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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?

Ponoka7 Wed 16-Oct-19 08:33:02

At first i thought it could be true.

Only because i watch 'Border Security':Canada front line' and twice there's been American Citizens who've gone into Canada by mistake. Each time they've just declared their guns/drugs and have been directed to the road they wanted.

But, as said, if we are being told that truth, then there's more to this.

But that is if it's the truth. The report you've linked to gets the names wrong. There's been concerns about the treatment of infants in custody and there's campaigning going on so children are only held in detention centres licenced for children.

The wife was only put up in a hotel after tje baby became unwell and the Foreign Office got involved.

The US obviously wants to shut down any reporting of the conditions that the children were kept in, the threat to remove the newborn etc. So it would suit an agenda to portray this family as criminals.

I'm not saying they are totally innocent, but they may not be as they are portrayed.

sarahjconnor Wed 16-Oct-19 08:33:10

They were trying to cross illegally but are too stupid to realise how stupid their story sounds. I think this is an embarrassing level of European privilege on show. The world knows how illegal immigrants to the us are treated but they expected to get away with it because they are British!

milliefiori Wed 16-Oct-19 08:36:54

@IfIHadAPenny grin gringrin

SoupDragon Wed 16-Oct-19 08:37:03

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


Elementalillusions Wed 16-Oct-19 08:37:38

I read an article from a Canadian newspaper that said they had left the place they were staying with all of their luggage in their car and had a large amount of US currency on them.

It sounds as though they were trying to get into the USA to either have an illegal holiday there or stay there permanently.

Ponoka7 Wed 16-Oct-19 08:38:32

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

That's yet to be confirmed as true.

They wasn't given that option before arrest. Once arrested the process took over. The process included confiscating the babies formula and putting them in an unheated adult male holding cell.

KatherineJaneway Wed 16-Oct-19 08:40:42

Swerved to miss an animal! Is that the best they could come up with? No wonder they got caught. Stupid arses.

SoupDragon Wed 16-Oct-19 08:41:00

The process included...

Is that confirmed as true? If you are going to doubt one side of the story you have to doubt both.

Dyrne Wed 16-Oct-19 08:42:35

The conditions they are in are disgraceful; and sadly I can only hope that people will sit up and notice now that a white family is being subjected to them; as clearly no one gives a shit when it’s a load of South American families subjected to even worse.

Their story is definitely a load of bullshit, though. They are being treated according to US law and process, which they should have known would be a possibility when they took the risk. It’s the US system that needs challenging, not the fact that this family had to go through it.

The FCO will expedite the process and they’ll be back in the UK soon enough. The poor families on the Southern border don’t have that privilege.

SoupDragon Wed 16-Oct-19 08:44:24

Does the CCTV show them deliberately and slowly driving across the border or have they made that up?

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.

That so significantly different to "swerved to avoid a moose and ended up on a road that led across the border". Faking the CCTV aside (like the BBC drama The Capture 😂), that's surely easy to prove.

ChazsBrilliantAttitude Wed 16-Oct-19 08:45:24

Their story doesn’t add up. They accidentally crossed the border by driving through a ditch avoiding an invisible animal carrying all their luggage, carrying a lot of cash.

Isn’t cross border drug smuggling an issue in that part of Canada so the border is heavily watched.

The US refused them visa waivers, Canada don’t want them back...
There is more to this.

FrancisCrawford Wed 16-Oct-19 08:47:21

Definitely more to this story

araiwa Wed 16-Oct-19 08:50:21

A moose so big it blocked canada? Lmao

ClosdesMouches Wed 16-Oct-19 08:54:51

Animal was likely a unicorn.

OrchidInTheSun Wed 16-Oct-19 08:56:33

I did not expect US border control conditions for illegal immigrants to be very pleasant. It kind of goes with the territory.

nauticant Wed 16-Oct-19 08:56:55

Ahhhh. I heard the story, thought it didn't sound right, but wasn't bothered enough to learn more. Thanks OP.

noblegiraffe Wed 16-Oct-19 09:01:18

I accidentally went to the Czech Republic once. Walked back through the border hoping no one would ask to see my passport as I didn’t have it on me.

edgeofheaven Wed 16-Oct-19 09:05:04

Animal was likely a unicorn. grin

Timeywimey10 Wed 16-Oct-19 09:08:00

What I don't understand is why they didn't just put them on the next plane back to the UK if Canada wouldn't have them back. What's the point of locking them up?

fruitinaheapisnotabirthdaycake Wed 16-Oct-19 09:09:27

I don't believe the family. Something fishy going on here. They have previously been banned from the US too.

edgeofheaven Wed 16-Oct-19 09:15:52

What I don't understand is why they didn't just put them on the next plane back to the UK if Canada wouldn't have them back. What's the point of locking them up?

I'm not a border agent but I would certainly want to investigate someone who, having previously been denied a ESTA, decided instead to travel to a neighbouring country and attempt an illegal overland border crossing.

Having said that the conditions that illegal immigrants in the US are held in are horrific by all accounts and I pity the children involved.

RegretnaGreen Wed 16-Oct-19 09:16:10

I wanted to go to Chievely and ended up going over the Severn Crossing so it is possible. grin

SolitudeAtAltitude Wed 16-Oct-19 09:23:57

Does sat nav indicate borders?

The story does not sound plausible, hope they get to go home soon though (or would they have a home to go back to in UK? Maybe they sold everything they had to try a new life? Like in the film "In a America"?)

fruitinaheapisnotabirthdaycake Wed 16-Oct-19 09:26:43

Maybe the Americans can give the lady some fashion advice before they deport her 🤭

michaelbaubles Wed 16-Oct-19 09:31:05

My brother lives in walking distance from the US/Canada border - it would be relatively easy to sneak across by foot (although not recommended) but you can't accidentally cross by car, even on a small back street there are concrete bollards on the road and signs telling you not to cross.

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