To the Editor:
The article “ Canada’s border policy should be revisited” was very interesting and informative. It also made me think about the visitor’s going from Canada to the US. I was surprised that you didn’t talk about the rules and restrictions that are imposed on Canadians who want to visit our neighbours. You are automatically prohibited crossing the border if you have been convicted of any crime,including DUI, no matter if it happened 30 years ago.One of the questions frequently asked by the Us immigration officers is “ Have you ever been arrested ? “. Just the fact that you were arrested and not even charged or convicted may be enough not to allow you to cross the border.
You may try to get a pardon, but someone I know who was stopped once because he was arrested for smoking a joint 25 years earlier, looked into it but the $ 5000 cost for lawyers and bureaucratic nightmares wasn’t worth it.And by the way, prior to this one trip to Plattsburgh he crossed the border on regular basis without any problems,which make me wonder how thorough the agents are.
Once I was travelling by bus to NYC and when we went through the Immigration at Champlain, there was an old Haitian lady who went to visit her family there. She could hardly speak English and the Officer was giving her a hard time in a loud and aggressive manner saying that if she won’t speak to him in English he doesn’t have to let her in the US. The poor lady was shaking and almost crying. I couldn’t believe the bullying he was displaying towards that lady.
It would be a great idea if both sides of the border could get together and figure out some ways to use “common sense “ is some situations, but I won’t hold my breath.
Milo Stepan, Montreal