Three tales of deportation from the Cancun airport


Vacationing together in Cancún seemed like a splendid idea, so Dad bought the tickets and made hotel reservations for himself, his wife, their daughter and her brand-new husband. After weeks of anticipation, the day arrived and they headed happily to the Mayan Riviera. Their joyful family vacation was cut short, however, when they reached the Immigration station. The daughter’s brand-new husband would not be allowed to leave the airport and would be escorted to the next available flight back to where he came from.

A few years earlier Dad had been in a much less splendid mood when he found out that Daughter, who was still in her teens at the time, and her teenage boyfriend were “together.” A dad from earlier times might have fetched a shotgun, but this twenty-first century father went to the courthouse and charged the boyfriend with statutory rape. The girl was underage, so no matter how loudly she protested that she had eagerly consented to their togetherness, the charges held, the boyfriend was punished, and his name was written down on the Interpol List of Sex Offenders, barred until further notice from international travel. In the intervening years, the boy and girl had grown up and got married, and everybody was happy. Until they arrived at the Immigration station in Cancún. Dad had repented long ago for being such a hothead, and he told his karmic tale with doleful humor to people sitting around as they waited sadly to board their return flight.


Another bride, older but not wiser, was infuriated when her honeymoon plans hit the Immigration wall because her obviously experienced groom had earned a place on The List by togethering with a less-than-willing woman. He had failed to tell his bride about that faux-pas. “You’ve got some ‘splaining to do,” she shouted as they walked the jetway to board their return flight much sooner and less tan than anticipated.


Everyone in the family knew about Grandpa. He had been wild and reckless in his youth, had raped a girl, had done time, and had spent the thirty years since his release building a productive, respectable life and family. His life had been productive enough to bring the whole extended family on a Caribbean vacation. Grandpa had no idea that although he had paid his debt to society for that long-ago crime, his name had not been erased from Interpol’s List. The extended family sadly waved goodbye. Grandpa insisted they should go ahead and enjoy their vacation without him.


There are some injustices and oversights to be dealt with on the home front. No one welcomes predators, but the definition of predator may need refinement, and communication between passport agencies, airports, and airlines should be improved. Sex crimes are not the only crimes that can land you on a list of the Unwelcome, but, as in the case of the hothead father-in-law-to-be, they are more ambiguous than, say, homicide, larceny and money-laundering, and they sometimes keep you on the list much longer than other offenses. Unexpected deportations are inconvenient for families and for airline employees who deal with them and can incur unwarranted expenses for families and for the airlines.

Meanwhile, if you or someone you travel with has ever been accused of a crime, it’s a good idea to check your status before forking out a load of cash or credit for a fun trip to the Mayan Riviera or anywhere else.

This website has some helpful information.

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