Picture this ; you are a travelling overseas to the US and on the last day of your Visa validity you plan to cross over to America’s neighbor, Canada. You are driving through upstate New York to cross over to the Canadian borders. Your car breaks down and the usual seven hour car drive you planned for takes you double the time to get to the US-Canada border. By the time you get through the Canada officials, the time is 01:30 am and they realize that your US Visa expired at midnight. So then they turn you over to the US border patrol on grounds of overstaying in the US for an extra 90 minutes and the US border control puts you in handcuffs and escorts you straight to a prison.
Scary, isin’t it …..
This is exactly what happened recently to a 26 year old Australian national, Baxter Reid where he was denied entry into Canada for overstaying in the US by an hour and a half. Reid was visiting his girlfriend in the US and his five year visa permitted him to stay in the US for a maximum of 180 days only. His girlfriend stated that the Canadian police feared that Mr Reid’s visa would get rejected when he would try returning to the US and that would make him Canada’s “problem”.
The US Customs and Border Patrol have said in a media statement that Reid inflicted this situation upon himself. “The proper procedure for requesting an extension of stay while in the US is to file an application with US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) before the individual’s authorized stay expires.” They also mentioned that the standard action process for any individual found without valid travel or immigration documents is that they are “detained and held by U.S. Immigration and Custom Enforcement’s Enforcement and Removal Operations until they appear before an immigration judge.”
The man is currently detained in the prison at the Buffalo Federal Detention Centre and there is a high possibility that he could be six months in jail even before his case is heard by a judge. The sad thing is that if Mr Reid is criminally charged, he would face deportation to Australia and be barred from re-entering the US.
Would you say that will be making a criminal out of an innocent man? When is the last time an hour of delay landed you up in massive trouble?