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UK Family detained in USA after accidentally driving in from Canada

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PrincessRaven Wed 16-Oct-19 07:48:20

Two members of British family arrested after 'swerving to miss an animal and accidentally driving from Canada into America' had previously been denied entry to the US, border officials reveal.

The family said they blundered into Washington state while trying to avoid an animal in the road on the Canadian side and have since been 'treated like criminals' by their US jailers.

They say they have been subjected to filthy conditions in the Berks Detention Center in Leesport, Pennsylvania, since October 5.

The agency said that border agents tried returning the family to Canada, but Canada refused to have them back. After making two attempts to contact British consular officials, the border patrol said it turned the family over to U.S. immigration officials for removal proceedings.

It comes after footage emerged from Eileen's Instagram account appearing to show the couple travelling at speeds of up to 170kph (105mph) near the Canadian border.

Relatives back in Surrey say they are sick with worry and fear for Eileen in particular who is growing weak with hunger and stress.

Eileen is sharing a small room with her baby son, Grace and the twins and is too frightened to venture out other than to phone home and eat a meagre breakfast.

'At the moment Eileen is sleeping in a small room with Grace and the children.

'When I speak to her she sounds calm but I think that's an act to make sure the kids are ok.

'Inside she's absolutely terrified. She spends most of the time in the room with Tommy because she's scared to venture out.

They were staying in Vancouver and had gone into the surrounding countryside to go fishing.

'They were on their way back when Michael swerved to avoid a large animal, a moose I think, and ended up on a country road which led across the border.

'The first they actually knew they'd gone into the States was when they'd actually turned around and were heading back when they were surrounded by police vehicles.

David and Michael were taken to a detention centre in Washington while Eileen and Grace and the kids were put up in a budget hotel nearby.

'The immigration people stayed with them throughout, wouldn't let them make any calls and told them nothing about what was happening.

'They were there for two days before they were all reunited again at an airport near Seattle. For some reason they were flown to Chicago and then had a connecting flight to New York where they were driven to Pennsylvaniana.

It's all a bit odd, how do you accidentally drive over the border so far that the border force pick you up? (Never been to Vancouver)

Why wouldn't Canada let them back in?

Hoppinggreen Wed 16-Oct-19 07:50:22

Dont believe them for a minute, they had tried to get into The US twice before and been refused entry for some reason

SoupDragon Wed 16-Oct-19 07:51:17

how do you accidentally drive over the border so far that the border force pick you up?


This was on the Simon Reeve (?) programme where he is travelling the full length of the Americas. Someone he spoke to over the border line had to phone border control to mow some of his grass.

I suspect there is more to this particular story than has been said so far.

DisappointingBanana Wed 16-Oct-19 08:00:37

Many years ago my DBIL attempted an arduous, over hill and mountain type illegal entry into the US from Canada, but got caught and deported! It's quite a common thing to do.
I think there is more to this story than the people involved are letting on. How can you accidentally "swerve" into the US? confused

OytheBumbler Wed 16-Oct-19 08:04:30

Also how did the police 'happen' to be on this quiet road unless they were waiting for them.
Seems like there's definitely more to this than we're being told.

dottiedodah Wed 16-Oct-19 08:04:45

DH has family there .On a recent visit went to the Border with them .Completely impossible to get across! Have to watch you dont step across the grass (there is a sort of park there with the Peace Arch ) .Signs EVERYWHERE stating not to cross over ! Guards on foot with Binoculars ! I think there is much more to this story than they are letting on TBH.

AJPTaylor Wed 16-Oct-19 08:06:37

Load of old tosh.
They were attempting to get into the USA. Swerving to avoid an animal and landing in the states in error?

londonrach Wed 16-Oct-19 08:07:16

We crossed between usa and canada twice three times a day whilst on holiday no problem each time although we had to give up our oranges in return for some pens. Theres a huge amount of info here you dont know. Theyve done something

LagunaBubbles Wed 16-Oct-19 08:08:23

This sounds really odd. You don't get denied entry to the USA for no reason.

WaterSheep Wed 16-Oct-19 08:09:01

More holes in this story than Swiss cheese.

edgeofheaven Wed 16-Oct-19 08:11:07

Below from a follow up story in the Washington Post. They were absolutely trying to illegally enter the US.

^CBP officials disputed the family’s version of events and said the Connors were spotted via video surveillance “slowly and deliberately driving through a ditch onto Boundary Road in Lynden, Washington,” between parallel roadways on the U.S. and Canadian sides. The roads are not connected by cross streets, and the only legal way to traverse between the countries is through staffed border stations throughout the region.

Cambria could not immediately be reached Tuesday for comment.

The CBP statement said U.S. agents also determined that two of the family members had applied for travel authorization to visit the United States and were denied. A senior CBP official said the Connors applied for visa waivers last year, and it was not immediately clear why they were rejected.

Such waivers are available to British passport holders and other foreign nationals from countries for which the United States has less-restrictive visa requirements.

The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe the case, said the family — four adults and three small children — had $16,000 in cash at the time of their arrest.

“Attempts were made to return the individuals to Canada, however, Canada refused to allow their return and two attempts to contact the United Kingdom consulate were unsuccessful,” the CBP statement read.^

Troels Wed 16-Oct-19 08:13:05

Agreed theres more to this, it's hard to cross without knowing even on the country lanes there are signs.

recededpronunciation Wed 16-Oct-19 08:13:29

They were on Zero Avenue, which runs parallel with the border for miles, with various manned border crossing points along the way. They were caught on CCTV carefully driving their vehicle across the ditch that divides the two countries. We’ve driven along that road hundreds of times, there’s no way you would ‘accidentally’ cross the border without knowing exactly what you were doing.

OrchidInTheSun Wed 16-Oct-19 08:15:27

They don't seem the brightest tools in the box do they? Their story is so obviously a load of baloney

chemenger Wed 16-Oct-19 08:15:57

How do you swerve to avoid an animal and end up on a different road that you can’t turn round on to go back the way you came? Why would you continue on the wrong road, especially beyond a border sign?

00100001 Wed 16-Oct-19 08:17:35

Of course the story is bollocks!

edgeofheaven Wed 16-Oct-19 08:17:46

They don't seem the brightest tools in the box do they? Their story is so obviously a load of baloney

What's crazy is haven't they read the news for the past 3 years to see how the US under Trump is treating illegal immigrants?

chemenger Wed 16-Oct-19 08:23:47

Cross post there, the answer to my question is, you don’t! They were obviously trying to enter illegally and they’re being treated accordingly. Nobody who has entered the US legally would think that doing so illegally would end well. It’s unpleasant enough with a visa.

Schuyler Wed 16-Oct-19 08:25:58

Of course they knew what they were doing. They must think people were born yesterday!

Sirzy Wed 16-Oct-19 08:28:32

The only ones I feel sorry for are the children caught up in the middle of it all!

IfIHadAPenny Wed 16-Oct-19 08:29:08

Once I swerved to avoid hitting a badger on a road in Kent and I ended up by Swansea.

Easy done.

HairyFloppins Wed 16-Oct-19 08:29:18

So they were denied an ESTA and thought they could creep in without being noticed? Not the cleverest are they?

Billballbaggins Wed 16-Oct-19 08:29:46

They were refused a US visa before and they were caught ‘carefully’ driving into the US, yeah they were trying to illegally enter the US

Billballbaggins Wed 16-Oct-19 08:30:18

The only ones I feel sorry for are the children caught up in the middle of it all!


VirtualHamster Wed 16-Oct-19 08:30:20

The fact that Canada refused to have them back is rather also rather suspicious

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