News & Politics

British Tourists Who 'Accidentally' Crossed Canadian Border Previously Denied Entry into U.S.

British Tourists Who 'Accidentally' Crossed Canadian Border Previously Denied Entry into U.S.
Cars entering the U.S. pass a welcome sign Saturday, May 30, 2009, at the border crossing between the U.S. and Canada, in Blaine, Wash. New rules requiring passports or new high-tech documents to cross the United States' northern and southern borders are taking effect Monday, June 1, as some rue the tightening of security and others hail it as long overdue. In 2001 a driver's license and an oral declaration of citizenship were enough to cross the Canadian and Mexican borders; Monday's changes are the last step in a gradual ratcheting up of the rules. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

The minute I read this original story of British tourists who accidentally crossed the U.S. border from Canada and were subsequently detained by border officials, I knew it stunk to high heaven.

First of all, the vociferous complaints of the “tourists” made their entire story suspect. It was like they were playing into the popular narrative of border patrol guards being heartless beasts who mistreat anyone unlucky enough to fall into their hands.

And then, of course, the whole “accidental” crossing story. They claim they swerved to avoid an animal in the road, lost their bearings, and the next thing they knew they were being surrounded by law enforcement.

Washington Examiner:

 The couple says that police arrested them without reading them their rights and have moved them to several immigrant holding centers since they were taken into custody at the beginning of October. “We will be traumatised for the rest of our lives by what the United States government has done to us,” Eileen Connors said in the statement.

If you have the world’s smallest violin, you may pull it out now.

Alas, all was not it appeared to be.

Fox News:

Bridget Cambria, a lawyer for the Connors, told The Philadelphia Inquirer the family “had no idea they had crossed any boundary. They had no idea they were even in the United States. They were just trying to get back to their hotel.”

But immigration officials say the Connors didn’t make a mere navigation error, with Customs and Border Protection agents telling Fox News in a statement Wednesday that authorities first spotted the vehicle around 9 p.m. on Oct. 2 and proceeded to track it through video surveillance as it drove on Avenue 0 in Canada before it “turned south and entered the U.S. illegally, by slowly and deliberately driving through a ditch onto Boundary Road in Lyndon, Washington.

Officials say the car continued to travel west on Boundary Road before the vehicle was finally pulled over by a Border Patrol agent “a short time later.” All seven people inside the car were identified as citizens of the United Kingdom, and were arrested for entering the U.S. illegally.

It gets better. As Jazz Shaw points out at Hot Air, these were no ordinary “tourists.”

It turns out that the Connors had applied for a travel visa to come to the United States last year but they were denied. The reason for the denial wasn’t provided, but there must have been some disqualifying factor. Generally, applications to visit from Great Britain are approved almost automatically because of our close relationship with them.

Also, taking them to detention was not CBP’s first attempted solution. They initially tried to return them to Canada where they presumably belonged. (In fact, that [is] what the Connors requested.) But the Canadians wouldn’t allow them back in the country. (Again, no reason for the denial was offered.) Next, CPB tried to contact the British embassy to see about sending them home. Their call was not returned.

Canada doesn’t want them. The U.K. consulate doesn’t want to see them. So here they are, stuck in U.S. detention centers, waiting for the paperwork to be completed so that authorities can deport them. Why?

Curious yet? Try this one.

The next odd detail is that the Connors were found to have $16,000 in cash in their vehicle. That’s not technically illegal if they declared the money when entering the country and people are entitled to spend money on vacation, but that’s one heck of a lot of cash to have in the trunk. You’d think they would be using plastic or at least traveler’s checks.

That $16K would purchase about 2 bricks of pot. I’m sure it was for personal, medicinal use.

ICE officials say it will take about 2 weeks to process the paperwork and return the Connors to the U.K. In the meantime, they might want to change their tone about ICE. They’re lucky the lot of them weren’t thrown into jail for lying to federal law enforcement.

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