Storiesfrom the border...

Published on Thu, Sep 27, 2007
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Stories from the border...

Publisher’s Note: Living, visiting and working as we do on the 49th Parallel, the border has an undeniable impact on our lives. Border policies and construction delays are just two of the issues that can have dramatic effect on our day to day activities. Readers of The Northern Light and All Point Bulletin in Point Roberts are encouraged to write of their experiences. Confidentiality is assured. Here are some of the accounts we have received to date. Please address your reports to

My wife and I certainly agree with your comments re: NEXUS. It needs change. I was refused admission, in 2002 when NEXUS began, because I was arrested for being in a fist fight in 1964. (Yes, 43 years ago.) Since my arrest, I taught elementary and high school for 32 years, participated in various community associations and never crossed the law. But time doesn’t appear to matter with NEXUS applicants. I certainly think there should be a statute of limitations.

My wife and I have been coming into the U.S.A. regularly since we were married in 1968 and were members of PACE with no violations. When NEXUS began, I was rejected as mentioned above and my wife was accepted. This posed major problems as we always travel together.

She had NEXUS and I did not. This often led to my walking across the border while she drove, resulting in customs having to deal with each of us separately instead of jointly. Thus, since we were using different methods of entry, more time was spent by us as well as the border officers in order to allow us to enter the U.S.A. Her NEXUS came up for review in July. She applied and received a rejection notice stating: “You are otherwise ineligible to use a U.S. Dedicated Commuter Lane.” No further explanation was or has been provided. She did not violate any of the NEXUS rules during the previous five years and had no reason to expect anything other than renewal of her NEXUS pass. Since there is no appeal or ombudsman, she has no idea what she needs to do in order to once again obtain a NEXUS pass.

We do not want our names published but any ideas, help or assistance will be greatly appreciated.

Here is a good denial story.

I had sent in my NEXUS renewal and my $50 to get it denied and to find out I had an agricultural violation in 2005 that I did not know was on my record.

Turns out in 2005 I was pushing my husband in the wheelchair to catch a flight at Vancouver Airport (had heart, cancer and diabetes) to go to our grandson’s wedding in Anchorage. Someone came up as he was eating a pear and said you cannot bring that in. I said “can’t he eat it as he is a diabetic” and they said no throw it in this trash can. End of conversation.

1. We were not in NEXUS - did not come through NEXUS at the border either as my folks did not have NEXUS.

2. They did not ask where we bought the pears – a White Rock fruit stand. Guess they looked our passports up and found we had NEXUS.

If it was such a horrid violation to have a Canadian pear, why did they not send a letter and take our passes away then. We went to the U.S. border at NEXUS and like the letter said no appeal. The letter said I could in 90 days send another $50 and reapply and tell my story and the U.S. border said, yes, I can but they will take my $50 again and still say no as zero tolerance on agriculture. They gave me an ombudsman’s address in Vermont and said it would be useless to write. Guess so, that was a month ago and have not heard from them. I guess I got the violation as I was pushing the wheelchair and now I am a Pearroist.

Osama Bin Laden is not hiding out in White Rock. Canadians did not blow up the World Trade Center. Forcing Canadians to wait in long lines and be subjected to intrusive interrogation at the Pacific and Peach Arch border crossings, contribute nothing to our mutual national security. What is needed is a political agreement forged at the highest levels of our governments, whereby U.S. and Canadian intelligence and law enforcement agencies cooperate completely with one another against the war on terror. The existing system is expensive, time consuming and completely ineffective. This whole border crossing aberration has become a bureaucracy that feeds on itself; primarily, for its own existence. Canadians are neither terrorist nor are they the enemy. They deserve our respect. The U.S. is running out of friends. Let’s not alienate the Canadians and lose their friendship as well.

I am a U.S. citizen living in Point Roberts. Whilst crossing at Huntingdon, the young lady in the booth asked where I was going, and I said I had an appointment in Lynden. Then she said, “What is your appointment for?” I was completely taken aback at this invasion of my privacy and so I said it was none of her business, and that I was a U.S. citizen who hadn’t done anything wrong and I had every right to enter my own country and go wherever I wished. She repeated her question again and I repeated my response. Obviously getting annoyed, she stated she could ask any question she felt like asking. I told her “Go ahead – see if I answer.” This went on for about 10 minutes. On reflection I wish I’d coughed at her and said something like “I’m going to the doctor’s to get tested for the Ebola virus.” Eventually though she let me through, possibly remembering her training enough to realize she had no grounds to stop me. However, before I left, I told her I wish I was rich enough to own a boat and not have to deal with the border again.

She then said, in as vague and unsure a voice as I could imagine, “You’d still have to clear the border but it would be a different one.” I’m quite sure she had no clue where Point Roberts was or which country it is in. How well trained are these people at Hopeless Insecurity, anyway?