This morning friends in New Zealand forwarded me a link to this sorry tale of an experience with US Customs & Border Patrol.
Obviously bekitty had a much worse time of it than I did. As I have said, the CBP officers that I dealt with were very sympathetic. I was very lucky. However, strip away the abuse that gets handed out to suspected illegal immigrants in Los Angeles and you are left with a fairly similar story. Except that bekitty had a perfectly legitimate visa.
This is the sort of problem I am facing. Even if you have a visa, CBP can and will make life difficult for you if you come and go too often. They can and do deny people entry because they suspect them of traveling for purposes other than those stated on their visa. And the key word there is “suspect”. If they suspect you, no matter how wrong they may be, you are guilty until such time as you can go back to your own country and spend a lot of money on lawyers to prove your innocence.
I also note that the visa descriptions are drawn so tightly that it is pretty much impossible to avoid violating their terms if you travel regularly and for more than a few days at a time.
Hopefully this will help explain why I am taking things slowly and carefully. I don’t want to waste any more money on lawyers or plane fares until I’m pretty certain that I will be allowed to travel.