US Immigration rated as world’s worst

WASHINGTON DC, November 29, 2006 – The US ranks with Africa and the Middle East when it comes to travel paperwork and rude immigration officials.

That’s the word from the Discover America Partnership, which recently commissioned a study of more than 2,000 travelers worldwide to gauge perceptions of the US visa and entry process.

Pollsters claim that the US entry process was thought to be the “world’s worst” by travelers and that 54 percent of international travelers said that immigration officials are rude. Two-thirds also surveyed fear they will be detained at the border because of a simple mistake or misstatement.

The study also found that by deterring visitors, the US is missing an enormous economic and diplomatic opportunity since US entry process has created a climate of fear and frustration that is turning away foreign business and leisure travelers from visiting and damaging America’s image abroad.

“This study should be a wake-up call for the US government,” said Geoff Freeman, executive director of the Discover America Partnership. “Visiting the United States and interacting with the American people can have a powerful, positive effect on how non-U.S. residents see our country. Unfortunately, perceptions of a ‘rude’ and ‘arrogant’ entry process are turning away travelers and harming America’s image.”

The study was conducted by the independent polling firm RT Strategies between October 25th and November 9th, 2006. Two-thousand and eleven non-US resident international travelers were surveyed, representing 15 plus countries worldwide. Half of those travelers had visited the US since September 11, 2001 while the other half had not visited the US since September 11, 2001. The Discover America Partnership was launched in September, 2006 by some of America’s foremost business leaders. (