A group of people traveling into the United States from Canada on Inauguration Day for the Women’s March on Washington have reported that U.S. border agents wouldn’t let them into the country.
Sasha Dyck, a nurse from Montreal, said that he had no problem coming into the United States for the inauguration of former President Barack Obama but a very different experience when he was traveling to the 20 January 2017 Donald Trump inauguration. He told Reuters:
It seems to me that they just weren’t interested in having us in the country for the inauguration… I hope it doesn’t represent a closing down or a firming up of the border, or of mentalities south of the border.
Joseph Decunha, a physics student also from Montreal, said he was asked point-blank if he supported Trump before he was turned back, telling reporters: “We were forthcoming and explained we were quite vehemently anti-(Trump).”
U.S. Customs and Border Protection would only tell the news agencies that they were not at liberty to discuss individual cases.
Joe Kroese, a 20-year-old British man studying in Canada, told the Independent that he was traveling to the U.S. with a Canadian and two American friends, and planned to attend the women’s march on 21 January 2017. Instead, he reported being questioned for three hours by U.S. security officials, then fingerprinted and photographed. He and his Canadian friend were told not to return to the U.S. for “several months”:
They took my phone and started going through my texts. There was another group of Canadians there that were also going to the march and were being refused entry. They searched the car and then they asked the driver if he practised Islam and if he spoke Arabic. They wanted to spook us a bit. It felt like a kind of intimidation.
Mandi Morgan told CTV News that she had never had a problem crossing the U.S.-Canada border but when she tried to cross to attend the march, she was told it was “not a good enough reason to be allowed into the United States of America.”
She also reported having her photograph and fingerprints taken:
Immigration lawyer Neil Drabkin says, easy travel across the Canada-U.S. border is a privilege most Canadians take for granted. He expects border officials on the U.S. side to increase their scrutiny of cross-border travellers under the new U.S. administration.
“With President Trump now in the Oval Office, I expect that there will be more careful vetting at U.S. borders,” he said.