A mother claims she was interrogated by a border guard at a US airport – because she doesn’t share the same surname as her daugher.
Sylvia Acosta and her teenage daughter, Sybonae Castillo, were stopped at Dallas Fort-Worth Airport after returning from a trip Europe on Sunday.
In a scenario straight from a dystopian novel, Dr Acosta faced heated questioning by customs officers who demanded to know why mother and child had different surnames on their passports.
Writing on Facebook , Dr. Acosta said I was asked if Sybonae was my daughter and I said ‘yes.’ Then they asked why, if she was my daughter, I didn’t have the same last name.
Sylvia, who is chief executive of the Young Women’s Christian Association, went on to say that it was a personal decision to keep her maiden name, as it celebrated her professional accomplishments and felt absolutely offended at the customs officers’ responses.
I told them I had already established my career and earned my doctorate with my last name Acosta so I had decided not to change it, she said.
After one of the officers told Sylvia she should consider changing her name to reflect that she is in fact her daughter’s mother, she became enraged.
I proceeded to tell them that they were perpetuating an institutionalised, misogynistic system which required that a woman take her husband’s name. I am furious. said Dr Acosta.
The post – which refers to the incident as a Handmaid’s Tale moment- has been liked by more than 35K and shared by more than 16K with comments of support from women around the world.
One Facebook user wrote You should be furious. What if she had been adopted or you had remarried? I did not take my husband’s last name either and it infuriates me when people imply I am less of a wife for not changing my name!
Another user added That’s horrible! There are many scenarios where mothers and children don’t have the same last name. That’s ridiculous! So glad you stood up for yourself.
I didn’t expect my post to go viral, Sylvia said of the public response.
US Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) said the video of the encounter does not support the claim said that the response to the differing names to protect citizens against human trafficking.
In a response to Sylvia’s complaint, they site the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008, which puts restrictions on traveling that might be deemed as suspicious.
A spokesperson said We strongly recommend that unless a child is accompanied by both parents, the adult travelling with the child have a note from the child’s other parent.
In instances where the relationship of a minor and accompanying adult can’t be immediately determined, CBP may ask additional questions to determine relationship. This additional questioning could take place in an area away from the general public.
Because she didn’t have a note from her ex-husband, Dr Acosta said she was taken into a separate area for questioning. They thought I might be a human trafficker, she said.
During the interrogation, Sybonae said she was confused and angry and felt that customs officers were being disrespectful by not believing her mother.
Mum I just want to cry, she said, afterwards.
I want to cry, too, her mother responded.
The BBC reports that Dr Acosta said her biggest fear during the unpleasant affair was that her daughter would be taken away from her. There are 3,000 children separated from their parents here, she said.
News Source MirrorNews