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The US Canadian border crossing

By Oz_Media ·
The other day, my 'pertners in crime' and I headed for Seattle to meet some local promoters and catch the Judas Priest concert with their supporting band, in their home state, Queensryche. ( I will blog that one, but I have to say the people we met from all over the US and the event staff were nothing but fantastic and very welcoming to us all, thank you for your hospitality.)

Precursor: I am a landed immigrant to Canada, I hold a NEW British passport with a VERY recent photo, I have a Canadian Permanent Resident Card (again brand new since 9/11)that is about as secure as any ID i have even laid eyes on.

We took the truck crossing (10 mins as opposed to 40 at the other one) and declared to Canadian citizens and one LI/PR. We were given a pass and told to 'visit the building on the right.'

This is expected, I have crossed the US border a gazillion times, pulled in and shown my ID, been welcomed to America and sent on my way.
We took a slip of paper into customer and they looked at my ID, these guys NEVER have a sense of humour so you just follow the steps and answer the questions. I had to fill out a questionnaire, 'Am I a terrorist or do I plan on inflicting harm on Americas political leaders' and a whole bunch of similar YES and NO questions. I didn't want to crack any jokes and just checked them off and handed them back. THEN I had the bimetric fingerprint scan, THEN the digital photo taken, then given another peice of paper and sent to another desk where they tore the bottom of the slip off and handed it to me while asking or $6US.
He went on to claim that this SERVICE isn't free and I handed him som ecash and we left on our way.

My passport had been stamped and I had been issued a green card, temporary visa!

First of all, obtaining a new British passport isn't easy, it takes forever from Canada and costs a bundle. If I had a page stamped everytime I went to the US I would need a friggin' phone book, not 32 pages!

This is the FIRST time I had been stamped and issued a greencard and had to PAY to enter the US. My ID and travel documents are brand new, have immense security measure taken and even explain that I am to be allowed passage freely and without hinderance. I got a freakin' GREEN CARD, MANG! and had to pay for it (the $6 is irrelevant, it's the principle).

Man what a pain in the a**!
Someone mentioned something about lane 6 while we were ina lineup and everyone JUMPED up and ran for the door before stopping and skulking back into their seat again, PARANOIA!!! These guys are loose cannons man, someone's gonna get hurt for no reason if it doesn't happen on a regular basis.

Anyhow, just a rant at the border people, upon returning, I handed my green card to the Canadian crossing guard and he said "Ahh, crash landed, EH" (for our Canadian peers, he was identical to Mr. Dressup ).

"Buy anything?" ...Nope So we went on our way with a wave and a smile. (I already had been checked on the way down though and showed him my ID etc.)

He was smiling and friendly and relaxed, we were home at last.

Get it together America, chill out and focus without paranoia.

In America's defense though! I met people from ALL over America, a couple from Sweden, and ended up hanging out with a couple of really col guys from 'Oklahoma' (Man did we sing that song a lot in craft services tent, we had half of the roadies joining in too, a blast and a half!)Despite border guards and the useless night staff at the hotel, people were the nicest and most welcoming hosts one could want. Thank you to the people of Seattle (and everywhere else for that matter) for so much fun.

Rant over, thank you, I needed that. :)

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Maybe they didn't believe your Canadian connection

by DMambo In reply to The US Canadian border cr ...

After all, if you told them you were there for Judas Priest and not for Celine Dion, they probably were suspicious. :)

Oz, I travel from US to Canada fairly frequently. I'm sure they have all the data at their fingertips from our license plate numbers. Lately they've been warning me to carry my passport for re-admission. They say anyone can get a VT license, which is true. Are they paranoid? Yup. Everyone's afraid that he'll be the one who lets the next bloddy chainsaw into the country.

As far as the customs service, I knew a guy who was a border agent, mind you this was before 9/11, and he was once manning a checkpoint just before the border crossing. I pulled up and said "Hi, Tom" and we chatted for about 5 minutes. He seemed as though he was in no hurry to move along even though the cars were piling up behind me. Just as I was leaving, I asked if he thought the drivers behind me would be upset that they had to wait so long. He said no, if anything they'll be nicer because they don't want to be questioned for a long time or get pulled over. By making them wait, he sent a message that he's not to be screwed with.

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No doubt

by Oz_Media In reply to Maybe they didn't believe ...

Celine, actually that WAS why I was there, my secret's out!

The guys on teh way down didn't keep us at the booth, thye kept us inside customes though.

I HAVE a Canadian PR card, do not/have never NEEDED a passport to travel to the US (but I always carry it anyway).

The PR card is a NEW form of ID to prove status and is all I should be asked for. It can be swiped into their system (which is tied to Canada customs) and provides ALL of my biometric, photo, immigration status etc. It's actually really cool if you haven't seen one yet.

I even have a NEXUS pass for the fast lane at the border, though I understand they do random checks.

It was MY truck with MY sticker on it, though I had a friend drive becuase I had already come from up island and across to the mainland.

Just complete paranoia though, you should have seen them twitch and jump when they heard a call for lane 6. What a bunch of tossers, smoke a joint or something and get a grip.

Oh well, it was like landing back on Earth when we got back though, America's not a great place to be when mention of that threat meter rising is being passed around. Everyone starts looking at each other real shifty, as if they are about to be eaten to feed the survivors or something.

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Cheap thrills Oz

by ippirate In reply to The US Canadian border cr ...

I am a US citizen, landed in Canada - Permanent Resident, possess an official US Passport (You should be thinking USGov. with the neat little statement on the back page that says do not hinder, on official business) and holder of this new Canadian card. I have gone through, handed my passport, been asked what my purpose for visit is (to the US, go figure) and then asked what my status in Canada and then to render my PR card for scrutiny. The topper? I'm a disabled vet!

Look at it this way, at least you can pass their reaction to you off as confusion, for me, it's just blatant stupidity.

Anyway, not trying to make small, just wanted to try to give you a perspective that might make the event less infuriating. I'm just waiting for these monkey's to attempt to stamp my US Passport upon re-entry. That'd be a hoot!

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You know

by Oz_Media In reply to Cheap thrills Oz

No matter what you post, I always get a laugh at your avatar.

But yeah, whatever. I know these guys are pretty much lost, as is everyone when it comes to what to watch for how to handle things etc. If you can't determine what to take lightly, the only resolution is to take everything very seriously, which is really too bad.

I remember seeing America as the country with the big stores that offered super deals on all kinds of products you couldn't get in Canada. It was actually so much fun being in the US. It was home of Yellowstone, Mount Rushmore and all of the things you WANT to be remembered for. The beautiful and vastly different places that make America and it's people so diverse.

I know this is also what people want to protect but perhaps the mental aspect is the issue that bugs me. I haven't seen people react the way I see Americans react over things and not JUST over these recent terrorist issues. America has changed, it is uptight, paranoid, self righteous, etc. All in all, everything that makes a personality unstable and violent.

Although America has a history, I think this whole terrorism thing is just too new a concept for most Americans to get their heads around.

In cases such as that in London, people have grown up all their lives seeing this, as I have always said, when I was younger I remember seeing all of the reminders of WWII left behind as well as terrorism. Just silent reminders that freedom cannot be taken for granted I suppose.

Seeing what the IRA has did, taught people how to react and just keep working for better. It is handled with a lot more calm, collective and very rational thought I think due to exposure. People became stronger and more united, not more scared and separated, perhaps it's just a British thing, they were the same in the World Wars.

I just wish they didn't decide to stamp my passport and offer this gringo a green card. UK Passports are SO much hassel, even the photos are an odd size that many shops have no idea about, they get rejected for just about anything, a hair out of place etc.

Oh well, maybe I'll just spend less time in the US, it's not like anything's that much cheaper anymore with a really good Canadian dollar, except the regular stuff, 'gas cheese milk', even smokes aren't much cheaper anymore.
(buying beer and even getting a Safeway Club Card discount is still a brilliant concept though, applause to the USA there).

I am srill going back next month for a few OzzFest dates in Washington and Oregon though...screw it, "Party on Wayne!" :)

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