Here's the heart of it:
Two points seem to us indisputable. First, the contents of the Mr. Ragui’s baggage were incorrectly identified by CBP personnel as bamboo. Second, the contents of Mr. Ragui’s baggage did not clearly fall under any of the relevant regulations cited above since they were not unprocessed, protected, or capable of propagation. A reasonable person could have concluded that they were subject to no more restriction than common Western orchestral or popular instruments, which are routinely imported without incident.
In light of the above, we respectfully request that CBP clarify its position on this case and in doing so clarify its policy regarding the importation of musical instruments consisting of or containing plant products more generally. In particular, we request answers to the following:So far, no answers.
- If CBP maintains that the seizure of Mr. Razgui’s property was proper, what was the statutory basis for this seizure?
- If CBP maintains that the seizure of the property was improper, what steps are being taken to provide compensation or other appropriate rectification of the situation?
- Which musical instruments and associated goods specifically are prohibited from importation without a permit, and which permits apply to which instruments?
- What concrete measures—such as the dissemination of a detailed policy and/or additional training of staff—will be taken by CBP to assist travelers to the United States in compliance and otherwise to prevent similar incidents in the future?