Border Crossings — In the News

US / Canada Border Issues

Both governments are stressing that all the initiatives in the plan were developed under two principles.

1. That each nation has the right to act independent of the other in accordance with their own laws and interests.

Which nation do we, dual citizens, fall under in our crossings?

2. That both countries will endeavour to promote human rights, privacy, the rule of law and civil liberties.


21 thoughts on “Border Crossings — In the News

  1. If you are citizen or green card holder of the U.S. then you will treated as such, no matter what your other citizenship may be, when you approach the U.S. side of the border. Can’t get any clearer than that.
    That is just the reality. Canada can’t help you one bit.

  2. I agree, Canada suggests you travel on your Canadian Passport but US inisists you are a US citizen.

  3. Exactly.

    I am a dual U.S. and Canadian citizen and I don’t have time to get a U.S. passport. May I enter the U.S. with my travel document showing my Canadian (or other) citizenship?

    No, U.S. law requires U.S. citizens to enter and depart the U.S. documented as U.S. citizens. Improperly documented U.S. citizens may be barred or delayed considerably at a port of entry.

    Another question on dual nationality: Is it okay to travel outside of the U.S. on my other passport?

    While the U.S. does not prohibit dual nationality, Americans must comply with U.S. laws (e.g. federal and state taxes, selective service, and foreign assets control) regardless of their location. Thus, a dual citizen who travels to Cuba on a Canadian or other passport, may violate U.S. law and be subject to criminal or civil penalties.

    When must I have a passport to enter the U.S.?

    Now. The Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) requires all travelers, U.S. citizens and others, to hold a valid passport or other approved travel document for air, land and water entry. Please visit the WHTI website for details.

    How do I contact you? I would like to speak with someone over the phone.

    Unfortunately, we do not have the resources to offer comprehensive telephone information. Our switchboard operator has no passport, consular or visa information. Please start your information search at the Toronto Consulate website or at the Department of State travel website.

  4. Since when do we have to fear taking our computers across the border? Under what grounds did the agent turn on his computer in the first place? And is it now illegal to travel to anyplace in the Middle East that is Arabic? Muslim? Hello KGB….

    “Abidor, a 28-year-old American and French dual citizen, was returning by train to Brooklyn in May 2010 when a U.S. Customs and Border Protection agent stopped him at the border in Champlain, N.Y.

    The agent turned on Abidor’s computer and found photos of rallies by the Hamas militant group. He says he explained that he had downloaded them from Google as part of his McGill University doctoral dissertation on the modern history of Shiites in Lebanon.

    The agent also saw stamps in his passport that showed he had travelled between Jordan and Lebanon.

    Abidor said the agents handcuffed him, took him off the train and kept him in a holding cell for several hours. He was grilled over his interest in Islam and past trips to the Middle East, before he was let go at the border. He was able to catch a ride on a bus passing through the border and continue to Brooklyn.

    “We’ve received many complaints over the years about people having their electronic devices searched and even seized at the border, and in some cases held onto for a very long time,” Abidor’s lawyer Catherine Crump said in an interview.

    “The government asserts that when it comes to electronic devices, people who cross the border have no rights. They argue that they can take your cell phone or laptop and keep them as long as they like.”

    “Matthew Chandler, a spokesman for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, has said inspections of electronic media are used only “in limited circumstances to ensure that dangerous people and unlawful goods do not enter our country.”

    Poor Pascal Abidor. What a hideous way to be treated. More info about his case is available at:

    More into on border searches NOT AT THE BORDER:

  5. When I learned 6 months ago of the requirement to travel with a US passport into the US I was shocked because I have never been asked for it – I travel to the US every year; mostly by land but sometimes by air. My Canadian passport clearly shows that I was born in the US. When they ask my citizenship I say “Canadian” and if they inquire further I say “I was born in the US but moved to Canada as a child.”

    I am a middle-class, middle-aged caucasian “soccer mom” living in the prairies but I have crossed numerous times in Vancouver too. From a comment at a different forum I wondered if my skin was not white if I would have been asked. If that is true then I am even happier to no longer be a USC!

  6. I looked up the Corbett report – as mentioned by @Em (thanks, I hadn’t hear of it!) on another thread, and there is a very interesting video “Senator Wyden revealed that the federal government has a secret interpretation of the PATRIOT Act that allows the government much more power than is suggested by the wording of the act itself.

    When Charlie Savage of the New York Times filed a Freedom of Information Act request for the interpretation, he was denied on the basis that the interpretation is classified.

    Last week, Savage and the Times sued the federal government for refusing to release the documents. The case is currently before Judge William Pauley of the US District Court.”

    And what do you think about the state of the US when you see this type of government message “Walmart Public Service Announcement” ? made by Homeland security on their own Youtube channel “Walmart Public Service Announcement” ?
    see also –

  7. @ badger
    I hope I get a nibble from my e-mail to James Corbett. He is an excellent researcher (thorough, intelligent and well organized) and I’m proud he’s a fellow Canadian. He lives in Japan with no need to concern himself with the CRA, unlike Americans living in Canada and the IRS. He is prolific and obviously a very busy man so it might be too much to expect him to take on another project such as ours. We’ll see.
    I’m also thinking about e-mailing Stephen Lendman. I’m not sure about how many listeners his radio show gets but he is one of the most productive writers I’ve ever encountered.

  8. @ Peg

    I know what you mean as I am also caucasian, middle-class, middle-aged etc. But sometimes even that backfires.

    A few years back, I crossed the Ambassador Bridge from Windsor to Detroit. As the cars started to choose lines, I noticed a (caucasian) couple in a van next to me. The woman was wearing a hijab. I cringed, thinking that they were going to be treated like crap and how badly I felt about that and how much I was ashamed of being American. Lo and behold, they drove right through. I encountered a young agent, probably no more than 19 from somewhere in the south. He looked at me and said, in the most threatening tone you can imagine, “Now, I want you to put your car in park and get out of the car” and as soon as I did that, I heard him tell me to open the trunk, so I circled around and put my key in the door whereupon he proceeded to have a screaming fit about how he had told me to pop the trunk from within the car. I wondered what the hell he thought I had in the car. So he told me to do it really slowly and then step back from the car. He was way back. He then proceeded to search the back which just had packed cases and such. Not even a laptop. He acted as if I had a bomb or might have grabbed a weapon as I opened the trunk. It was totally unreal and preposterous. Just a stupid punk enjoying his power. Thank goodness the other couple went in the other line.

  9. Why did he use a US passport in Lebanon and Jordan when he also has a French one? I have a similar combination and I would never, ever use the US passport even to travel to most European countries, to say nothing of places like the MIddle East, Russia or China. You couldn’t pay me to travel on a US passport.

    Otherwise, I hope that the case drums up a lot of noise and bad publicity for traveling the US…I wonder if he might end up staying in Canada after his dissertation after an experience like that?

  10. Here’s another story to make your hair stand on end:

    U.S. filmmaker repeatedly detained at border

    At the recent FATCA public meeting held in Ottawa, one of the guest speakers confidently told us that U.S. citizens could not be barred entry to their country as long as they presented a valid U.S. passport at the border. Perhaps he should have added, “…and as long as you don’t criticize the U.S. government or don’t mind having all of your papers, electronic devices and personal and business data arbitrarily and repeatedly confiscated by that same government.” Fair warning to those who mistakenly believe that an American passport is some kind of protective talisman against unconstitutional search and seizures by their own government. Post-9/11 America has become unrecognizable.

  11. I only use my US passport to enter the US. My EU passport for travelling everywhere else. I also wrap my EU passport up in tin foil to prevent the US picking up the chip. All the advantage is to you to deny the US where you’ve been travelling. It’s none of their damn business.

  12. @Deckard1138
    Calgary is correct. It is chilling! And it is one more proof that the terrorists have truly won. Each time I read a story like the above, I think God that I live in Canada. The US just happened to be where I was born and oh, how it has changed. For the worse!!!!

  13. @Em, thanks for mentioning these other avenues. No telling which ones will work, so best to try as many as possible!

  14. @nobledreamer;
    we were near a border crossing and my child had to use the washroom. I could see what I thought was one next to the border station building, but as I was looking out at it a guard dressed and standing like a commando – with the wraparound shades, etc. started looking at us. I told my child to just hold on – although we didn’t have anything to fear in theory, I just didn’t want to have to potentially deal with Rambo just to use the washroom. This is a crossing my family used for many years on visits, so I remember what it used to be like back then. On the other hand, I’ve also had Canadian border personnel treat my obviously ailing and frail senior parent roughly, and speak to my sibling with an obvious developmental disability like they were some kind of credible threat.

  15. @Badger,

    That is really sad. I simply cannot understand why they have to act like that to people who obviously are not “up to something.”

  16. @tiger said: And it is one more proof that the terrorists have truly won.

    I sincerely believe you are right, more than one way. Why the mainlanders over reacting? I can’t understand invasion of Iraq, which is last straw that broke the camelback, pushing the USA into deep recession and vicious cycle of budget deficits.

    I can’t understand why they are supporting Pakistan, who in fact is the real supporters of al-Qaida. Only fools believe al-Qaida still has safe heaven and operating from Afghanistan. The Taliban is other story, since it is ethnic group hatred and struggling for power in Afghanistan, but who has no interest in the US (except provide missionaries for money). The Pakistan would have done any thing US asked them to do, if the US is more firm and little more patient, because the Pakistan have no other option to sustain their military to sooth their extreme paranoid fear and hatred for India. They were nearly bankrupt and economy is on the verge of collapse. If the US used the Indian card properly, Pakistan would be economically better and al-Qaida would be wiped off.

  17. If you are a dual US citizen US law requres that you use your US passport for entering and leaving the US. I have not heard of any cases where US citizens using another passport have been denied entry, but increasingly they are give a hard time if they cannot produce a US passport or a CLN showing that the person no longer is a US citizen. IF you live abroad in a country from which the US requires a visa of citizens of that country to visit the US, in all probability the US consulate will not stamp a US entry visa in the foreign passport of a dual US citizen, but insist that you must have a US passport to enter the US.

    Outside of the US dual citizens are totally free to use their “other” passort for entering and leaving other countries. When entering the US you will be treated as a US citizen. The fact that you may hold dual nationality in another country is totally irrelevant when you enter or are in the US. If you are arrested, you have no right to see a counsular representatve from your “other” country.

  18. tax non-compliance is a vague def.For those who missed file f8891 in time would also be cresideond tax non-compliance . IRS would come up some rule to impose penalty on RRSP even if they grant late tax deferral election.Congress gives FBAR power aka nuke option to IRS, and they can enforce it as they wish simply for missing filing a paper without any tax issue at all.By the way, if this affect a lot voters in 2012 election, that might be a different story. How many of us can vote here ? How much we can do in this political process ?

  19. @Hikari, if you are a US citizen living outside of the US and, if you ever lived and voted in the US, you can vote from abroad by absentee ballot in the same precinct where you last voted in the US. Here is a link to the website that gives the neccessary information.

    If you are a US citizen born abroad and never lived or voted in the US, it is more complicated. This website also gives information for cases like this.

    Good luck. Vote if you can.

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