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Canadian Immigration Officers On Powertrips  
User currently offlineRunway23 From US Minor Outlying Islands, joined Jan 2005, 2192 posts, RR: 35
Posted (6 years 6 months 1 week 2 days 3 hours ago) and read 3733 times:

So it appears, that in my mind Ottawa has the worst Canadian immigration officers. I have gone through 5 times in the past 6 months and been put three times in secondary. Have gone through Montreal 3 times without any problems (although I do know somebody who got deported from there).

It seems that everytime I end up resisting too much to the questions they ask as I believe they infringe my privacy. Note that I don't have anything against them going through my suitcase, and as much as I hate it they do go through my laptop in the hope that in the two weeks since they checked it some child porn has made its way on my pc.

Here is a dialogue from yesterday:

Me -Hello madam. It is a pleasure to see I am in secondary once again in Ottawa.
Customs Lady - Oh yes? Only Ottawa? well we are a small airport so we can go through a lot more people. Besides when you travel to the US, UK/Europe, etc... they will have also gone through your laptop and belongings. We do our job here, and do not sit in the back room drinking coffee all day like other countries.
Me - Actually, I only go through this type of stuff in Ottawa. US Immigration treat me with respect and do not ask me more than two questions. As for Europe, I european country even when having lived there for 15 years. So please, your rights extend to Canadian law and not to what other countries should or do not do, as far as I am concerned they are a lot friendlier.
Customs Lady - Let's see your laptop. How many pictures do you have on it? What folder do you keep them in?
Me - Look at the pictures folder. However, I have pretty much 15k photos, however feel free to go through every single picture.
Her - (She doesn't go into my folder I tell her and sticks with Mypictures which has 20 pictures at most). Sir, (do you [gets lost]) have any child pornography on your PC?
Me - Do I look like I have that type of crap on my PC? I really don't appreciate those allegations.
Her - What do I know, law abiding citizens and criminals don't have signs on their foreheads.
Her - Oh uh let's see where are you coming from.
Me - I go on to tell her what I did in the past week before getting there.
Her - That is suspicious, how do you pay your travel as a student? Students do not have any money.
Me - To be honest, I don't believe that is any of your business. I will let you go through my baggage and computer as the law provides you to do so and help you in protecting the nations borders.
Her - I am treating you with respect and I expect you to do so in return. I don't tell you what you can and cannot do in your job.
Me - I thought you said I am not allowed to fly as I am a student. I really believe that you profiling me is quite insulting.
Her - Profiling is if you are of a certain race or gender. I am simply doing my job.
Me - That is not the traditional definition of profiling. However, I will am not trying to debate this with you as I appreciate you have other people to look after (nobody else was there).
Her - Ok have a nice day sir.
Me - thank you and see you next week again.

I don't believe I treated her unfairly and certainly didn't impede her in her job. And to be honest, the previous time I went through another person was on a table next to me and got treated with no respect at all. For example, arriving at 11PM (-20C outside) the other gentleman wanted to call his wife to let her know he was in secondary. 3 immigration officers started to scream at him and one even took out a gun to threaten him to end his (30 second call). After that, all officers were screaming at him for not following their instructions.

One of the main differences I see with Canada and the US is that most immigration officers here are in their early 20's/30's and believe that they have been given a God-like power to treat anyone the way they want to. The US officers tend to me more aged (and likely to be more experienced) and that really shows. I find them a lot more open and willing to listen than the Canadians who don't listen to your story.

Anybody have any similar experiences?

59 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineLOT767-300ER From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 1, posted (6 years 6 months 1 week 2 days 3 hours ago) and read 3725 times:

Ive never heard of/or personally have been through any kind of immigration that lasted for maybe more than 1 minute. Ive certainly never had anyone boot my laptop and check what I have on it...I didnt even know they can/do do that?

Strange...


User currently offlineNewark777 From United States of America, joined Dec 2004, 9348 posts, RR: 30
Reply 2, posted (6 years 6 months 1 week 2 days 3 hours ago) and read 3721 times:

I've heard of other stories like this with our frigid neighbors up north.

http://blog.wired.com/sex/2007/03/airport_securit.html



Why grab a Heine when you can grab a Busch?
User currently offlineCsavel From United States of America, joined Jan 2001, 1362 posts, RR: 4
Reply 3, posted (6 years 6 months 1 week 2 days 3 hours ago) and read 3722 times:

The US officers tend to me more aged (and likely to be more experienced) and that really shows. I find them a lot more open and willing to listen than the Canadians who don't listen to your story.

Depends on the place. Customs and immigration in every country have almost God-like power and they can have a chip on their shoulder. The US, especially after 9-11 has an especially infamous, um, "Soviet" reputation. Because I am a US-ian, I have been lucky at airports and have only been treated with respect and a nod, *but* land borders (my wife used to live in Burlington, VT) are another story. I don't know if they truck up the meanest ones on the Mexican border to frigid VT as punishment, but I've had two encounters that was right out of "In the heat of the night." One was *before* 9-11. So the fact that Ottawa isn't YYZ, YVR,or even YUL might mean they get either the ones who have an attitude and therefore cause a lot of complaints at busy airports or are being broken in.

My 2 cents.



I may be ugly. I may be an American. But don't call me an ugly American.
User currently offlineRunway23 From US Minor Outlying Islands, joined Jan 2005, 2192 posts, RR: 35
Reply 4, posted (6 years 6 months 1 week 2 days 2 hours ago) and read 3718 times:



Quoting LOT767-300ER (Reply 1):
Ive never heard of/or personally have been through any kind of immigration that lasted for maybe more than 1 minute. Ive certainly never had anyone boot my laptop and check what I have on it...I didnt even know they can/do do that?

Canadian customs put quite a few people through secondary. Generally around 5-10% based on my personal experience. It can be quite higher in Ottawa though as it is a small airport.

Unfortunately, the Canadian government are allowed to ask you to open up your laptop (and they do everytime I go there). In fact, she just checked my laptop and none of my bags (kind of surprising I found).

I believe the Australians do the same (i think there was a case with an MH pilot being caught there) and that the US CBP were starting to do the same although the US law remains fuzzy in their rights to do so.

As far as I am concerned, all of this really brings too much power in the hands of an immigration officer who can look through your pc, ask you questions which may or may not be appropriate and treat people the way they feel like.

I'm actually considering writing in to CBSA/ASFC and complaining about the treatment I receive. My only worry is if I do so I will probably be black listed forever and definately through secondary every single time I go through the Canadian border.


User currently offlineZBBYLW From Canada, joined Nov 2006, 1984 posts, RR: 6
Reply 5, posted (6 years 6 months 1 week 2 days 2 hours ago) and read 3701 times:

Never cleared customs in YOW. However I always find YVR border guards to be very difficult and also find it very difficult to understand how a student can afford to travel as much as I do (as seen by passport stamps). When I was clearing customs in YHZ once I had a bit of an issue, was sent to secondary and they did a swab test on my stuff. Turned up positive with drugs. They questioned me pretty intensely from then on out, I guess because the way I was dressed (non-rev) the expensive stuff I had on me (including my Trumpet) my bags etc.... 10 minutes later they did a re-swab and it came back negative and said sorry for keeping me, I was free to go.


Keep the shinny side up!
User currently offlineNeilYYZ From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 6, posted (6 years 6 months 1 week 2 days 2 hours ago) and read 3680 times:



Quoting Newark777 (Reply 2):
I've heard of other stories like this with our frigid neighbors up north.

We're envious of you guys packing heat. Seriously, I lived with a Canadian Custom's Agent who worked at the Ambassador Bridge (between Windsor and Detroit) on the Canadian side obviously and she thought she was Rambo in disguise. A nice enough girl in the end, I understand they have a hard job, but some of them are quite the pain in the arse. I've had more problems with Canadian border agent's, whose country I am a citizen of than American ones.


User currently offlineMisbeehavin From United States of America, joined Mar 2005, 914 posts, RR: 3
Reply 7, posted (6 years 6 months 1 week 2 days 1 hour ago) and read 3661 times:

Of all countries I've been to, Canadian immigration has got to be the worst when it comes to reasons why you're visiting the country. Most of all when you state you're there for work - and they immediately rattle of a list of questions, because they're seemingly afraid that foreigners are going to steal work away from Canadians. I mean I'm making a day trip, to talk to a client. What damage could I possibly be doing?

A long time ago, out travel department sent out a notice instructing everyone travelling to Canada on business to state simply that we were there for a "meeting" as opposed to "work".

I love the country and the people - but can the immigration officials loosen up a bit, please?


User currently offlinePanHAM From Germany, joined May 2005, 9334 posts, RR: 29
Reply 8, posted (6 years 6 months 1 week 2 days 1 hour ago) and read 3661 times:

Canada is one of my favorite countries, but indeed the only two problems I had with immigratikon officers were in Canada.

The first one was at YMX in the seventies. The officer insisted on adressing me in French. I said, je ne parle Francais, speak English please, but he kept on asking his questions in French. That funny game went along until I told him - in English - that from now on I waill speak German only. He then called his supervisor and the matter was finished in one minute.

The other occasion was when I drove from Seattle to Vancouver. Long before they catched that terrorist there, in the late 80s, but they Canadians really tore me apart. Funny thing, the very friendly US officer warned me before of his Canadian collegues.



E's passed on! That parrot is no more! He has ceased to be! E's expired and gone to meet 'is maker!
User currently offlineScrubbsYWG From Canada, joined Mar 2007, 1495 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (6 years 6 months 1 week 2 days 1 hour ago) and read 3651 times:

i've never had a problem coming back to canada.

and what point is there in being a smartass to the customs/immigration officials?

Fact of the matter is you never hear about the times when you breeze through with barely a whisper. I mean, just look at the immigration hall in YYZ. there are like 20+ kiosks, and i can't honestly remember seeing people get taken away for secondary. I'm sure there was, but the vast vast majority walked right downstairs to baggage claim.


User currently offlineUTA_flyinghigh From Tunisia, joined Oct 2001, 6495 posts, RR: 50
Reply 10, posted (6 years 6 months 1 week 2 days ago) and read 3638 times:

My laptop shall be running Linux when I come to see you this WE. We'll have fun when they attempt to find the search function  Smile

UTA  checkeredflag 



Fly to live, live to fly - Air France/KLM Flying Blue Platinum, BMI Diamond Club Gold, Emirates Skywards
User currently offlineSwiftski From Australia, joined Dec 2006, 2701 posts, RR: 2
Reply 11, posted (6 years 6 months 1 week 2 days ago) and read 3631 times:



Quoting Runway23 (Thread starter):
I don't believe I treated her unfairly

If your transcript is accurate, then I believe you indeed did treat her unfairly.

Quoting Runway23 (Thread starter):
certainly didn't impede her in her job

Again, I disagree. I have been to Canada only once and I was asked a couple of previously unasked questions however you need to remember that when you go through the border, Canadian citizen or "alien" the officials boss, bosses boss, bosses bosses boss, etc (potentially all the way up to the top) has the right to ask them "So what was going on with that guy? Where has he come from? What is he doing here?". If he/she hasn't asked the questions, how can he/she possibly be doing his/her job properly?

Quoting Runway23 (Thread starter):
And to be honest, the previous time I went through another person was on a table next to me and got treated with no respect at all. For example, arriving at 11PM (-20C outside) the other gentleman wanted to call his wife to let her know he was in secondary. 3 immigration officers started to scream at him and one even took out a gun to threaten him to end his (30 second call). After that, all officers were screaming at him for not following their instructions.

Again, you seem to be missing the point. Rules are rules. If you are not allowed to make calls through security (generally, you aren't) then you don't make calls. If you break the rule you can expect to be reprimanded.

Quoting ScrubbsYWG (Reply 9):
and what point is there in being a smartass to the customs/immigration officials?

I'm getting the same vibe; so ditto to your comment.


A couple of personal examples; I checked in at SYD yesterday and was in the Upper Class line (Flying Club Gold). I travelled however in Economy. How frustrated was I when the employee spoke down to me and said I "Had no right to wait in the UC line whilst other economy passengers waited in their longer line". I wanted to tell her how long it had taken me to earn FC Gold and how loyal I was to the airline; how she was out of line, etc. Easier, and more appropriate however was to say what I did, i.e. "Sorry; should've shown you this" [showed card]. This was followed by a genuine looking apology and a bit of a red face. My angry comments would however have done no favors. Sure, she could have asked me if I was FC Gold, or asked if I knew I was in the UC line, or even looked at my booking on screen a bit closer, to see my status.

I was stopped by police a couple of weeks ago in London, on Regent Street at midnight-ish. I had been walking, alone. They said "we have a suspect matching your description - can you explain where you have been?". This annoyed me, as I am medium build, average looks and average height. A vague description indeed. Nevertheless, far easier than making this point was to show an ID, explain my nights activities, and proceed on home in peace.

As annoying as it is, they are not out to get you. They are out to get the bad guys. I have a very short fuse and can promise you I get as aggravated by things as anyone, but there's aggravation, and justified aggravation, and from what you have written, you have the former, this time around.


User currently offlineRunway23 From US Minor Outlying Islands, joined Jan 2005, 2192 posts, RR: 35
Reply 12, posted (6 years 6 months 1 week 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 3614 times:



Quoting ScrubbsYWG (Reply 9):
Fact of the matter is you never hear about the times when you breeze through with barely a whisper. I mean, just look at the immigration hall in YYZ. there are like 20+ kiosks, and i can't honestly remember seeing people get taken away for secondary. I'm sure there was, but the vast vast majority walked right downstairs to baggage claim.

I don't know how YYZ works. But i suppose it is similar to YOW.

I'm not talking about secondary immigration, I'm a Canadian citizen therefore nothing to do with going into a room like that for an interview.

What I am however addressing is after having picked up baggage being sent through to have a supplemental baggage check (or secondary). I'd be surprised nobody in YYZ gets put through it as everyone I know who lives in my building who i have talked about this type of stuff to have been through secondary at one point or another.

Quoting ScrubbsYWG (Reply 9):
and what point is there in being a smartass to the customs/immigration officials?

I was not being a smart ass. There is a fine line between what an officer needs to know and what is my own personal business. I have a right to some degree of privacy whilst they have a right to search my baggage. They don't have the right to pass on judgements whether or not I should be traveling or being able to afford a trip. She snapped at me (re child pornography) and I did the same back when she told me "no student has money or time to travel". It happens that I had both just like 25k other students in the city had a week off. The flights were full with students coming back from spring break, so I'd assume some do have money.

Note that I would have been inclined to answer her questions if she had had a tone which was more friendly and not a downright bitch saying what was right/wrong according to her (not the country).


User currently offlineMattRB From Canada, joined Apr 2005, 1624 posts, RR: 9
Reply 13, posted (6 years 6 months 1 week 1 day 21 hours ago) and read 3598 times:



Quoting Runway23 (Reply 12):
I was not being a smart ass.



Quoting Runway23 (Thread starter):
Hello madam. It is a pleasure to see I am in secondary once again in Ottawa.

Try again.

You were. If your transcript is accurate, you were incredibly confrontational during the whole deal and treated the agent with contempt.



Aviation is proof that given, the will, we have the capacity to achieve the impossible.
User currently offlineScrubbsYWG From Canada, joined Mar 2007, 1495 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (6 years 6 months 1 week 1 day 21 hours ago) and read 3585 times:

so you get pulled aside after you give the customs people your little card thing that immigration writes on?

How do you act towards the immigration official? how much stuff do you declare? do you bring booze/cigarettes across? etc etc.?

Sorry, but the vibe you put out is just one of being an asshole, and chances are that is why you get your secondary screening. I have never had that happen to me in when entering Canada. If you follow your transcript, you do put out an accusatory tone.

Quote:
Her - (She doesn't go into my folder I tell her and sticks with Mypictures which has 20 pictures at most). Sir, (do you [gets lost]) have any child pornography on your PC?
Me - Do I look like I have that type of crap on my PC? I really don't appreciate those allegations.

Here she asks a question, and you apparently think she is alleging you have child porn. Do you see how you change the tone of the conversation from a simple question and answer and you become defensive? Why can't she ask a question like that? All you have to do is answer 'no'. What is the difference between a customs official asking 'is there child porn on this computer' and a cop asking you 'are there any drugs in this car?' Sure, the child porn one is direct, but its blunt and to the point. and if they find some on there they have you for lying as well.

You also did this again later :

Quote:
I thought you said I am not allowed to fly as I am a student. I really believe that you profiling me is quite insulting.

She ASKS you how you afford travel as a student. YOU turn this around and somehow think she means 'i am not allowed to fly as i am a student.' Why couldn't you just answer 'i work hard, and its reading week, so i saved up for a trip'.

Also, since you go on about profiling... in the above exchange, you say 'Do I look like I have that type of crap on my PC?' and then you go on to talk about how they ARE profiling you about being a broke student. So do you want them to profile you and know you aren't a pedophile, but also be super politically correct to not wonder how you have the means to travel?

I'm sorry, but your whole 'conversation' above sounds incredibly like you were being a smartass. But, your fate was sealed before you opened your mouth as they pulled you aside anyways, which has to do with what immigration writes on your declaration card. Are you a nervous person? Maybe you put out a vibe that causes them to be suspicious of you? Did you ever do something that would cause them to flag you? Believe it or not, there are young adults out there that try and make money by smuggling drugs into this country. Secondary baggage screening is just one way to try and stop the flow.


User currently offlineDon81603 From Canada, joined Jul 2005, 1185 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (6 years 6 months 1 week 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 3562 times:



Quoting LOT767-300ER (Reply 1):
I didnt even know they can/do do that?

A customs/immigration office can inspect anything you bring across the border. If they so desire, they can disassemble your laptop, and any other mechanical or electronic device to a pile of parts for any reason whatsoever. And contrary to popular belief, they are NOT obligated to reassemble it, either. Considering some of your comments (if true), I'm amazed you weren't hauled off and subjected to a body cavity search

Quoting Runway23 (Thread starter):
Her - (She doesn't go into my folder I tell her and sticks with Mypictures which has 20 pictures at most). Sir, (do you [gets lost]) have any child pornography on your PC?
Me - Do I look like I have that type of crap on my PC? I really don't appreciate those allegations.

Another wise guy comment that could easily have gotten you strip searched. Whether you appreciate the comments or not, she is just doing her job. From your statements in the allegded exchange, you sound like a smart assed teenager with a chip on his shoulder.
Her - What do I know, law abiding citizens and criminals don't have signs on their foreheads.

She's spot on here. Many people who have been caught with their pants down, so to speak have been those we assumed were fairly normal, including celebrities, law enforcement officers, pilots, and countless others. So the chances of Joe Blow from I don't know aren't outside the realm of possibility.

Quoting Runway23 (Reply 12):
I was not being a smart ass. There is a fine line between what an officer needs to know and what is my own personal business.

At Customs and Immigration checkpoints, you have VERY limited rights. They can refuse you entry for any reason under the sun I personally know people who have been refused for absolutely no understandable reason. This person had a spotless criminal record, and all documentation required for the trip. USCBP just didn't like the colour of his hair, I guess. And during an inspection, rights you have under any countries consitution are iffy at best. I don't have the specifics on hand at the moment, but I'll try and dig them up today, there was a truck driver at (I think) the Fort Erie crossing who was denied use of a washroom while undergoing questioning and cargo vehicle inspection. I believe his lawsuit against Canada Customs was dismissed, even though he did end up wetting himself. Bottom line is, while standing at immigration awaiting entry, you are naked in regards to your rights. Customs and Immigration is the one place where you are legally considered guilty until proven innocent.



Eagles may soar, but weasels don't get sucked into jet engines.
User currently offlineAC888YOW From Canada, joined Jan 2005, 531 posts, RR: 1
Reply 16, posted (6 years 6 months 1 week 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 3547 times:



Quoting Runway23 (Thread starter):
So it appears, that in my mind Ottawa has the worst Canadian immigration officers.

There is probably some truth to the fact that on the whole the airport is quieter and thus they can check more people. However, I am a local who has been through Ottawa customs dozens of times and not once have I had any issue or been put into secondary. Not once.

Quoting Runway23 (Thread starter):
It seems that everytime I end up resisting too much to the questions they ask as I believe they infringe my privacy.

And there I suspect lies the problem. "Resisting too much" = acting like a smartass = secondary line. You deserve it.

In the future be polite, answer the questions they ask, and then watch with amazement as you walk on through without any trouble.


User currently offlineFiatstilojtd From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 17, posted (6 years 6 months 1 week 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 3530 times:



Quoting Swiftski (Reply 11):
I have a very short fuse

Thats probably why you work with/for Apple Big grin.

Maybe the customs/immigration officers are reading/lurking in here and are pissed of by all the rhaaing comments from the Rhaat aka Runway23.  Wink

Personally I have been through many customs/immigration borders worldwide. I always treat(ed) them with respect even when they pissed me off like the one TSA Guy in BOS back in Oct. 2002. I think I could have only made the situation worse, miss my connection flight to ATL etc.


User currently offlineACFA From Canada, joined Feb 2007, 261 posts, RR: 0
Reply 18, posted (6 years 6 months 1 week 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 3511 times:



Quoting Runway23 (Thread starter):
Her - That is suspicious, how do you pay your travel as a student? Students do not have any money.

I once went to a Canada Customs office in my FA uniform to register a laptop I was bringing on my trip. The Customs officer asked me "How can you afford a laptop like that on your salary?". I said nothing.  sarcastic 


User currently offlineAirCop From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 19, posted (6 years 6 months 1 week 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 3500 times:



Quoting ScrubbsYWG (Reply 9):
and what point is there in being a smartass to the customs/immigration officials?

Considering how you behaved, I think you're lucky that you're still not in customs, will that attitude you're just asking for them to tear everything apart, give you a strip search,etc. I've read on this bulletin board that customs in PDX coming from Asia can be a bear also.

Quoting Runway23 (Thread starter):
Her - (She doesn't go into my folder I tell her and sticks with Mypictures which has 20 pictures at most). Sir, (do you [gets lost]) have any child pornography on your PC?
Me - Do I look like I have that type of crap on my PC?

Could you tell me what a person would look like if they have child pornography on their computer? Is it tattoo on their forehead?


User currently offlineRonglimeng From Canada, joined Oct 2006, 625 posts, RR: 0
Reply 20, posted (6 years 6 months 1 week 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 3473 times:

Brothers and sisters:

My text this morning comes from the Scottish poet, Robert Burns.

"O wad some Power the giftie gie us
To see oursels as ithers see us!
It wad frae monie a blunder free us"


User currently offlineLOT767-300ER From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 21, posted (6 years 6 months 1 week 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 3471 times:



Quoting Don81603 (Reply 15):
A customs/immigration office can inspect anything you bring across the border. If they so desire, they can disassemble your laptop, and any other mechanical or electronic device to a pile of parts for any reason whatsoever. And contrary to popular belief, they are NOT obligated to reassemble it, either. Considering some of your comments (if true), I'm amazed you weren't hauled off and subjected to a body cavity search

Sorry but what comments are you talking about? I didnt say squat.


User currently offlineLH423 From Canada, joined Jul 1999, 6501 posts, RR: 54
Reply 22, posted (6 years 6 months 1 week 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 3460 times:

I, personally, have never had any problems on my countless trips through YOW. I've discovered the best of both worlds is to be a US citizen and a resident of Canada. Whether I'm passing through to the US or Canada, I usually get one question "How long will you be/were you in Canada?" When I explain that I'm a student, I get asked if I have any tobacco or alcohol. When I say no, I'm on my way. I don't think I've spent more than 25 seconds in an immigration booth for the US or Canada in YOW, YYZ or YUL.

I did have a friend visiting Ottawa once get asked if he had child porn on his computer. He said that was the first time that had ever happened to him and he's travelled to close to more than 50 countries.

That said, to the OP, some of your answers seemed unnecessarily confrontational. I'm not going to pass judgement because I wasn't there and I don't know what the officer's tone was like. I do know that for whatever reason, Ottawa is sort of a start-out point for CBSA agents. They're all young and thorough because that's what they were trained for. Older officers had different training and, over the years, have learnt how to better look out for suspicious people.

That said, while there are limits to how abusive the agent can be in his/her questioning you usually do yourself no favours by giving back attitude. Remember, they're the ones with the power. They're the ones who can flag you every time you enter Canada if they so choose.

LH423



« On ne voit bien qu'avec le cœur. L'essentiel est invisible pour les yeux » Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
User currently offlineLOT767-300ER From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 23, posted (6 years 6 months 1 week 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 3443 times:

Couple times in ORD coming back from Poland the Immigration officer was confessing to me how much he missed his grandmas Pierogis hehe.

User currently offlineArrow From Canada, joined Jun 2002, 2676 posts, RR: 2
Reply 24, posted (6 years 6 months 1 week 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 3439 times:
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Quoting Runway23 (Thread starter):
Customs Lady - Let's see your laptop. How many pictures do you have on it? What folder do you keep them in?
Me - Look at the pictures folder. However, I have pretty much 15k photos, however feel free to go through every single picture.
Her - (She doesn't go into my folder I tell her and sticks with Mypictures which has 20 pictures at most). Sir, (do you [gets lost]) have any child pornography on your PC?
Me - Do I look like I have that type of crap on my PC? I really don't appreciate those allegations.
Her - What do I know, law abiding citizens and criminals don't have signs on their foreheads.
Her - Oh uh let's see where are you coming from.
Me - I go on to tell her what I did in the past week before getting there.
Her - That is suspicious, how do you pay your travel as a student? Students do not have any money.
Me - To be honest, I don't believe that is any of your business. I will let you go through my baggage and computer as the law provides you to do so and help you in protecting the nations borders.

If that's an accurate transcript, I'd say you are lucky they didn't detain you longer. If you are going to be a smartass, you are going to get hassled. They have no way of knowing -- just by looking you over -- that you are an innocent traveller. I'm guessing that they eventually decided you were just a smartass, and concluded that a real crook probably wouldn't act like a smartass.

My modus operandi when going through customs in any country is to be as polite and cooperative as possible, regardless of how invasive the questioning might be. They all have tremendous power and they will use it if they are suspicious of you in any way. They can cause you some real grief, and hold you in detention for a long time before finally letting you go. And that's true of ALL customs agents -- not just Canadians.



Never let the facts get in the way of a good story.
25 Post contains images Alberchico : One rule about talking to cops or immigration officials is to always be polite and just answer the questions that are asked of you, not give smartass
26 PacNWjet : One of my colleagues was at one time a Canadian immigrations officer. This was quite awhile ago, probably twenty years, long before 9-11. Indeed, he t
27 Post contains images Slider : Yes he did, and that's what snowballed the conversation....I'm surprised they didn't give you more crap the way you acted. The perception was that of
28 Post contains images Don81603 : My appologizes, I was refering to Runway23's comments.
29 SKYSERVICE_330 : I have never had any over the top troubles with Canadian immigration officials. Everytime I have had to deal with them they have either been pleasant
30 ACDC8 : I agree with most of the responses in this thread, best thing to do is just answer the questions and be on your merry way. However, this one ... ... g
31 IFEMaster : Starting a conversation with... ...is likely to be the catalyst for any "tone" you receive in reply. When dealing with customs and immigration, you'd
32 N1120A : In my experience, Canadian customs/immigration agents have been the most difficult to deal with. Well, that is other than the time I was blatantly rac
33 Post contains images YOWza : The only time I ever got a secondary screening by Canadian customs was in Ottawa. That said I don't think it was worth chirping at her. Nothing you s
34 Post contains images AF340 : The only time I've been taken aside for Secondary screening was at YYZ by US Immigration. They were very straight and to the point. No conversations o
35 CanadianNorth : I've been through YVR customs several times, and I have to say each time it was basically a case of hand in the sheet, show the passport, answer a fe
36 Post contains images YVRLTN : Im on a work permit, so I always get a ton of questions. But I have nothing to hide, so theres no harm in an honest answer, thats all they are lookin
37 BHMBAGLOCK : This is the only place I've ever had trouble with immigration. That's how it started. The 6 hours or so it took for them to arrange a temporary work
38 Don81603 : No, you have no more rights in your home country than tourists do. When you are standing at customs, be it in your own country, or any other country,
39 Post contains images UTA_flyinghigh : I never had a problem with any Canadian/US/other Customs agency before and as I keep my big mouth shut at Customs (however hard this can be) I don't t
40 Runway23 : A country cannot refuse entry to its own citizens. Therefore you do have legally more rights in terms of immigration. In terms of customs, the rights
41 JoshSixtySeven : I've been through YYZ customs many times, it always seems to be worse walking from the aircraft to the desk where you know what's coming. It never get
42 Runway23 : Absolutely. And even then, the UK does check a lot more than other countries. Yet I find the system is effective and have never received anything but
43 IFEMaster : That's not strictly true. It may be true for passport control (although I had a lengthy Q&A session one time after flying to the States and back 4 ti
44 Don81603 : I never said they could, but until you have cleared customs, you have no more rights than a tourist. Even if you are a Canadian citizen but lack the
45 LH423 : Completely the opposite. Canadians are going across the border in DROVES to cash in on the deals to be had in the US. Consumer prices in the US have
46 ACDC8 : Agreed, and I would do the same. But, not that I am saying that it was in RWY23's case, the immigrations/customs personal also have to play fair too.
47 Seb146 : I have been to Canada many times. Well, okay.... just YVR, but still, I have had to go through boarder crossings. I get more attitude coming back into
48 Slider : Yeah, it's pretty laid back. Although the times I've been there the lines have been long due to other arrivals (mid evening). They are rather expedit
49 Ronglimeng : Hi Runway 23: I have been following your thread with interest for the last day or so. The consensus here seems to be that you didn't do yourself any f
50 Post contains images SBBRTech : Some 6 yrs ago I arrived at LHR coming from SOF. The officer asked me who I knew in the UK and what was the purpose of my visit - the usual stuff. I
51 AC888YOW : He brought us all there by transcribing the conversation. It should speak volumes to you, and much more importantly the OP, that pretty much everyone
52 Ronglimeng : Joke: How do you get 50 Canadians out of the pool? Ans: You just say "Okay fellows, everybody out of the pool!" Now maybe Runway 23 is a prima donna a
53 ReidYYZ : Well, that was your first mistake. Sorry to say, you started off with a tone that I'm sure she did not much appreciate. You were confrontational and
54 Post contains images JoshSixtySeven : Which is what I was trying to get across; anyone could potentially be stopped and checked, but there is some method to it, it's not everyone. I've be
55 Lobster : I've done both land and air crossing into and out of Canada. I've only been stopped once in Fort Frances going into Canada. I had a brand new vehicle
56 Post contains links LH423 : Exactly. Though, I thought there were more, this appears to be it and I would imagine the only reason there aren't proper border facilities is becaus
57 BristolFlyer : I haven't read all the other replies, but you were being arrogant and facetious with comments such as .... She made no allegations - she asked you a q
58 SkySurfer : I've been through secondary twice and the only problem i've ever had is some snotty little woman got all full of herself and shouted 'excuse me, STAND
59 KL642 : I went throught Canadian Immigration and Customs at YUL last October. I had about a 45 minute wait on line before it was my turn so I was watching the
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