Friday, February 24, 2017
#US has had strict entrance requirements before #Trump - #MuslimBan
I am not writing this to defend President Donald Trump for he does a pretty good job of defending himself.
As many flyers to the US know, entrance rules changed after 9/11.
Previously and under the Dems, Canadians had to show their citizenship card or if not a citizen, they had to show their passport with the Canadian visa or permanent visa (PR) certificate.
Before Trump became president, the system had changed.
You need to understand that when your flight is heading to the US (even before Trump), you have to be cleared by the Canadian airport authorities since we share a border it is Canada which must ensure that you can legally enter the US. I have flown into the US a lot for business and pleasure.
About 3yrs ago when I was flying to Los Angeles, the Moncton airport security checked me for the flight and I refused to take my watch off. I beeped and still refused to take it off. It is a medic alert. I was scanned for bomb material. My purse was opened onto the belt in front of everyone in line. This is a long story because it is a bit funny. Of course I had no bomb residue (are you crazy? I am even scared of a needle).
So in Toronto, going through the border check, I notice that they are making people stare into a machine to scan their iris. I use my phone to check if my eyes looked okay and get all ready and then it is my turn. I am all prepared to have them scan my beautiful eyes. OMG
The officer looks at me half grinning. "Madame Martha, we only scan the eyes of people from certain countries". But I had been snooping at others and they had Canadian passports or passports from other countries with Canadian permanent visas.
After the shock of my not having my eyes scanned, I asked myself why they were scanning only people from different places. I was late for my meeting in LAX anyway so it was none of my bizwaks.
I flew to Los Angeles (specifically Long Beach California) and flew back with no incident.
We are making a very big mistake to think that the immigration checks just started with Trump. Could someone who knows the US Immigration law explain to us why some irises were being scanned way before Trump.
Canadians also cross into the US via road. I used to go to the Boston Seafood show a lot and always drove since it is easier to drive from Moncton and cheaper. Every border crossing at the St. Stephen Bridge, I would be asked for my passport and the passport of my business partner and get waved ahead. One time the agent asked me to provide my driver's license. This was really different from the previous times.
I gave it to him anyway. Turns out that my passport had me with braids and this time I was crossing with a full hair cut (boy cut) but he only wanted to confirm that it was me. He did not ask about where I was born or anything like that. When he looked at my driver's license, he half laughed. I looked like a boy, same face he was seeing behind the wheel but the passport had long braids. Please do not assume that everyone is after you. They might not be. The targeting of people of colour is still hurting.
Martha Leah Nangalama
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