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Passports and borders -- The Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI)

By Oz_Media ·
Since January of 2007, the WHTI ensured that tighter border security measures will be put into place.

It has been made quite clear that people crossing the Canada/US border will eventually need a passport. Last year it was noted that it would take effect this summer.

Now they are really putting the push on, by
June 1st 2009, all land and sea travel to and from the USA or Canada requires you to carry a passport.

This is neither new news, inconvenient news or unjustified news, however...

There has been a rash of news reports from our number of US network feeds here, about problems and complaints at the border.

Last night there was a report on TV with an American family crossing the border into Canada being scrutinized. One American family, all WITH passports complained that they were held up at the border trying to enter Canada, even though they had the correct documentation. The grandfather was taking his turn driving and unknowingly entered the Nexus line (the fast line for regular border commuters).
His complaint was that they were held up and questioned even after providing documents, but he didn't have much concern over the fact that he they were in a through lane without the correct pass on their vehicle.
Its as if he expected his passport to be a front of the line pass into Canada without question. "I have a passport, so let me through!"

Myself, I carry a British Passport, I also have an Immigration Card I need to present, I have done this for years now. I used to just nod when asked if I was Canadian and was let through without delay, but these days I know better and have my passport and EXPECT them to ask me in for an interview and to fill out a temporary Visa ($6 US) and then eventually let me through.

Complaining about the quesioning, as if they should know who you are and leave you alone, is just ridiculous though. I expect some really **** jerk to give me the third degree when I travel south, and I am never let down.

Its almost as if people, who are Canadian or American citizens, feel they should simply be waved through if they have a passport, but that means nothing these days. If terrorists were so easily identified from non-terrorists, we eould have no issues at all, but life isn't that way so we need to accept these small inconveniences in the face of greater security.

So what is it that people don't get?

We can't just use racial profiling to control our borders, it is illegal, repressive and ineffective.


Do you travel across the US/Canada border?
Do you get hassled?
Is it an inconvenience for you or something you have grown to accept/expect when entering a foreign country?

Why would visting Canada or America be seen as ANY different than visiting France, Germany, China or Australia? Just because we share a border and have trade agreements, it doesn't open up and unrestricted flow for Joe citizen.

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History my friend

by JamesRL In reply to Passports and borders -- ...

In days of old, or Pre 9/11, border stops at land and sea crossings were simple affairs. Not long ago, all you had to do was to declare your citizenship. Then after that simple ID like a birth certificate would do. Then came the requirement for a birth certificate AND photo ID.

The situation was even more causal in some areas. In Quebec/Vermont, there were unmanned checkpoints, and people regularly crossed back and forth to shop, fill up their car etc., without ever stopping to self report let alone talk to a border agent. Those days are gone forever.

It is the department of Homeland Security that drove that initiative. Canada agreed because it was so important to the US.

Frankly I was treated the worst at an airport on a domestic US flight than at a border crossing. We were showing our IDs to an agent, and she dropped it as I handed it to her. As I was balancing my laptop bag on top of my luggage, I didn't bend down to get it. As a result I went through the humiliation line. I'm in sight of all the other passengers, I have to take off my belt and shoes, untuck my shirt from my pants, empty all my pockets, take all of my belongings out of my luggage. They run the swabs for chemical testing through everything and then announce I will have to wait a while for results as the tester has gone on break.

I've been hassled by US Customs prior to 9/11, as I was visiting the US for business and they wanted to ensure I wasn't taking a job there. Thats a regular thing, it hasn't gotten any worse.

The news footage I've seen the last couple of days shows the wanring notices they are giving those without the right papers. They are letting them through for now.

James

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Exactly

by Oz_Media In reply to History my friend

I accept it, but I've seen so many complaining abotu border hassels as if they feel having a passport means they get a free pass to move through withotu issue.

I remember a time when NO ID was asked for NONE at all, when entering the USA.

I'd pull up, they' say "Canadian citizen?" Yup, "What are you entering teh US for? Gas smokes and stuff. "alright".

I'd be in the US in seconds, terrorist kit in the trunk and ready to wreak havoc.

Now days I expect longer lines and more questioning.

It's as if these people being stopped at the border and questioned are offended by it because they are not terrorists and only terrorists should be withheld for questioning.

I don't mind, I need a good reason (good concert) to visit the US these days, no more work in the south as I have bailed on our marketplace. I just leave early, choose the better border crossing (aldergrove) and patiently go through the motions and I'm good to go.

I have actually had mroe hassel just going from Toronto to Montreal a whopping 45 minute flight up and down.

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Q...

by Jellimonsta In reply to Passports and borders -- ...

Hey Oz,
What kind of hassle would I get trying to cross the border with my UK passport and US green card? :0

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Into Canada?

by Oz_Media In reply to Q...

Only speculation, of course you'd have to confirm, but a UK passport is as valid as a Canadian passpot here. Just as a Canadian passport will gain you entry to any British Commonwealth nation also.

You would most likely have a harder time entering the US than Canada, even with a green card as they don't hold teh same level of respect for un-American passports, they have no real ties to the UK.

Again though, while I am sure it will be easy as pie, you're best of chcking into it first as you are coming the other way.

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Cavity search

by jdclyde In reply to Q...

hard and deep..... :0

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:0

by Jellimonsta In reply to Cavity search

As long as they are just checking my throat! ;\

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The problem is

by CharlieSpencer In reply to :0

what they're checking it with. Let's just say if it takes over four hours, they call a doctor.

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Time to worry

by santeewelding In reply to The problem is

When they roll in a gurney and colonoscopy monitor.

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The snap! snap! of the rubber gloves...

by neilb@uk In reply to Cavity search

Brace yourself!

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I use that

by Oz_Media In reply to The snap! snap! of the ru ...

As music to go to sleep by, reminds me of my childhood.

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