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Old 06-03-2015, 01:25 AM   #1
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Problems crossing the border, anyone?

I mentioned this to a couple of people at the rally, but I want to conduct a wider survey. I've crossed the border from Washington state into British Columbia three times in the past three years, and this time when I crossed for the rally it finally dawned on me that I was getting special treatment. Here's what happened:

The Canadian official at the booth asked me a few questions, then directed me to park my truck and trailer and go inside for "further questions". Inside I was asked my business, my background, and to list the states I have lived in. On the two previous crossings I have also had my vehicle searched, and in April 2014 I was asked for my computer password so my laptop could be searched. I thought this was a bit odd, but having visited Canada only one other time since childhood I didn't know any better.

On the crossing for this year's rally a pleasant young man told me that since Michael Lewis is a common name, they have to do further searching to make sure I am who I say I am. He indicted that there was another Michael Lewis born on the same day in Florida who was someone they didn't want in Canada. Then he gave me a folded piece of paper and asked me to write down my Social Security number. When I did, he unfolded the paper and showed me the number they were looking for, which was different.

So-- has anyone else had to go through this? I'm just curious. I like to feel special, but...
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Old 06-03-2015, 01:43 AM   #2
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That IS unique. I've never had so much as a hiccup at the border. A few questions answered, a passport produced, and on my way. No more than 60 seconds.

Face it Mike -- you're special!
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Old 06-03-2015, 01:45 AM   #3
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I am not asked these questions

The last time we entered Canada the only questions we were asked were where we were going, if we had any firearms, and what alcohol we were bringing. Last fall when we entered Canada and said we were going to Banff, we were also asked if we were daft since it was late in the year. But have never been searched while entering Canada.
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Old 06-03-2015, 01:49 AM   #4
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Probably thought you were carrying the threat of rain.
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Old 06-03-2015, 02:07 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gbaglo View Post
Probably thought you were carrying the threat of rain.
Well, they were right.
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Old 06-03-2015, 02:23 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Lewis View Post
Well, they were right.
Hi: Mike Lewis... I had to be fingerprinted by the R.C.M.P. to get a U.S. I 94 card for cross border work driving bus. There is another "Alf", but lucky for me he is missing one finger. Alf
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Old 06-03-2015, 02:43 AM   #7
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My only big hiccup was once when a rookie border guard mistook my BC plate numbers for a WA state plate, which was obviously flagged.

A quick trip to secondary and all was good.
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Old 06-03-2015, 06:21 AM   #8
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Sitting here at a KOA south of Montreal after crossing from the states last afternoon--took about 3 minutes.
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Old 06-03-2015, 08:30 AM   #9
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Well there is finally an advantage to a name like "Vermilye!"
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Old 06-03-2015, 08:33 AM   #10
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I was once first off the ferry into Victoria, BC and the last to clear customs. My answers to their questions were not good enough at first. I work in public safety, so I am at ease in these environments. I had no real plans, a rental car, a frame pack, and a pile of receipts to my name. I see now how I was suspect. After being given the go ahead to visit their county, I asked the agent if they drove on the same side of the road as us, he didn't crack a smile.

My wife has an uncle and cousin who share a name with someone the US doesn't want in. Everytime they visit us they get held up in customs for extra questioning. It happens so often, but it's just policy and procedure on the government's end. This sounds similar to your problem.

On another note. We travel to Montreal often to watch soccer via NJ. On one of the other boards I belong to you read about fans who have DWIs from the past being turned around at the boarder. Their country, their rules.
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Old 06-03-2015, 08:57 AM   #11
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We had a big annoyance last year, but I dont think it had anything to do with names. And Jon -- having a somewhat unusual name is not a guarantee. Matilsky is not common, but my son has the same name as a felon in Florida. What I've learned is to ask what's answered and not offer anything. And make sure you have all your documents ready. They wanted our proof of trailer insurance (they won't let you in without it) and Terry couldn't find it. By this time however, they knew we were okay and felt sorry for us so they let us go (we were in the office by this time). In our case, we still think the first inspector was having a bad day. She just couldn't understaand why we were re-entering the country with the Escape when we'd only leeft a short time before.
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Old 06-03-2015, 09:55 AM   #12
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Coming back across to the US side at Oroville on Sunday, I answered.. no food except canned (soup) dehydrated (instant coffee) and a fresh pineapple. Well, the pineapple got me pulled over.. that was fine. Custom official and I went inside the trailer and I showed him the pineapple with the Dole label (good to go), he opened the refrigerator (empty) and I swear... he didn't even look inside. He was busy staring at my hawaiian fabric in the dinette. Probably thinking no wonder she wanted a fresh pineapple
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Old 06-03-2015, 10:30 AM   #13
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Border Crossing Experience

Folks:
We had an interesting experience at the border on our recent visit to ETI. We had not been to Canada since 2006, and were somewhat unsure of what we might face. We gave our passports to the young, very polite agent. He asked about the purpose of our trip. When informed of our visit to ETI (to finalize our choice of options for our 17B), he informed us he was buying an "Off Road" camper from CA. We then discussed the reasons that had led each of us to choose "niche" products and the impact of exchange rates (he was spending significantly more than he had initially planned due to unfavorable rates). There were no other questions--a completely routine and painless process. Apparently, a shared interest in specialty RVs was all that was required!

We enjoyed our visit with ETI (Crystal was very helpful) and even though several staff members (including Tammy) had already left for the rally, we were able to finalize our build sheet. Now we only have to wait for mid-Aug.!
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Old 06-03-2015, 11:08 AM   #14
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https://www.eff.org/press/releases/p...ches-us-border

https://www.eff.org/wp/defending-pri...igital-devices

https://www.eff.org/pages/border-search-quiz
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Old 06-03-2015, 11:14 AM   #15
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These are interesting responses. I guess I am special, after all. It took me longer to cross the border last Thursday than it did coming back from East to West Berlin back in the bad old days, long ago. But without the guard towers, machine guns, the Wall, etc.
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Old 06-03-2015, 11:34 AM   #16
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These talk about one's rights at the US Border under US law. But I don't know if they apply going in to Canada. If I understand Mike's post correctly, he was questioned by the Canadian authorities, and they are the ones who searched his laptop. So the issue is "what rights does a US citizen have in Canada?"

On the other hand, for most of us it is not an issue.
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Old 06-03-2015, 11:39 AM   #17
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My grandson got flagged coming back into the U.S. from Mexico. Same name as some felon. Went with my daughter to the inspection station. They cleared him when they saw he was only 7 years old.
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Old 06-03-2015, 11:41 AM   #18
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Ruthe, yes a one day trip that is followed, sometimes next day, by my two + weeks traveling holidays usually gets me a couple extra Qs too.

Y'all should try and watch the tv show "border security" sometime. The oz one is ok, but the canadian produced one is an eye opener for sure. Its on Discovery up here.
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Old 06-03-2015, 11:43 AM   #19
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That's right; I was questioned by Canadian authorities, who have also in the past searched my vehicles and laptop.

One of the questions I was asked by the guard at the booth was if I had any guns. I said no, expecting this, then he asked if I owned any guns in Florida. That was odd, I thought; why would he care? Then I began to wonder if Canada is sharing this answer with the U.S. government, which I think it prohibited from keeping a database of gun owners (I'm not up to speed on this). But if my twin Floridian Michael Lewis is indeed a felon, he is prohibited from owning a gun under U.S. law, so maybe that was the reason for the question.

So-- was anyone else asked if they keep guns at home?
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Old 06-03-2015, 12:02 PM   #20
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When my hair was halfway down my back, and my head wrapped in a bandanna, I was always checked out at the border, especially into the US. Now, with no hair, they just wave me on in.

I did get some grief once, when crossing with our tent trailer when the kids were small. I was asked for their birth certificates, which we never even thought to bring. My response was that they were obviously our kids, to which the border guard pointed out that most child abductions were done by relatives of the kids. They did let us go on, but we did carry their birth certificates on subsequent trips.
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