This is how we treat Canadians here

February 24th, 2003 – 8:41 pm
Tagged as: Uncategorized

“A Toronto woman coming home from India says she was pulled aside at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport, accused of using a fake Canadian passport, denied consular assistance and threatened with jail.

In tears and desperate, Berna Cruz says she told U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Services (INS) officers she didn’t want to go to jail. She told them she had to get home to her two children and was expected to be at work the next day at a branch of a major Toronto bank where she works as a loan officer.

Instead of jailing her on Jan. 27, an INS officer cut the front page of Cruz’s passport and filled each page with ‘expedited removal’ stamps, rendering it useless. She was photographed, fingerprinted, barred from re-entering the U.S. for five years and immediately ‘removed.’ Not to Toronto, but to India, where she had just spent several weeks visiting her parents. It took four days, and help from Canadian officials in Dubai and a Kuwaiti Airlines pilot, to get her back home.”

Sounds almost unbelievable, doesn’t it? Now, normal procedure is apparently to send someone like this (meaning someone the INS believes has false papers) back to their departure point, but in this case not only were they wrong about her passport not being valid, but they only needed to give her one phone call so she could contact the nearest Canadian embassy and everything would have gone much more smoothly. Read the rest of the article here.

Ms. Cruz actually ended up being fairly lucky when compared to Maher Arar, another Canadian citizen who was deported, this time to Syria. He’s still there, and in prison, as he avoided compulsory military service back in Syria before moving to Canada when he was a teenager.

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