Held Hostage In An International Airport: True Stories And What To Do

Tom Hanks portrayed a foreign visitor who was stuck in an airport for years because of a coup in his native country and the U.S. denying him entrance. Recently, Middle Eastern immigrants and visitors made the news when they were banned from entering or re-entering the U.S. shortly after the POTUS signed a paper into law. Things like this happen all the time, and people end up being hostages in airports, unable to go anywhere.

If you or a relative of yours becomes stuck in a similar situation, what would you do? What could you do? Here are the next steps to take in a situation such as this.

Contact an Immigration Attorney

Whether you are contacting the attorney on behalf of your relative stuck in the airport, or your relative contacts the attorney, it is easy enough to get the contact information of an attorney. Additionally, no one can stop or prevent your stuck relative from getting the contact information of the immigration attorney. If your relative also owns a cell phone, then your relative could call from the airport and arrange to meet with the attorney there.

Meet with the Attorney to Discuss the Particulars

When it becomes clear that either you or your relative are already a citizen or just a visitor, the immigration attorney can begin a case to allow you/your visiting relative into the country. The simplest misunderstandings are often the cause, but sometimes they can also be the result of recently passed laws. It becomes a waiting game to see if the laws are overturned, or if the misunderstandings can be resolved. 

Appearing in Court

Clearly, you cannot appear in court (or your relative cannot) due to the unusual circumstances. The immigration attorney can either help you/your relative appear via live video feed or help you appoint a stand-in representative for the court hearing. If your relative needs an interpreter, one will be provided, or you can act as interpreter.

Providing the Airport Security Chief with Court Notification

If the laws are overturned by the Supreme Court, as they were in the most recent case with Middle Eastern individuals, it may take a few days before you/your relatives are released into the U.S. from the airport. The process can be faster if the lawyer acquires a document that states that you/your relatives should be released and allowed to enter the country. This document has to go directly to the chief or head of airport security so that the message is properly delivered to all security guards throughout the airport.

For more information, talk to an attorney's office such as DiMaria Law.