Keeping the house, the kids and the hubby without breaking the bank, the earth, the people I love, or myself.

Border Patrol MADNESS

Warning: this post contains adult language. If you can't handle that, don't read it.

Many things over the past several years have given rise to a desire in me never to return to my country of birth, to renounce my citizenship and never look back. Shrubby's and Dick(head) Cheney's abolition of basic human rights was a good start. The continuing erosion of the those rights further convinced me that that particular world isn't one I want to live in. A world in which children are detained for years and journalists are tortured thanks to the colour of their skin and the circumstances of their birth is a world to which I never want to be a silent partner. A country which makes it legal to detain others without access to legal counsel or contact from ANY OTHER LIVING SOUL for an indefinite time...again something of which I want no part.
These egregious human rights violations trickle down in other small ways. In short order, America became the bully of the world -- beating up the world's little people for democratic change.

This weekend I went back to Ohio with my family for a visit. I have been back and forth so many times in the past five years I managed to forget a document which I needed for my daughter to enter Canada. Major head slap here. Yes. Very very stupid of me. I thought I had that document. I did not. Because I did not have it, Canada would not let my daughter and I into the country. They gave me a slip of paper for each my daughter and myself showing that SHE AND I were barred entry and we were sent to the American border to return to America. Our plan was to go sit in a coffee shop in Buffalo for an hour to an hour and a half while my husband returned to our home in Crystal Beach, got the document and fetched us.

Simple, right?


When we entered the border checkpoint at 1:15 a.m., the guard barks: "CITIZENSHIP?!" My husband responds, "I'm Canadian; they're all American." And he's trying to hand the guard all our identifications. As he does, his own driver's license and birth certificate fall to the floor. He reaches for them and the guard freaks out. "WHAT ARE YOU REACHING FOR?!" ... 'my identification fell, sorry." "GIVE ME ALL OF YOUR IDENTIFICATIONS AT ONCE!" Well, what the fuck was he trying to do? Roy tries to tell the guard that he needs to return my daughter and I to the states because I forgot a document that she needs for entry to Canada and the guard didn't hear a word. Just started badgering us. Firing one question after another without pause for responses: "WHAT ARE YOU SO NERVOUS ABOUT? WHAT ARE YOU HIDING? WHY ARE YOU LYING?"


It's after one in the morning. We'd spent about 45 minutes on the other side having things explained to us in the most congenial manner. Perhaps the immigration and customs officers on the Canadian side were so pleasant because they knew we were in for a nightmare experience.
My husband tells the guard, "I'm frustrated and tired. I'm not hiding anything." I lean forward and say, "Look, we forgot a document we need and he......" The guard bellows at me: "DON'T TALK TO ME. ONLY THE DRIVER TALKS TO ME!" Well bull fucking shit. There was no fucking sign demanding absolute silence from all passengers. Kiss my ever loving fat white AMERICAN arrogant bullying son of a whore.

At this point, the armed bully leans into the back seat and barks at my nine year old, who is tired as hell and leaning against the door half conscious: "LOOK AT ME. I CAN'T SEE YOUR FACE!!!" My son was scared shitless. YOU BASTARDS. How DARE you scream at a child and frighten him in the middle of the fucking night just because you're on some kind of insane power trip. Take a fucking vacation you fucking moron.

Now three more armed guards come to the car. One is making fun of the border guard who "caught" this "carload" (carload of what I want to know. Carload of American fucking citizens you jack fucking asses.) They demand Roy's keys and go into the hatchback of our family fucking mobile --- a god damned station wagon containing easter baskets and dirty underoos from our 3 days in Ohio. They notice a bottle of ketchup on top of a bag containing an Easter basket (American ketchup is different from Canadian. I don't like Canadian ketchup. Now, I don't care if I ever have ketchup again for the rest of my ever loving life) and sarcastically says, "Wow look at all this food. That's a lot of food. What else do you have in here?" Oh for fuck's fucking sake. Let's see...we got legos and playdough, plastic easter eggs and jelly beans, the aforementioned underoos, some slippers and some child size 12 galoshes. Better dig through our suitcases, we're obviously terrorists or drug runners.

Fucking assholes.

Perhaps the vanilla wafers are a hot item. Maybe we shouldn't have some tear-free shampoo on board. Who knows, maybe that's the latest bomb making ingredient. Perhaps we had enough sugar on board to knock out a horse or a few unsuspecting border agents.


They remove my husband from the car and escort all 160 pounds of his arrow straight ass into customs with three armed guards. JEBUS FUCKING CRIPES. So while my four year old son, nine year old son, and 15 year old daughter watch their daddy being escorted away by armed guards the nasty assed guard who "caught" our car throws a boot between the front and rear wheels of the driver's side so that the car can't go anywhere. have our keys, asshole, you removed the driver --- WHERE THE FUCK ARE WE GONNA GO???? Oh, I know. I'm gonna haul my oversized ass into the driver's seat, hot wire the car and speed off with my kids inside. WHAT THE FUCK is wrong with you?

Let's stop for a minute. My daughter and I were barred entry to Canada. My daughter and I. Not my husband. Not my sons. My husband had nothing to do with this. But because MY DAUGHTER AND I were barred entry to Canada, the American border guards decided to jump on the one non-American in the vehicle and interrogate him for the next two hours.
Stop and think about this folks. Canada is America's largest trading partner. Canada is America's friendliest and most cooperative neighbour. I can imagine the conversation the border guards were having with each other:

"Well, the woman and her daughter were barred entry to Canada. Look at the man. He's not American. He's got a beard. I bet he's Muslim, you think he's Muslim? Let's throw him in a box and see if we can't lock him up indefinitely for being a terrorist."

You power mongering, fear mongering mongrel sons of mongrel bitches.

The border bully barks at me to get out and drive the car to the customs parking lot. As I come around the driver's side I comment: 'this is all over a document which we do possess but do not have with us. Why are you doing this to us?" He barks to us: "We don't know what this is about!!!!" FUCKER. Yeh, we were barred entry to Canada because we had drugs and bomb making materials, guns and grenades and plans for several buildings and structures. Fuckers. They would have arrested us if that were the case. He barks at me to turn on the flashers and drive over to a guard who's standing in the parking lot of US customs. Well, guess what, I don't know where the flashers are. "TURN THE FLASHERS ON!" I'm sorry I can't find them. Why are we fucking nervous? I don't know. I'm forty fucking years old. My husband is a quiet man. I'm not accustomed to being yelled at and badgered by gun toting bullies. Maybe that's why I'm nervous. Maybe I'm upset that my kids have been subjected to this kind of trauma. Maybe just maybe this is a bunch of fucking bullshit and I'm just plain choking on it. I told him, "I'm sorry I can't find the flashers on here." He bellows at me to "JUST DRIVE OVER TO HIM, HE SEES YOU!!" Well, fuck you very much, I'll fucking do that your fucking fuckliness.

So I drive over and park. We enter a building that has one side of the room dedicated to hard plastic and metal chairs divided by a glass 3/4 wall. On the other side of the glass is a counter behind which border guards sit at terminals. My husband is speaking to one of the border guards at the counter and we all walk to him. The guard tells us to go sit on the hard chairs. On the tv is a news talk show discussing the Casey Anthony case. Just what my kids need -- to see and hear about this asshole idiot in Florida who killed her beautiful toddler. Think I'm asking them to change it to teletoons? Fuck no.

It's nearly 2:00 in the morning and we're all about to fall over. Why did we return so late, you ask? Well, we wanted to avoid a big wait at the border with returning travelers and we visited as long as we could with family. My family had a HUGE get together at my neice's house and nearly everyone was there. It was wonderful. We haven't had a huge gathering since my father died in 2004 and it did my soul good to be around everyone again (see my I miss Thanksgiving post.) Anyway, I didn't leave until we'd visited with the last person to arrive for about an hour. Then we gathered up our things and headed out on the highway at about 8 pm. The kids slept a good bit, but you know -- they're accustomed to a full 10 - 12 hours of sleep a night, all consecutively. They had a 3-4 hour nap, but here they are witnessing hell in motion at 2 am and my four year old is asking "when are we going home? I just want to go home" and I just want to cry at the helplessness of it all. The stupidity of it. The idiocy. The pointlessness of the attitude and badgering from the border agent.

So we sit. My daughter is fretting. She says this is all her fault. It absolutely is not. I'm the dumbass who forgot to make sure that that document was with our papers. It was not. That's MY fault and nobody else's. Poor kid. My nine year old is nervous as hell and my four year old just wants his warm bed in Crystal Beach.

Suddenly my daughter begins to cry. I try to comfort her and tell her it'll be okay. She asks me, "why is daddy locked up in that room?"


I look around and see that the back of the room contains a glass-walled lock down room. Signs are posted on it stating we are not to speak to detainees, they are not to use cell phones, etc. O MY FUCKING GAWD. WHAT THE HELL? I motion a question to my husband as if to ask 'what are you in there for?' and he doesn't respond at all. My husband, like most Canadians, has an inflated sense of respect for authority (over inflated if you ask me). If the sign says he's not allowed to communicate with those on the outside of the cell, he won't even blink at us. He makes no movements at all. I can tell HE IS PISSED. Oh is he pissed.


Let me tell you about my husband. He's the straightest arrow you'd ever meet. He's never been in any kind of trouble....even as a teenager. He's always chosen to avoid trouble. That's his nature. He's an honourable man with a well devoloped sense of right and wrong. He has never smoked pot or tried any illicit drugs. Not even pot. He's reluctant to take tylenol for crying out loud. He doesn't even lie. I'm not sure that he can. He swears so little that the guys at work have made a game of getting him to drop an F-bomb. One of his coworkers calls him the Royscout. And yes, my husband was a boy scout...all the way through till he was in his mid-20's and finished with the Rovers. In short, he's a good, honest, law-abiding family man.

And I'm mad as hell that they would lock him up and treat him like a criminal. Apparently the policy for the border patrol is that everyone's a scumbag out to hurt America until we prove otherwise.

So I approach the counter and ask to speak to a supervisor. I want to know why my husband is being detained. I want to know how in good conscience they can treat their OWN people this way. I want to know how any one of them would react if their children were badgered and verbally assaulted the way my sweet little boy was. And of course, those are the questions I ask. The bully who supervises the other bullies tells me " we haven't mistreated any Americans." Are you shitting me? I told him that barking at children and badgering us, making demands and accusations is absolutely mistreatment of Americans and the most innocent ones, at that. I asked him if they were barred from the employment of their own common sense in their line of work. We're a family ... children and mom and dad ... we're driving a 12-year-old station wagon chock full of Easter basket goodies, colouring books, and toys that can occupy small children... sometimes it is exactly what it looks like. He tells me, "Ma'am, I don't know what a terrorist or drug runner looks like." Oh really. I would think you'd have a much better idea than I. I'm willing to bet they don't drive station wagons with small children in tow who's eyes are wide with the trauma they're experiencing for the first (let's hope only) time in their young and well-protected lives. He tells me he doesn't know if my husband has been living illegally in the states. I laughed at him and told him, "he's a man who works 50 hours a week in Stevensville, Ontario. He doesn't have enough time left over to SLEEP in the states let alone live there." For crying out loud. Border bully supervisor tells me he doesn't know what illegal activities my husband's been involved in in the states. I laughed at him again. Not even jaywalking. Border bully supervisor tells me that they conduct themselves in a professional manner. Guess what? Rudeness, arrogance, berrating children --- not professional. I told him that this is ridiculous. I forgot one document which my daughter needs to cross into Canada or we wouldn't even be here. He tells me he doesn't know that. The two slips of paper handed to him by us clearly note that it was my daughter and I who were barred entry to Canada, not the boys, not my husband. Well, he tells me, 'your husband will continue to be detained until we know that he's not doing anything illegal in the United States.' Holy fuck. So I ask, what will you have my daughter and I do, walk to the nearest hotel in Buffalo while you get your heads out of your asses (okay, I didn't say the last half of it). He tells me, "We're not cruel, ma'am." Seriously? This is feeling pretty fucking cruel and unnecessary to me let alone to my three AMERICAN children who don't deserve this treatment from anyone anywhere! Professional manner my ass. I told him the document Canada customs & immigration handed to us showed that my daughter and I were barred entry for lack of proper travel documents (no, our passports are not enough). He tells me, "We don't talk to the Canadian officers." I tell him it would do him some good. They could take some lessons in professional behaviour from people who manage NOT to berrate and belittle and badger the people they won't even allow into their country.

They want to know why I use my sons' American citizenship when crossing the borders (as they're also Canadian citizens). Why, indeed. Hell, if I hadn't, they'd have been put in lock down with my husband. Imagine the horrors then.


So we wait. Until 3:15 a.m. While a guard interrogates my husband. Tells my husband he's going to lock him up because he knows damned well he's been in the United States more recently than 2007. Ummmm, no he hasn't. Guard tells Roy he's going to jail because the guard knows he's hiding something. This goes on and in despite the fact that they can find no police history for him in their massive databases, no history of any kind except the occasional visit to the US over the past ten years.....every single one of them laid out on their tidy little monitors.

Maniacal power mongering assholes.

I don't ever want to go back. These are the people who are the greeters on the doorsteps of our country. These are the people who welcome visitors to our country: "Hello. Welcome to the rudest country on earth. Get the fuck out."

When finally my head hit a pillow after 4 in the morning and I slipped immediately into unconsciousness I had nightmares about my husband being detained, my children being screamed at and run over (yeh, I don't know where that came from either) by border guards.
I don't ever want to go back.

Eventually I'll start to miss my family again.


Never again.

Fuck the low prices. Fuck the massive selection. Fuck the cheap gas. Fuck the quantity of health care (note I didn't say "quality"). I'll stand in line to pay more for fewer items and I'll stand in line and wait 2 years for necessary surgery because I don't ever want to deal with those sorry bastards again.

Eventually the PTSD they've triggered in me will settle down and I'll want to return to visit my family. I think I'll probably need to be medicated to make that crossing again. My daughter probably will, too.

I think I'll have my daughter's permission to live in Canada tattooed to my ass so I always have it at the ready. Though it's the American border guards I'd most gladly present this form of documentation to.

How much you wanna bet this little ole post of mine lands my ass on a watch list? Yep, that's the pleasure of living in a police state. I want no part of it.


Anonymous,  7:43 AM  

When I traveled to Vegas last year for a conference, I made sure to shave. Unfortunately, after almost 30 hours in transit and on a plane, there is bound to be stubble growth. Fortunately, customs let me pass relatively quickly.

Had to take out my shoes, thrice, if I recall -- which seems awfully silly.


Gill - That British Woman 9:01 PM  

that is just so terrible, I cannot begin to imagine what you all went through.........

Take care,


Angry In Oman 5:00 AM  

Oh that's terrible!

The American boarder gaurds are the fucking worst.

We went over for my birthday when I was home last September and crossed at Niagara Falls and you know... having stamps in Arabic in our passports is not a lot of fun these days.

My husband (no beard) got hauled in for 45 minutes of questions all about what his job is and how long he's been here and whatnot.

My parents had a really bad experience at LAX when they went through as well.

I think their must be using shocking training techniques or something to train these people.

They probably hate themselves, if that's any consolation.

And hey, is Heinz really different in the US??

Vicky 8:44 PM  

OMG - I was treated this way last year. I had my daughter, son in law and grandson with me. Did you know that the only Scotiabank in Fort Erie doesn't have an ABM you can make a deposit at after 9 pm? I ended up driving back to Port Colborne to make the deposit to cover my mortgage. I live in Gravenhurst, dd and dgs live in Barrie and son in law was still in Hamilton! I worked until 3 pm so we were kind of late to start with. I forgot about the mortgage payment! By the time dgs visited with his other grandparents and we were packed in the car again (dgs was 6 months old so you can imagine how packed my VW Golf was) it was close to 8. We arrived in Fort Erie around 9:30 pm and I found out about the ATM. I made the deposit in Port and then finally got to the Peace Bridge around 12:30 am. OMG - we were interrogated for at least 30 mins by the US customs officer who couldn't believe we were going to shop. He said I was lying and obviously hiding something. He asked us all what we did for a living and was pissed when I said I work for the Ontario Government - he said he wanted to know what I DID not who I worked for. It was awful. I even gave him the ownership and insurance for my car, my licence, birth cert, marriage cert, divorce cert and custody order (for my 21 year old much to her disgust) only because I keep all the certs and court orders together. He said that it wasn't my car and kept saying I was lying! WTF! He also asked me 20 times if I had a criminal record which I don't. He walked around my car four or five times shining the flashlight in. It was terrible. Finally we were sent over to the immigration building. We waited over an hour with a 6 month old until we were called in. When I asked what was going on, the officer couldn't figure out why we were sent over. I gave him my hotel confirmation, he apologized for his co worker and gave me my "golden" ticket to enter the US. If dd wasn't so set on getting the Fisher Price stuff that wasn't available in Canada yet, we would have turned around and gone home (even though they had already put through the charge for our room). Coming home was a piece of cake in comparison. I handed over all our id, said we had spent about 1500. and were gone 2 days. He looked at my bulging at the seams car, said it looked like a Fisher Price warehouse, told me to drive carefully and have a safe trip home (it was 3 am). I have no urge to cross border shop again! The manager at the TGIFridays that we had dinner at on Saturday apologized for our horrible experience and assured us that all Americans are not like that.

TomK 7:22 PM  

I had a similar experience with the U.S. Border Patrol. You're right. They are the most incredibly incompetent assholes. Can't imagine why Americans are willing to be represented by these demented, uniformed thugs with guns and self esteem issues. In my case they refused me (an American) entry to my own country and then lied about it. They even lied to the two Senators from my state who did try to investigate the happening. These guys are power-mad, bullying, ignorant, morons. Perhaps if more Americans actually left their own country and had to deal with this issue there would more outrage. I contacted the ACLU about this incident and was told they weren't interested and that I should contact my Senators. I did, and that avenue of redress has failed, since both the Senators have decided to accept the explanation of the Idiot Border Patrol, in spite of documents I supplied which showed that they were lying. It's really sad that the country has become so afraid of threats that it has elected to try to protect itself in this manner. I doubt these clowns ever catch anything but the most clumsy of criminals, as well as a few innocent old men, women, and children. BTW, I'm 67 years old, have no criminal record, was a federal employee with a security clearance. They are, as you say, utterly insane. I'm currently living and working in China and, sadly, I feel less threatened by the government here than I do in my own country. I also lived in Canada for 6 years and found that I was also much more comfortable there. Something has gone seriously wrong in the U.S.A. The entire country seems to become insanely fearful and paranoid.

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Saving money. Saving graces. Raising children, husbands and, sometimes, cats. Laughing. Living. Thinking. Doing. Life in the Niagara Region of Ontario.

About Me

I am a happily married woman with four children and various cats and kittens (fosters). I love to read and my favourite authors are George RR Martin, Thomas Hardy, Raymond Carver, PD James, Kurt Vonnegut, J. K. Rowling, and Margaret Atwood. I know there are only three women in that list (and none of them American), so if you'd like to suggest some I'm willing to give them a shot! And yes, I am an American living in Canada. (Hence the nick -- CannedAm.) I like it here. There are things about the states that I miss, but my love is here and this country has things to offer that my own does not. Things that make my quality of life much better than it ever was in Ohio. Guess I'm stuck here. Though there's a nice spot in the Appalachian hills where I'd love to spend my retirement.

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