Man on US no-fly list after passport stolen

Man on US no-fly list after passport stolen

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David Shephed-Cross, pictured in his passport in 1972.

First published in News
Last updated

A FATHER-of-two who had his passport stolen 40 years ago has spent the last two years fighting to get his name removed from the American 'no-fly' list.

David Shepherd-Cross, of Temple Guiting, believes he was banned from the US after his passport was stolen by a member of terrorist group Black September while he was in Kabul, Afghanistan, in 1972.

The 63-year-old businessman first realised he had been added to the no-fly list in the summer of 2012, when he was due to visit Maine with his wife Rose and their two sons.

His ESTA application (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) was turned down despite travelling to America without any issues until 2000 on business trips and to visit his brother in California.

"We made four applications and three went through but mine got rejected," he said. "The really frustrating thing was not being able to go to Maine, the boys went and Rose but I wasn't there.

"I had an interview at the American Embassy in London and it achieved absolutely nothing. It was a complete waste of time. They are just not interested in a tourist who's got problems with trying to get into America."

After his visa was refused, Mr Shepherd-Cross complained under the Traveller Redress Inquiry Program(TRIP) last October.

In a letter seen by The Journal, it said: "After reviewing your case, we are unable to make any changes to our records, based on current regulations."

He made two Freedom of Information requests to the Department of State and the Department of Homeland Security four months ago and a further one last month, but without any response.

The issue of his stolen passport only once come up in 1984, when he was not allowed to fly for two days before the US Embassy in London saw there had been a mistake and allowed him to travel.

Mr Shepherd-Cross said he is frustrated with the response he has received.

"They had no interest in resolving the issue at all," he said. "Two years further down the line and I still can't get into America.

"My passport was stolen. Unfortunately my name get linked with his. The Americans just don't seem to be able or aren't interested, this is affectively a case of stolen identity.

"It's an issue but it can be resolved very quickly. "

An article in the New York Times in January, said the no-fly list, which consisted of 16 names before 9/11, had about 21,000 names in early 2012.

The Department of Homeland Security did not respond to a request for comment by the time The Journal went to press.

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