E-mail this story
Arrest from 1970 on record at airport customs but nowhere else
Question: I have a perplexing travel problem that is unique and interesting. In 1970, I was arrested for possession of a small amount of marijuana, which was then a felony. I was acquitted and have no criminal record. In the last 25 years, I have made perhaps 15 trips abroad, reentered the U.S. and gone through immigration with no problems. On my most recent trip abroad, immigration in Miami took me into a holding area and held me for about 60 minutes before talking to me. It turns out my felony arrest from 43 years earlier showed up on the computer screen. I was told I should get my record expunged and was released. I checked the jurisdiction where I was arrested and the arrest is so long ago that they have no record of it. Why did it take 43 years for the arrest to show up (or did 14 immigration officers ignore it)? How can I prevent this from happening again when there is no record to expunge?
By Catharine Hamm
July 21, 2013