MANILA, Philippines-An elderly Filipino woman who was on her way to her daughter's wedding in the United States was detained for six hours, berated, and threatened to be jailed by US immigration authorities before being deported back to the Philippines.
Carina Yonzon Grande, 63, a cancer survivor and a Philippine citizen who previously worked for the Asian Development Bank and has travelled to many countries, recounted her experience when she arrived in Seattle International Airport last October 1, which was her 13th travel to the US.
In an emailed statement from Ken Shaw, the fiancee of Steph Grande, she recalled how everything went fine with the arrival procedures until she was asked to go to a room where people were held for additional questioning.
"I was confined in that small room for six long hours. Questions about the purpose of my visit to the US were asked repeatedly by Officer Keavid Mam in a very arrogant manner," Grande said.
The immigration authorities did not provide her with food or water the entire time she was detained, she recalled.
"I was asked to give names and corresponding contact numbers. I gave the details of my daughter Steph and my grandson Josh, 21 years old. I was asked for more names, so I gave the name and number of my Aunt Nerissa, who is nearly 90 years old and the sister of my late mother," she said.
The immigration authorities went to a separate room to call up Grande's relatives but she was not allowed to hear the conversations that took place.
"But Officer Keavid Mam came back into the room saying that I was a liar. He says my aunt told him that I will be taking care of her as a caregiver and will be paid $9 to $10 per day. I, of course, categorically denied this," Grande said.
"While Officer Mam kept on repeating his questions about why I was in the US, a fellow officer by the name of Chang, joined and shouted, calling me a liar. He even searched my purse where I had wedding cards with money for my daughter and future son-in-law, and a birthday card for Joshua also with money and other stuff," she said.