitution’s Fourth Amendment guarantee against “unreasonable search and seizure.”
Customs officials disagree. They say there always has been an exception to that law: People at U.S. borders can be searched and belongings can be seized without the usual warrants and legal prohibitions.
Because the courier hubs are where international packages enter the country, they qualify for the border exception, the officials say. Airports also qualify, they contend.
It seems that UPS isn’t doing anything illegal in asking her to “identify herself further,” but do they have a right to know her citizenship status? Should the government be flagging 2 simple birth certificates over security concerns? Or should Cristina just roll over and get with the system? Let’s hear your opinions, Consumerists.
Florida woman’s fight with UPS touches nerve over security level [Palm Beach Post] (Thanks to Steven!)