(Inspired by the ongoing “Golfer Having a Hard Time Getting a Visa” thread in GQ)
Let’s say Mexican multi-billionaire Carlos Slim holds a sybaritic Cinco de Mayo bash at a huge private compound near the resort town Playas de Rosarito, Mexico (near Tijuana). Slim invites a veritable whos-who of high-rolling moguls, enterntainers, and captains of industry & finance.
During the festivities, Slim hits it off with one Bill Gates, of Microsoft fame. As they get to talking, Gates thanks Slim for letting his private helicopter land on the compound’s helipad. Slim waves the thanks away with a quick and friendly “de nada”. They continue talking about helicopters, the properties they own on which they can land their birds, and sundry other topics.
So as the evening winds down, Gates has a brainstorm. He tells Slim, “You know, my ranch in Imperial County has a helipad … you ought to come back with us tonight, on my copter, and stay at our ranch for a few nights. Beautiful country out there.”
Slim is in the mood for sponteneity, so he accepts Gates’ offer to leave Playas de Rosarito that night, fly back with Gates, and visit the Imperial County ranch.
So what we have here is a Mexican national leaving Mexico from his own private property and landing in the United States on someone else’s private property. Further, the helicopter would be readily identifiable as one Gates’ personal aircraft, and presumably wouldn’t cause any alarm to any air traffic officials, nearby military, or the like.
Thing is, if Slim takes Gates up on the offer, he ends up crossing into the U.S. without any kind of documentation. Slim won’t have to go to an airport, and he won’t have to go through ground-based Border Patrol. I’ll assume that a law is broken here.
The GQ is: given the scenario above, is there any point during or after Gates’ helicopter’s flight (from Playas de Rosarito to the Imperial County) that Gates and Slim risk getting into trouble? Slim certainly wouldn’t be detained or checked for papers on his own property in Mexico, so the take-off should be uneventful. And presumably, as Gates’ chopper lands on Gates’ private property, a two miles away from the nearest public land, there wouldn’t be INS agents staking out the Imperial County ranch waiting to see who gets off the helicopter. Gates’ helicopter comes and goes often enough that the locals pay it no mind.
I was going to post a similar question about American financier and casino owner Carl Icahn, and whether he could fly gambling buddies back from Monte Carlo on his own private plane if he were able to take off from a private airstip in Europe and land on an airstrip on his own property in the U.S. Then it occured to me that there may be no such thing as a private airstrip as the scenario requires – so perhaps the helicopter-based scenario makes more sense.