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Old 01-06-2019, 01:16 PM   #1
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Current Border Situation

I'm a frequent border crosser, if not weekly then at least bi-weekly. I've been vetted ever which way possible and have Nexus, Trusted Traveler, Global Entry, Sentri, and TSA pre-check as well as having been vetted by Homeland Security for ATF and FAA permits and licenses. To say that I'm a known entity is probably an understatement. My usual time at the Nexus booth is about 5 seconds.

Yesterday was unfortunately different. I'm commenting about it so that anyone heading for the border while this current government employee situation exists will have a heads up that things may be different. I hope that no one turns it into a political discussion.

I was told to go to secondary inspection. Towing a trailer you normally drive through that area because you can't navigate a trailer past all the concrete barricades that a car can slowly weave through. Normally the parking area for secondary inspections is almost empty. Yesterday it looked like a shopping mall parking lot.

Inside there were a lot of folks. Lucky me saw that they had a provision for a Nexus line without anyone in it. Great I thought, at least it'll be fairly quick to be on my way. Well, there was at least two dozen uniformed folks and they all studiously avoided eye contact with anyone. I stood there for 20 minutes before the non-Nexus person called me over. Made me fill out a customs declaration. OK, I know that's an opportunity to shoot yourself in the foot. "food", yes; "meat", yes because I had a tuna fish lunch sandwich with me. Fortunately they said that was OK. Made me put down an address where I was staying even though I was going to be back home for supper.

Then they searched my truck. Tried to explain about lifting the box cover before closing the tailgate. He snapped at me that they do that sort of thing all the time.

They came back and wanted to know why I'd removed one of the two rear jump seats! I mean, really, does that relate to National Security? Told him that I tow a trailer and that it was 50 lbs. of never used dead weight and it also gave us a convenient secure spot to carry our folding bikes. I was then released.

Out to the truck, tailgate hanging open. Don't know if they tried shutting it without lifting the box cover or not. Inside they'd ripped out Gertie's dog blanket and foam from her center console berth and ripped off a rear wall panel that I'd just put on to protect the now exposed amplifier.

So, all in all, it was a long nasty experience. Hopefully things will get back to normal soon. So anyone heading for the border while the current situation exists should be aware that the crossing may be different than previous crossings. Also, have a specific address ready in response to the question "where are you going". Simply answering something like "Arizona" will likely only lead to further questions.

Well, a nasty start to the day. But the rest of the day well really well, nice weather window opened up, great flying and the stop at the Canadian Nexus on the way home was about 5 seconds.

Ron
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Old 01-06-2019, 01:33 PM   #2
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Sorry to hear of your troubles Ron, can you tell me what crossing this occurred at?
My wife and I also have Nexus and use the Nexus lane when towing the trailer, this government shut down is making me nervous. We are planning to attend the Quartzite rally then carry on across the southern states, with the state parks and BLM lands affected this will limit our camping choices. I imagine the Walmart parking lots will be full.
Thanks for the info.
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Old 01-06-2019, 01:39 PM   #3
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Just tell them ur coming to the Quartzsite gathering, they’ll put you right through.
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Old 01-06-2019, 01:46 PM   #4
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Old 01-06-2019, 01:54 PM   #5
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... then carry on across the southern states, with the state parks.
State parks should not be affected. This is strictly federal. National Parks, BLM, Forest Service, Corps of Engineers, and such.

State parks, municipal parks, etc. should be just fine.

Enjoy your travels

Ed

This too shall pass.

This site can help you find camping areas not operated by the federal government.


http://www.ultimatecampgrounds.com
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Old 01-06-2019, 02:12 PM   #6
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Up against the wall!!!

Hi: Ron in BC... Now you're scaring ME!!! Alf
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Old 01-06-2019, 02:20 PM   #7
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Many years ago at 18 years of age and probably at the same boarder crossing, I was looking to find the parking for the near by Peace Arch Park. After a wrong turn I found myself heading towards the boarder officer for my first time.

He asked me where I had just come from? I was a little stunned at the question because it was obvious to me. Of course I answered with what I thought was the correct and only possible answer. Well I said, from back there....pointing behind me.

More recently at the boarder with our trailer in tow we were searched. The officers emerged with two long real wood used marshmallow sticks. I said just throw them out as we have steal ones as well. Apparently that was not going to happen. They took them inside to a specialist that I could see studying them with a magnifying glass. All went well and after an extra 1/2 hour for the stick exam we were on our way.

I love the states but we avoid going there as you just don’t know if your going to say something wrong or have something with you that you forgot to leave behind.
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Old 01-06-2019, 03:13 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eggscape View Post
Many years ago at 18 years of age and probably at the same boarder crossing, I was looking to find the parking for the near by Peace Arch Park. After a wrong turn I found myself heading towards the boarder officer for my first time.

He asked me where I had just come from? I was a little stunned at the question because it was obvious to me. Of course I answered with what I thought was the correct and only possible answer. Well I said, from back there....pointing behind me.

More recently at the boarder with our trailer in tow we were searched. The officers emerged with two long real wood used marshmallow sticks. I said just throw them out as we have steal ones as well. Apparently that was not going to happen. They took them inside to a specialist that I could see studying them with a magnifying glass. All went well and after an extra 1/2 hour for the stick exam we were on our way.

I love the states but we avoid going there as you just don’t know if your going to say something wrong or have something with you that you forgot to leave behind.
Going the other way is sometimes fun as well. I was told that Canadian Border Services Agents don't like their jobs and give people a hard time just to pass the time.

Oh, and if your from Texas... Do you own any weapons? Do you have them with you? Have you ever had them in your vehicle? Are they in your vehicle now? Etc.
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Old 01-06-2019, 03:24 PM   #9
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Thanks for the heads up regarding the border crossing. We have nexus as well but do not want the hassle and will avoid any crossing until this mess is over.

If you are regularly crossing please update this thread so we know when this is situation improves.
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Old 01-06-2019, 05:30 PM   #10
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I cross at the Pacific Hwy. crossing. I'm not sure that makes much difference and it's sort of luck of the draw what and where you encounter anything.

I'll be crossing again next Saturday and I'll give an update then.

The address comment was partly based on yesterdays demand for an destination address even though I wasn't staying at an address and other previous experiences pre-Nexus.

Arrive at border with trailer in tow.

"where are you going"

"California"

"California's a big state. Where are you going?"

"Well it depends on the weather"

"It's always sunny in California, where are you going"

Yup, now I know. Say something like "trailer meet in Quartzsite"

"Where's Quartsite" Gotta keep a sense of humor or it'd drive you nuts.

Ron
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Old 01-06-2019, 05:32 PM   #11
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Hmmm. Thanks for the update, Ron. We have an appointment with Melisa at ETI on Thursday at 1:00 PM to finalize our build sheet. We plan to cross at Sumas then return the same day. I do not have a Nexus but do have TSA Pre-Check. (Yes, I know that doesn't apply at the border)

IF the shutdown is still going on (Likely) then I will post our experience on this thread. It will be interesting to contrast the experience of a US citizen returning vs a Canadian entering. Then again, Sumas is generally has more commercial traffic than private so that will be a variable as well.
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Old 01-06-2019, 06:03 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg A View Post
Just tell them ur coming to the Quartzsite gathering, they’ll put you right through.
We'll use you for a reference, okay?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron in BC View Post
I'll be crossing again next Saturday and I'll give an update then.
Is this the one with the trailer, or are you leaving later. Our plan is for Saturday too.
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Old 01-06-2019, 06:21 PM   #13
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I guess it's a good thing I don't have a long trip planned for 2019.
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Old 01-06-2019, 06:27 PM   #14
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Ron's story doesn't sound too good, unfortunately these guys are judge, jury and executioner and you have to grin and bear it. We have all suffered from unreasonable questioning, but arguing with them would probably result in a permanent scar on your admission record. There has been many a Canadian who have fallen foul of US Border Staff, not because they have done anything wrong, rather than US Border guys got out of bend on the wrong side.

Fortunately we are not due to go south until then end of the month and by then, touch wood, this latest shut down will be settled and behind us.
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Old 01-06-2019, 06:32 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron in BC View Post
I'm a frequent border crosser, if not weekly then at least bi-weekly. I've been vetted ever which way possible and have Nexus, Trusted Traveler, Global Entry, Sentri, and TSA pre-check as well as having been vetted by Homeland Security for ATF and FAA permits and licenses. To say that I'm a known entity is probably an understatement. My usual time at the Nexus booth is about 5 seconds.

Yesterday was unfortunately different. I'm commenting about it so that anyone heading for the border while this current government employee situation exists will have a heads up that things may be different. I hope that no one turns it into a political discussion.

I was told to go to secondary inspection. Towing a trailer you normally drive through that area because you can't navigate a trailer past all the concrete barricades that a car can slowly weave through. Normally the parking area for secondary inspections is almost empty. Yesterday it looked like a shopping mall parking lot.

Inside there were a lot of folks. Lucky me saw that they had a provision for a Nexus line without anyone in it. Great I thought, at least it'll be fairly quick to be on my way. Well, there was at least two dozen uniformed folks and they all studiously avoided eye contact with anyone. I stood there for 20 minutes before the non-Nexus person called me over. Made me fill out a customs declaration. OK, I know that's an opportunity to shoot yourself in the foot. "food", yes; "meat", yes because I had a tuna fish lunch sandwich with me. Fortunately they said that was OK. Made me put down an address where I was staying even though I was going to be back home for supper.

Then they searched my truck. Tried to explain about lifting the box cover before closing the tailgate. He snapped at me that they do that sort of thing all the time.

They came back and wanted to know why I'd removed one of the two rear jump seats! I mean, really, does that relate to National Security? Told him that I tow a trailer and that it was 50 lbs. of never used dead weight and it also gave us a convenient secure spot to carry our folding bikes. I was then released.

Out to the truck, tailgate hanging open. Don't know if they tried shutting it without lifting the box cover or not. Inside they'd ripped out Gertie's dog blanket and foam from her center console berth and ripped off a rear wall panel that I'd just put on to protect the now exposed amplifier.

So, all in all, it was a long nasty experience. Hopefully things will get back to normal soon. So anyone heading for the border while the current situation exists should be aware that the crossing may be different than previous crossings. Also, have a specific address ready in response to the question "where are you going". Simply answering something like "Arizona" will likely only lead to further questions.

Well, a nasty start to the day. But the rest of the day well really well, nice weather window opened up, great flying and the stop at the Canadian Nexus on the way home was about 5 seconds.

Ron
Sorry for your experience . Better I keep my mouth shut . Take care , safe travels . Pat
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Old 01-06-2019, 06:40 PM   #16
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Rumor has it that when you cross the border from south to north, they do a body cavity search.
But that’s just a rumor.
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Old 01-06-2019, 07:03 PM   #17
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Sorry to hear of your troubles Ron.

We live close to the border and cross frequently. We have been in Nexus since it started, and the previous program. I think it was called PACE.

The last time we took our trailer south, the CBP officer commented on such a nice looking unit, then the guard in the next booth name over to offer a similar comment. That was very unusual, but a pleasant surprise.

The way I handle it is; always be truthful, answer their questions with as few words as you can without being abrupt, and never offer unrequested information. And don't be nervous.

I know some people who get nervous approaching the border and I'm sure the guards can see it.
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Old 01-06-2019, 07:19 PM   #18
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And, don't wear sunglasses. Take your hat off.
Yes sir.
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Old 01-06-2019, 07:26 PM   #19
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And, don't wear sunglasses. Take your hat off.
Yes sir.

And open the rear windows in your rig if you can. We had loads of fun with the FJ one time.
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Old 01-06-2019, 07:27 PM   #20
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And, don't wear sunglasses. Take your hat off.
Yes sir.
And have the rear window open so they can see the cute puppy dog.
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