Canadian groups planning to attend the Women’s March and Trump’s inauguration were denied entry by U.S. Border Patrol.
Montreal native Sasha Dyck and his group were turned away after telling border agents their plans to protest at the Women’s March on Washington.
He recalled of the ordeal, “We said we were going to the Women’s March on Saturday and they said, ‘Well, you’re going to have to pull over’.” The group underwent an extensive two-hour search of their cars and cell phones. Each member was also fingerprinted, questioned, and photographed, reports The Guardian.
Afterward, they were sent packing and told they would need a visa to enter in the future. Agents issued a warning saying that “if they tried to cross the border again during the weekend, they would be arrested,” says the report.
Dyke claims they were not given a clear reason why they were denied entry.
Since Thursday, several other groups had similar experiences when Border Control learned of their plans to attend the Women’s March, which one border agent called a “potentially violent rally.”
Some were even told not to travel to the U.S. for a few months, and again, they would need a visa next time.
Joseph Decunha told CBC reporters that he and his travel companions were asked if they were “anti- or pro-Trump.’” They were also questioned about why they disapproved of Trump, and asked if they had ever traveled to the Middle East or if they believed in violence.
Decunha was denied entry but his two friends were allowed to cross the border.
Decunha said, “I was being denied entry for administrative reasons. According to the agent, my traveling to the United States for the purpose of protesting didn’t constitute a valid reason to cross.” He added, “It felt like, if we had been pro-Trump, we would have absolutely been allowed entry.”
According to the report, U.S. Customs and Border Protection refused to comment on individual cases, but it gave this statement:
“We recognize that there is an important balance to strike between securing our borders while facilitating the high volume of legitimate trade and travel that crosses our borders every day, and we strive to achieve that balance and show the world that the United States is a welcoming nation.”
H/T: The Guardian
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