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Canadian Blocked At Border for Mental Illness Treatment


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Lots of excitment over this story...a Canadian woman was refused entry into the U.S. because of border agent access to her medical and/or police history (suicide attempt in 2001). The excitement is over how such information was obtained:

A Toronto woman denied a flight to New York as part of a cruise trip wants to know how U.S. border agents knew about her history of mental illness.

Ellen Richardson says she was told by U.S. customs officials at Pearson International Airport on Monday that because she had been hospitalized for clinical depression in June 2012, she could not enter the U.S.

As a result, she missed her flight to New York City and a Caribbean cruise, for which she had paid $6,000.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/canadian-woman-refused-u-s-entry-because-of-depression-1.2444960

There is no debate about whether U.S. border agents can refuse entry to any non-citizen for any or no reason at all. Still, how was such information obtained ? Might be as simple as a Google search upon presentation at the border/customs, as this person had self declared health history and experiences on a web site. Or perhaps Canadian federal and provincial governments have shared such information as part of security agreements.

What do you think is going on here ? Why do border crossings into the U.S. play such an important role in Canadian's lives ? Don't people on either side of the border realize how easy it is to find web content on individuals ?

Edited by bush_cheney2004
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So that's your argument? Homeland security just searches Google for you when you get to the border?

Of course not, as there are several law enforcement and other dedicated databases to query as well. But in this case, the woman denied entry had posted details about her mental illness online for her own reasons.

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Lots of excitment over this story...a Canadian woman was refused entry into the U.S. because of border agent access to her medical and/or police history (suicide attempt in 2001). The excitement is over how such information was obtained:

A Toronto woman denied a flight to New York as part of a cruise trip wants to know how U.S. border agents knew about her history of mental illness.

Ellen Richardson says she was told by U.S. customs officials at Pearson International Airport on Monday that because she had been hospitalized for clinical depression in June 2012, she could not enter the U.S.

As a result, she missed her flight to New York City and a Caribbean cruise, for which she had paid $6,000.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/canadian-woman-refused-u-s-entry-because-of-depression-1.2444960

There is no debate about whether U.S. border agents can refuse entry to any non-citizen for any or no reason at all. Still, how was such information obtained ? Might be as simple as a Google search upon presentation at the border/customs, as this person had self declared health history and experiences on a web site. Or perhaps Canadian federal and provincial governments have shared such information as part of security agreements.

What do you think is going on here ? Why do border crossings into the U.S. play such an important role in Canadian's lives ? Don't people on either side of the border realize how easy it is to find web content on individuals ?

Maybe its because Americans still think the 9 11 bombers entered the US from Canada

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Maybe its because Americans still think the 9 11 bombers entered the US from Canada

No, as refused U.S. entry for Canadians with mental illness (and many other things) pre-dates 9/11. Frankly, I don't know why anyone (Canadian or American) would just assume that a border crossing or customs admission is guaranteed. I hope she purchased trip insurance !

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No, as refused U.S. entry for Canadians with mental illness (and many other things) pre-dates 9/11. Frankly, I don't know why anyone (Canadian or American) would just assume that a border crossing or customs admission is guaranteed. I hope she purchased trip insurance !

As many times as I have crossed that border as well as many others I certainly never assumed it was guaranteed, I approach any foreign border with respect. But I do recall back in the 9 11 day this false rumor that the bombers came through the border from Canada. Of course that was shown to be wrong but the obvious conclusion one quickly comes to is, lets see whos officials do you answer to when crossing the border southbound

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As many times as I have crossed that border as well as many others I certainly never assumed it was guaranteed, I approach any foreign border with respect.

As well you should, as this border crossing thing apparently figures more prominently in the lives of many Canadians. Always be prepared to be turned away.

But I do recall back in the 9 11 day this false rumor that the bombers came through the border from Canada. Of course that was shown to be wrong but the obvious conclusion one quickly comes to is, lets see whos officials do you answer to when crossing the border southbound

Meh...not a big deal to the Americans, who did have fresh experience with the Millennium Bomber (Ahmed Ressam) crossing from the Canadian side. The circumstances of this case pre-date 9/11, and at least one member here has shared border crossing adventures and/or deportation by border agents before 9/11 as well.

It's not a game wherein Canadians or Americans can or should hope to fool border agents or escape detection. Maybe it's more important/intense for those who have to cross very often....not my desire or experience. The "Hate America" crowd curiously still seek access to the U.S.

Edited by bush_cheney2004
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As well you should, as this border crossing thing apparently figures more prominently in the lives of many Canadians. Always be prepared to be turned away.

Meh...not a big deal to the Americans, who did have fresh experience with the Millennium Bomber (Ahmed Ressam) crossing from the Canadian side. The circumstances of this case pre-date 9/11, and at least one member here has shared border crossing adventures and/or deportation by border agents before 9/11 as well.

It's not a game wherein Canadians or Americans can or should hope to fool border agents or escape detection. Maybe it's more important/intense for those who have to cross very often....not my desire or experience. The "Hate America" crowd curiously still seek access to the U.S.

I certainly dont hate America. However the truth about 9 11 is the pilots who did the dastardly deed got most of their training in the US and came direct there from Saudi. I dont recall any war being declared on that oil rich nation.

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I certainly dont hate America. However the truth about 9 11 is the pilots who did the dastardly deed got most of their training in the US and came direct there from Saudi. I dont recall any war being declared on that oil rich nation.

War wasn't declared against bitumen rich Canada either. So what ? The border is what it is, but one of the reader comments to the CBC story above relates a "sad" reality (at least for some Canadians) of being denied many affordable worldly experiences or employment if one cannot cross the U.S. border, as if it is an ever present barrier to a richer life in warmer climes. Most Americans don't have that kind of ever present sense of a barrier..a fence...a wall to be crossed for better or different anything. I suppose illegal aliens do, but that is different from this ying-yang hatred but desire to cross the border...again...and again.

Edited by bush_cheney2004
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Being hospitalized for clinical depression just a year ago is definitely a red flag.

What is the risk? Can you quantify/qualify it at all?

And the other question is, why is the gov sharing this information with US officials? That seems to violate some patient doctor confidentiality thing does it not? How is this legal or ethical at all?

I could understand if she was a violent offender, but as far as I can tell she has no criminal record. I know the US can refuse for any reason they think of, but this is just asinine.

Edited by GostHacked
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Being hospitalized for clinical depression just a year ago is definitely a red flag.

Yes, one would think so. Her complaint mostly revolves around how such information was made available to border agents. But wouldn't she have to disclose it anyway if asked by agents about mental illness ? Or is that protected ?

A quick Google search would have revealed her suicide attempt and other mental illness treatments prior to the 2012 hospitalization, information she posted online voluntarily.

Edited by bush_cheney2004
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What is the risk? Can you quantify/qualify it at all?

And the other question is, why is the gov sharing this information with US officials? That seems to violate some patient doctor confidentiality thing does it not? How is this legal or ethical at all?

I could understand if she was a violent offender, but as far as I can tell she has no criminal record. I know the US can refuse for any reason they think of, but this is just asinine.

A higher risk to harm herself or others.
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  • 4 weeks later...

She will lose in court, as crossing an international border to make a flight in another country is never a sure thing. She should have spent far less on trip insurance than on a weak lawsuit.

This is between us and our cops, whose transmission of their medical? 'notes' can be challenged, and I hope will be.

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