Anthonia Nwaorie was born in Nigeria, and last October she planned on going back. Over the ensuing years, she’d saved money in order to create a much-needed medical clinic in her hometown. The SFGate has the story of what happened:
The 59-year-old registered nurse had more than $37,000 in her carry-on bag and $4,000 in her purse. It was all cash, stowed in separate envelopes, some of it earmarked to help ill or aging family members. In her checked luggage she packed medical supplies and over-the-counter medication, which she planned to use to provide free basic care and checkups to anyone who needed it.
She was already on the jet bridge at jet Houston’s Bush Intercontinental Airport when Customs Officials stopped her and demanded answers. “How many people are you carrying money for?” they barked. “How many people are you traveling with?” Then, he asked, “How long have you been in the United States?”
The questioning threw her off guard. She explained she had legally earned the money and she was alone. Nwaorie, who lives in Katy, Texas, became a U.S. citizen in 1994. She showed her passport, thinking perhaps they were questioning her legal status. The agents took her to a room to search her and her luggage anyway.Then they seized all $41,377 dollars.
Big government. Punish first, ask questions later. It’s not a bug… it’s built in as a feature. And it’s got to stop.
“It was like I was a criminal,” she said about the incident that happened six months ago. The government still has her money. “I felt so humiliated, so petrified, too. They were talking among themselves, saying how ‘this is how people smuggle money out of the country. This is how they do it.'”
It’s hard to believe this is America. She explained to her brother what happened. “He was surprised,” Nwaorie said. “He said, ‘What? Does that happen in America?'”
That’s a very good question. HOW does that happen in America?
One thing’s for sure. It has to stop.
Hat Tip: San Francisco Gate