As an American, who has not only practiced law, but has practiced some immigration law, I was horrified. This kind of reckless laxity would never happen at our borders – and this not from a sense of patriotic superiority. The United States has many weaknesses, but border control – especially at its international airports – is not one of them. You will not find more humorless human beings than the employees of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
By allowing foreigners to pass through unverified, the French police were not only endangering their own national security by opening their borders to shady international characters, but they were also putting the Schengen at risk. Once inside the Schengen, a foreigner can travel through any of its twenty-some member countries unchecked, as I did on this trip.
A little over a week later, as I prepared to return to the U.S., Malaysian Airlines flight 370 disappeared over the South China Sea, raising questions (among many others) about two passengers onboard who were traveling with stolen passports. In the weeks since, those two passengers have been ruled out as possible terrorists. But the fact that they were able to travel on stolen passports is disturbing. According to Interpol, “In 2013, passengers were able to board planes more than 1 billion times without having their travel documents checked against Interpol’s data.”