Carina Grande and her grandchild. Photo courtesy of Stephanie Grande
MANILA - A 63-year-old Filipina who was maltreated and deported by immigration agents at the Seattle International Airport is still keen on attending her daughter's US wedding.
Despite her nightmare trip this month wherein she was interrogated and held without food or water for 6 hours by airport officers, Carina Yonzon Grande has again filed an application for a US visa to see her daughter and grandchild.
A relative of Grande told ABS-CBNNews.com that the former Asian Development Bank employee has not slept much since she returned to the Philippines and still cries when she remembers what happened.
Grande, a cancer survivor, was traveling to the US with complete documents -- a passport with a 10-year US visa valid until 2017, round-trip plane tickets, and even shuttle e-vouchers when she arrived at the Seattle International Airport on October 1.
It was her 13th time to go the US in a span of over two and a half decades. Her latest visit was to attend her daughter Steph on her wedding day on October 26, as well as see her grandson Josh.
However, she was detained by immigration officers who accused her of going to the US to work as a househelper.
Immigration agents also hurled invectives and insults at Grande and mocked her daughter on the phone.
"For me to work as a caregiver is impossible," she said in a statement. "It is now very clear that I was a victim of these SOBs trying to earn 'pogi points' at my expense," she said.
Grande said a relative in the US who talked to an immigration officer on the phone is willing to testify in her case after a formal complaint is filed.
"She said she will sign any document or letter that will be prepared by the immigration lawyer," she added.
The US embassy in Manila has declined to comment on the case, according to embassy spokesman Kurt Hoyer.
ABS-CBNNews.com has found one of the immigration officers allegedly involved in the incident but he has also yet to reply to questions regarding the case.
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), meanwhile, said on Tuesday that it is ready to help Grande.
In a statement sent to ABS-CBN News, DFA spokesperson Assistant Secretary Raul Hernandez said they are ready to assist Filipino travelers who feel aggrieved by the treatment of foreign government agents.
"We are ready to receive more details from the complainant and assist her through our office that handles Assistance to National cases. Based on these specific details we will move forward on this issue," Hernandez said.
Hernandez added that millions of Filipinos travel with little or no incidents.
He also added that as a rule, the country expects all nations to treat Filipino travelers with respect and dignity and to observe international standards for the treatment of foreign nationals. with a report from ANC