Valentine’s Day Plans Ruined By Visa Cancellation

A Jamaican couple had their plans to celebrate St. Valentine’s Day together abruptly ruined when the boyfriend was denied landing access at Newark’s Liberty airport on the night of Wednesday, January 18. Instead of spending the night in the loving arms of his sweetheart, the resident of Retirement in Montego Bay was kept in confinement at the airport, and summarily placed on the first flight back to Montego Bay the following morning.

Glenroy Sewell, 35, a chef who lives in Montego Bay, Jamaica, was on United Airlines flight 1628 from Montego Bay to Newark travelling on a 10-year US visitor’s visa to spend three weeks with his fiance, Leslie Crosby, in Newark to celebrate her February 10 birthday and to celebrate St. Valentine’s Day together. The lovers met in Newark on July 4, 2015 on his first visit to the United States and they have been dating since. This was only Sewell’s second visit and they wanted to spend some quiet, romantic time together celebrating their new-found love for St. Valentine’s week. They talk and text daily, but with living in two separate countries, they only get to be together once every few months, mostly when Leslie, who is a health care worker at a major Newark hospital, travels down to Jamaica. .

But shortly after Sewell pulled up to the arrival gate at Terminal C at Newark, a nightmare began to unfold. He told The Gleaner that once he deplaned and joined the immigration line, he started to sweat profusely. He felt OK but he had no idea why he was sweating. This attracted the attention of an immigration official who took his travel documents and pulled him from the line. He was taken to a room and questioned by seven different officials who interrogated him about drug trafficking. With every new questioning, he vehemently denied the drug allegations. His luggage was ripped apart and a full body search was conducted including an intestinal flush after he was asked to drink a fluid. No trace of any drug was found.

… His girlfriend waited – and waited!

By this time, his girlfriend was anxiously pacing the arrivals area at the terminal. It was clear that all the other passengers on the flight from Montego Bay had been whisked away by their loved ones but no sign of Sewell. Suddenly her cell phone rang. The caller identified himself as immigration and she was asked if she was expecting a visitor from Jamaica. “Yes,” she said abruptly. “I am waiting for Glenroy Sewell from Montego Bay.” She was further asked how long she had known him, when was the last time she saw him, her address and if he was going to stay with her. She answered all the questions and the caller said thanks and hung up.

But her wait at the airport continued with no end in sight, and still no sign of Sewell. After asking around to glean whatever little information she could, she learnt that two people from the Montego Bay flight had been kept back for ‘processing’. She was advised by an unofficial source, a red cap, to go home and wait for a call. She did this, and the call came in at 9:45 PM, nearly five hours after the flight landed. It was Sewell and it was bad news. “Baby, I am still at the airport. I’ve been denied landing, they cancelled my visa and I will be on the first flight back in the morning. Call my brother and ask him to pick me up at midday please.”

With Valentine plans shattered and hundreds of dollars wasted, the couple was left stunned, puzzled, frightened and disappointed. Sewell said he’d had very little to eat or drink in nearly 24 hours. He said the immigration officers filed a number of reports in the interrogation room. His visa was cancelled on the spot. He said that despite repeated requests, he was never told why he was being sent home. He said he was only told to go back home and secure a waiver to return to the US, or wait five years to reapply for a visa. In the meantime, Sewell’s girlfriend has retained the services of an immigration attorney in New York who has requested a number of documents for immediate review.

…’I’m outraged by Donald Trump”

But while this unfortunate Glenroy Sewell incident happened just before the executive order was signed by President Trump that restricts travel for citizens from seven majority Muslim countries, there is growing concern within Jamaican communities in the New York tri-state region and beyond about how the ban may affect Jamaicans now and in the future. Congresswoman Yvette Clarke (Democrat) whose parents are Jamaican was asked about the current unease and here’s what she told The Gleaner.

“I am outraged by Donald Trump’s decision to prevent citizens from several countries from entering the United States. This is contrary to our values and an attack on decency itself. We are better than this. But Donald Trump’s recent actions are not only contrary to our values. They are also contrary to our interests. This order will help our enemies recruit supporters, make it harder for law enforcement officials to build trust with immigrant communities here at home, and prevent us from attracting the world’s top talent and creativity.”

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  1. So they found nothing on him, this irritated them cuz they were hoping to find something, so in retaliation they cancelled his visa? This is bs they shouldn’t have the authority to cancel visas like this is there isn’t justifiable cause. Immigration attorneys will be eating well because of this anti immigrants climate this is going on now.

  2. So all enema dem a give ppl a airport. Him mussi dehydrated and tings afterwards. Visitors should not go on any unnecessary travel to the US at this time. Just di humiliation this man went through is enough to last a lifetime.

  3. It’s not like he was travelling every minute to the US. The US is seen now as a very unwelcoming place to visitors. They will start to feel it. People are disgusted by Trump and are talking about it all over the world.

  4. There are many other countries in the world to travel (me neva say go live lolol) to…time to start helpi g their tourism industries.

    Student fees can also be spent in other countries too. American universities make billions of dollars from international students due to their ‘in-state or out-of- state’ fees.

  5. Wait, did he say they give him a liquid to drink?
    And he drank it. This is where they would have to revoke me getting through those gates because I would not drink anything unknown to me.

  6. chekc it though

    “this unfortunate Glenroy Sewell incident happened just before the executive order was signed by President Trump”

    so nothing to do with Trump. I guess it was the previous administration’s rules,no?

    1. It has always been the discretion of the immigration to allow access if you have a valid visa or not, has nothing to do with the previous administration.

  7. Mi have a fren everyday shi get up ah talk bout shi love Dump mi nuh sey nuting to har wen shi cann travel she will know any laws made in the U S A goes for everyone except Dump family and his friends!

  8. There are going to be fewer Jamaicans going home to visit too, for fear that they do not let them back in the US. This is bad. I have no interest in going there myself. Not even for a weekend trip.

  9. what he did wrong was 1 tell them is him woman him a come to 2 him book a ticket for 3 weeks to them that’s a long vacation 3 him look nervous you have to just follow the crowd an do as others do even if a him woman him did a come look fah him should a seh is a family member an him should a maybe book a hotel just to use the address .but Jamaicans think nothing is wrong with coming for 3 weeks but they don’t look at it how ice look at it if you coming make sure you have money because they don’t think nobody will support you for 3 weeks no matter who you are to them .an what they did by giving him something to drink is a normal thing for them to do so they didn’t brake any law .plus it depends on what he told them when he got the visa what was his reason to visit the usa an did him have nobody living here they keep that in their system always remember that .

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