On March 1, Osvaldo Maciel was returning to New York from Mexico with his three-year-old daughter.
As soon as his flight landed in Newark airport, Maciel and his daughter were escorted off the flight by US Customs and Border Patrol officials and Port Authority agents, according to Univision News. The officials questioned Maciel about the girl he was traveling with, demanding her birth certificate.
“Our daughter began to cry over the scandal,” Maura Furfey, Maciel’s wife wrote in a piece for The Huffington Post. Furfey was contacted by CBP on her way to pick her husband and daughter up. She was asked to verify the story.
Maciel had taken his daughter to Cancún, Mexico to visit family.
He had a notarized letter in which his wife gave him permission to take their daughter for a week-long trip while she stayed in the US for work.
“I was told that the accusation did not come from CBP, who was trained to identify such situations, but from a passenger on the same flight,” she wrote. “She claimed that my daughter’s fair skin did not resemble her Mexican father’s and suspected that he had kidnapped her. The passenger had no basis for this accusation.”
Maciel is outraged United Airlines believed the passenger’s accusation.
According to the Mexican father, the woman smelled of alcohol when she boarded the flight. Despite this, she was given four more drinks. Throughout the trip, the passenger insisted on interacting with the three-year-old.
After complaining to United’s customer service department, the family received an apology and a $100 travel coupon.
"It will not do anything because we will not travel again for this airline," Furfey wrote. "A simple review of passports or flight records could have clearly demonstrated that all was well in this situation and could have avoided all the drama and tension that was created."