Great job, US police and immigration services!

[UPDATE: The US Customs and Border Protection agency has given their version of events, saying that the border crossing was not an accident but deliberate. The whole thing seems a little weird. (Thanks to WMDKitty.)]

I have to say, if the US were trying to alienate as many people as possible, its immigration and police services are doing a magnificent job. The world is already pretty much aware of the utter cruelty and inhumanity with which undocumented immigrants and refugees are treated when they arrive at the borders. We also know the racism of Donald Trump in the way he openly disdains countries that are the home of people of color. But it seems that even people from the favored European countries who happen to stumble into the arms of US police and the immigration system are subject to abuse.

Take the case of a British family David Connors, 30, his wife Eileen, 24, and their three-month old baby who were visiting Canada and had the misfortune to accidentally enter the US while on a road trip in that country.

The family’s attorney, Bridget Cambria, of Aldea – the People’s Justice Center, said the couple were driving south of Vancouver on 3 October when they took a detour to avoid an animal on the road.

The family say they did not realise they had strayed over the US border.

They were stopped by a police officer who did not read them their rights, nor allow them to “simply turn around” and go back to Canada, according to the complaint.

At first the young family say they were separated – with David Connors being held in a male-only cell, and Eileen Connors and their infant son in a women’s cell.

Later, the husband was taken to a detention centre in Tacoma, Washington, while his wife and their baby son were taken to a budget hotel near Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, according to the complaint.

The following morning they say they were driven to the airport, which raised their hopes that they were being flown back to Canada or the UK.

“But that was not the case,” Eileen Connors says in the sworn statement. Instead, they were flown to Pennsylvania – on the other side of the country.

They were taken on 5 October to Berks Family Residential Center (BFRC), one of three immigration detention centres in the US that can accommodate families.

Mrs Connors says: “We will be traumatised for the rest of our lives by what the United States government has done to us.”

US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) confirmed the family was in detention at the BFRC facility in Leesport, Pennsylvania.

The couple’s sworn statement says the cells are “frigid”, and staff have refused to turn the heating on until the end of next month.

“When I ask how I am supposed to keep my baby warm in this horrible cold, all they tell me is to put a hat on him,” Mrs Connors said in the statement.

“My baby can’t wear a hat all the time, he feels uncomfortable with hats and mittens and starts to cry.”

Staff, she added, confiscated her son’s formula for three days, as well as his teething powder, and would only provide “disgusting” blankets that smelled “like a dead dog”.

They say the baby’s skin is now rough and blotchy and he appears to have an eye infection.

“We have been treated like criminals here, stripped of our rights, and lied to,” Mrs Connors said. “It is not right.

And people in the US keep asking why ‘they’ hate us. It is indeed a mystery.


  1. johnson catman says

    Apparently, being a cruel authoritarian asshole is a requirement to get a job with ICE.

  2. Nimal Gunatilleke says

    The people who do this sort of thing, must also take responsibility for their actions. Making America Great Again, like before 1492, will take a lot of hard work. And lots of moving back and forth, if Europe permits it!

  3. says

    And we get to hear these people because they’re white and speak English. The thousands who are neither are thrown into the Black Hole of Leesport and left to die.

  4. says

    One of the trotskyites I used to hang out with in high school used to say “they will be the first up against the wall when the revolution comes.” I always thought that was a bit harsh, but I’m coming around to that position.

  5. Dunc says

    I haven’t entered the US since the late 90s, and it was unpleasant enough then that I swore I’d never do it again. I’ve heard from a number of more experienced travellers that crossing the US border is now more fraught than crossing borders in the former Soviet republics, the less stable parts of Africa, or even some active war zones -- and that’s for white people with all the proper documentation.

  6. John Morales says


    My aunt and her husband came to Oz last year from Spain, by way of the USA.

    They were kept for several hours and missed a flight because his surname was ‘Gomez’.

    (He shared the same first name as someone wanted, and funniest of all, they didn’t believe he was Spanish because he sounded “off”).

    Me, I’d want a fair bit of money to dare to visit the USA.

  7. John Morales says

    Oh yeah, we here in Oz for a change beat you mob at mistreating immigrants and refugees. Like, we did it first.

    (so there!)

  8. jrkrideau says

    @ 11 Tabby Lavalamp
    We have a federal election next week.
    OT, but I am in the hospital at the moment and might not have made it to the poll on Oct 21. Elections Canada, as part of its campaign to encourage voting, sent teams of Elections Canada officials and volunteers through the hospital yesterday (Oct 15) so that those patients who wanted could vote in the advanced poll.

  9. says

    jrkrideau @12 Oh, I hope everything’s okay!

    After all the stories coming from south of the border, it’s weird to hear one where a government makes it easier for people to vote.

  10. jrkrideau says

    @ 14 Tabby Lavalamp
    Well, I partly fractured two neck vertebrae fall and just got paroled today after 2 months in hospital. Overall, I have done well with some great care and therapy.

    A a note for US readers, total out-of-pocket cost so far has been $45 for the ambulance. When I mentioned to my nurse that I needed to take a taxi as my ride could not make it because I was being released a day early, she immediately organized a taxi chit!

    Single--payer health insurance is hell.

  11. Mano Singham says

    jrkrideau @#15,

    Glad to hear that you are recovering from what must have been a pretty bad fall, and also that your single payer system meant that your wallet is also not damaged!

  12. jrkrideau says

    @ 14 Mano Singham
    It was a nasty fall but I got fantastic care. Other than the ambulance bill my major expenses were candy bars and a butter tart that were not included in the regular patient diet so my wallet was not too badly damaged

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