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Customs officers need to do a much better job

Last month, my sister and I went to Australia for our dream vacation. While there, our U.S. government went through the debacle of a shutdown. Over and over we were asked by the Australians why our government does not want to take care of our citizens. We explained, as best we could, and apologized. It slowly became our “apology tour.”

While we experienced nothing but friendly, compassionate and welcoming people at customs in Australia, the same cannot be said for returning to LAX at the end of our vacation. While I do not condone the recent events that took place at LAX with the killing of a Transportation Security Administration officer, it appears that Susan Estrich (“Respect the brave men and women of the TSA”) has never experienced entering Customs through LAX. After being on a plane for 15 hours, we were greeted with nasty, unhappy employees. It was like we landed in a Third World country. Most of these employees spoke broken English.

One woman, while in her customs uniform, criticized and belittled President Obama and the government. I find such behavior completely unacceptable. This is the very same government that is paying her salary. One Australian in line said, “You Americans never get it right.” Once again, we apologized to the Australians standing in line with us because some were visiting the United States for the first time. My sister dealt with a gentleman in customs who made no eye contact, chewed gum and mumbled when he spoke to her.

These are the first impressions that thousands visiting our country for the first time are exposed to. Our reputation, as a country, is so tarnished. I’m pleading with our representatives in Washington, D.C., to stop all their games and do the jobs they were elected to do.

Judy C. Cresanti

West Seneca