Why is America opening my mail?

Recently, in preparing my will, I had my sister send me some documents.

So she did something which seems perfectly reasonable: she sealed them in an envelope, and paid a company (FedEx) to send them to me. Signed delivery.

She sent the documents from Canada. I received them in the UK.

When they arrived, they looked like this:

WIN_20140509_113118

What’s with this? Since when does U.S. customs open packages that are in transit? How does this invasion of privacy in any way contribute towards their mission:

We are the guardians of our nation’s borders.
We are America’s frontline.
We safeguard the American homeland at and beyond our borders.
We protect the American public against terrorists and the instruments of terror.
We steadfastly enforce the laws of the United States while fostering our nation’s economic security through lawful international trade and travel.
We serve the American public with vigilance, integrity and professionalism.

Opening mail in transit does not safeguard the American homeland.
Opening mail in transit does not protect the American public.
Opening mail in transit does not foster America’s economic security.
Opening mail in transit is, I would argue, not consistent with integrity or professionalism.

I suppose that it is vigilant, and not actually illegal. So there is that.

On the other hand, it feels more like a pointless violation of my privacy.

Ultimately, FedEx is going to pay the price for this — there’s now no way I would entrust them with a package moving internationally. Because they will bring it through the United States, where U.S. Customs might decide to open it.

Unless, of course, they make changes to ensure that these packages are no longer processed through America, which would (I would assume) lead to a loss of American jobs.

So well done, U.S. Customs. You have done a bit of harm to one of your country’s businesses. At least you were vigilant about those dangerous pieces of paper headed from Canada to England.

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