2 May 2011

Anger in Northern Marianas at attitude of US Customs staff

7:06 pm on 2 May 2011

CNMI lawmakers are up in arms over what they believe is the callous treatment of people arriving at the territory's international airport in Saipan.

The Senate vice-president, Jude Hofschneider, and other senators are asking the U.S. Customs and Border Protection service to investigate reports of mistreatment of passengers.

The senators say on one flight last month, arriving airline crew and passengers had to stand in line for 15 minutes to wait for customs' computers to warm up.

Processing of those arriving then took up to 15 minutes per person.

The senators also say the customs officials were unfriendly, treating passengers as if they were criminals.

The local delegate to the US Congress, Gregorio Sablan, says he intends raising the matter in Washington.