Badly treated by border agents

Treatment by guards at Huntingdon crossing was unnecessarily harsh.

Editor: On Dec. 22, my mother and I went to the United States to do some grocery shopping. We were out of the country for about three hours. We bought jugs of milk, eggs, cheese, cat food, vitamin water and two scarves.

On our way back across the border at the Sumas-Huntingdon crosing, we were treated horribly. I felt more welcomed going into the United States then I did coming back into my own country.

The border agent asked us so many questions — where we live, how long we were down, what we were bringing back, who the vehicle belonged to, if this was the border we used coming down, how far south did we go, if that’s only how far we went, etc.

He told us to unlock the vehicle. He went and searched the back of the car and went through our grocery bags. He came back around and told us to pull in and go inside, so we did.

We went inside and the border agent took our passports and our receipts and asked if this is all we purchased. He asked if we had any electronic device and we said we had our cellphones. He told us we needed to give them to him.

My Mom was in the middle of calling my Dad to tell him what was going on when the border agent said that if she didn’t hang up and give him the phone, he would have her arrested. They were treating us like we were criminals, treating us horribly. We had done nothing wrong.

He took our phones and keys to the car and went to search them. About 10 minutes later, he called us back up and sent us on our way, as if nothing was wrong.

What’s that all about? The agent treated us that way, as if we were hiding something,  and then acted like nothing was wrong and told us we could leave. This came after he  took our phones and threatened to arrest us.

Once we left the building, I looked at my phone. They had been searching through my phone, my text messages, and my photos. Fortunately, my Mom’s phone wasn’t able to be searched because her phone had a lock on it, but because mine didn’t they helped themselves to search through my private life for no reason at all.

They also did something to break my phone. It can no longer phone out. It says “Call Failed,” and when I text out it says “Not Delivered.”

We called Canada Border Services Agency and complained, and told them the agent broke my phone, and I can no longer receive or send out phone calls or messages.

They said they don’t know what happened, it was a random inspection and I would have to take my phone into a repair shop to find out what’s wrong with it, because they can’t fix it.

I had to restore my phone to factory settings to get it to work. I lost contacts, over 1,000 personal photos, and text messages.

It’s good to know this is the way we are treated in our own country, and just for $70 worth of groceries. I’m disgusted to be a Canadian right now, and so embarrassed that these border agents are the faces of Canada.

Melissa McLean,


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