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Old Jul 31, 10, 9:19 pm   #1
 
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Unhappy Canadian Girlfriend got seriously hassled before entering US this time

I'm in love with a Canadian girl and until we figure out who is moving where, we're traveling back and forth to see each other. She's been coming to see me for a a week or two at a time. This time she came for 28 days.

This time customs pulled her into their office and started grilling her about what she was doing in the US, how she could stay so long, insinuating she was going to work in the US, telling her next time they may not let her come in at all, or they may follow her, or that they may demand bank statements to prove she can afford to be here. She was being totally honest with them, that she wasn't working here, that she had savings and made plenty of money while in Canada, and that I was often paying for the tickets. And apparently they also gave her a hard time about being honest that purpose of her trip was to see her boyfriend.

Does anyone have advice for us on how best to handle this situation? It's very stressful to think that the wrong move or wrong attitude could prevent her from entering the country.

I'd also be grateful for other sites that offer good advice on this matter. I'm also looking for good community sites on her eventually moving her, or me moving there. And of course, let me know if this was the wrong forum to post. Thanks!
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Old Jul 31, 10, 9:39 pm   #2
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Since your gf has disclosed the relationship, I fear she will at best get a hassle moving forward. You should get legal advice.
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Old Jul 31, 10, 9:43 pm   #3
 
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Unfortunately, the US immigration control is set up in such a way to determine the admissibility of an alien through extensive questionings at the POE and sometimes interrogations at the secondary inspection. Your girlfriend would not have this problem entering the Shenghen area and most other countries that Canadians can visit without a visa.

This recent interrogation was probably summarised in her CBP file, so the next time she will have hard time entering the USA for purposes other than seeing you because the CBP simply may not believe her. By definition, an alien seeking admission to the USA is considered a potential immigrant unless he/she can prove otherwise - regardless if he/she needs visa or not. Unless this system is changed, these kind of situations will continue to happen.
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Old Jul 31, 10, 9:56 pm   #4
 
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@mre so it was bad that she admitted she has a boyfriend here?

@König we have no problem with her saying she's coming to see me every time, if that's all it takes.

I always just say "visiting friends" when I go. I instinctively know to give these guys short, simple answers and while I had already heard about CBP's reputation for being hardasses it didn't occur to me to get advice on how she should answer questions coming in. We just figured it was as simple as obeying rules and laws!
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Old Jul 31, 10, 10:39 pm   #5
 
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Old Aug 1, 10, 4:05 am   #6
 
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It sounds to me as if your thread has already has answered the question of who should move where. There is no mention of your being similarly treated as your girlfriend when you enter Canada. In my opinion the situation at US airports has only gotten worse in time, and may very well continue to do so.

Two thoughts to consider.
1) It is becoming increasingly rare in the States for people to be honest, and probably immigration didn't know what to do with information. She will have to live with these indiscretions for the rest of her life.

2) Under no circumstances attempt to use Arizona as her entry point into the US.
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Old Aug 1, 10, 5:09 am   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AtariBaby View Post
@mre so it was bad that she admitted she has a boyfriend here?
Not from my perspective, but then again I've been in the same situation as your gf (in my case, a Canadian who had an American gf) so I am biased in your favor.

From the perspective of U.S. immigration, something which I learned the hard way, if they are aware of a romantic relationship, they will want to be certain that your gf does not intend to marry you on that trip, and then apply for permanent residency on the basis of the marriage. This is called "intended immigration" ... when someone enters the U.S. claiming to be a visitor but in fact intends to immigrate, even legally, that is a no no (and can delay or prevent your wife from immigrating to the U.S.). Instead, that someone is expected to obtain a fiance visa. In a sense, the CBP officer is doing your gf a favor. If you two decide to get married and intend to live in the U.S. consult a lawyer before you present her with an engagement ring or disclose an engagement to any one.

Since she did not intend to marry you on that trip, then she did herself no favor by disclosing the relationship. OTOH, coming for 28 days with an itinerary limited to one locale that is presumably not vacation spot does raise eyebrows, so the facts of your relationship were going to come out. If she had a vacation cabin/condo/etc., then the CBP would not have batted an eye; they understand what snowbirds are, as long as they don't stay beyond the legal maximum (6 months for Canadian visitors?).

If this relationship is worth it to you, then you should see a U.S. immigration lawyer who can advise you and your gf about how she can enter the U.S. successfully and repeatably.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sailman View Post
It sounds to me as if your thread has already has answered the question of who should move where. There is no mention of your being similarly treated as your girlfriend when you enter Canada. In my opinion the situation at US airports has only gotten worse in time, and may very well continue to do so.
Canadian border services are no better than the CBP in this situation.
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Old Aug 1, 10, 5:15 am   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailman View Post
1) It is becoming increasingly rare in the States for people to be honest.
???
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Old Aug 1, 10, 5:28 am   #9
 
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This is not exclusive to US immigration. I know a guy who had a similar problem with a Filipino who continued to enter Hong Kong on a 14 day visa. After several trips, same thing - hauled into a room (with BF) and they disclosed their relationship. The customs officer informed the BF that it was time for him to get a new girl friend - nice... The problem as he stated it was that "yes, it is ok to visit - but we may be forced to enforce the policy (whatever that is) if you continue to visit "too much".. In another case - another business partner of mine had a Hong Kong wife - but even she could not visit the us on consecutive trips. Took him years to get her a legal status - years.... Sorry about that. Shouldn't be near as hard for a Canadian though eh?
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Old Aug 1, 10, 6:45 am   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mre5765 View Post
Since your gf has disclosed the relationship, I fear she will at best get a hassle moving forward. You should get legal advice.
Unless they get married, things are the way they are . . . unless you believe they should retain a lawyer to tell them how to lie to CBP. In other words, you get an immigration lawyer when you need to adjust status or possibly some other transaction involving USCIS, not when CBP is asking legitimate questions to aid them in their decision as to whether an applicant for admission has overcome the burden of dispelling the presumption of intent to immigrate.

Quote:
Originally Posted by König View Post
This recent interrogation was probably summarised in her CBP file, so the next time she will have hard time entering the USA for purposes other than seeing you because the CBP simply may not believe her. By definition, an alien seeking admission to the USA is considered a potential immigrant unless he/she can prove otherwise - regardless if he/she needs visa or not. Unless this system is changed, these kind of situations will continue to happen.
They are not just seen as a potential immigrant, but they are presumed to be an immigrant and the burden is on the applicant to dispell that notion.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sailman View Post
It sounds to me as if your thread has already has answered the question of who should move where. There is no mention of your being similarly treated as your girlfriend when you enter Canada. In my opinion the situation at US airports has only gotten worse in time, and may very well continue to do so.

Two thoughts to consider.
1) It is becoming increasingly rare in the States for people to be honest, and probably immigration didn't know what to do with information. She will have to live with these indiscretions for the rest of her life.

2) Under no circumstances attempt to use Arizona as her entry point into the US.
1) I don't know what you're talking about.

2) What does Arizona have to do with anything? Do you think CBP in Arizona analyzes INA 214(b) differently than other ports of entry?

Quote:
Originally Posted by BogusRogus View Post
In another case - another business partner of mine had a Hong Kong wife - but even she could not visit the us on consecutive trips. Took him years to get her a legal status - years.... Sorry about that.
That is abnormal-- it is usually much quicker than that for a marriage that USCIS doesn't question-- was there possibly a bump in the road with USCIS in that regard?
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Old Aug 1, 10, 7:51 am   #11
 
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Originally Posted by Ari View Post
2) What does Arizona have to do with anything? Do you think CBP in Arizona analyzes INA 214(b) differently than other ports of entry?
I've got to agree - it's not as if the GF is brown.
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Old Aug 1, 10, 8:07 am   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ari View Post
Unless they get married, things are the way they are . . . unless you believe they should retain a lawyer to tell them how to lie to CBP. In other words, you get an immigration lawyer when you need to adjust status or possibly some other transaction involving USCIS, not when CBP is asking legitimate questions to aid them in their decision as to whether an applicant for admission has overcome the burden of dispelling the presumption of intent to immigrate.
Emphasis mine.

An ethical lawyer would not advise them how to lie. Your accusation that I was advising retention of such a lawyer is an unfounded libel. One more such libel and you'll be plonked.

A lawyer might be able to provide advice for how to avoid difficulties in the future, and might be able to provide advice as to whether further attempts to cross the border will hinder her ability to obtain immigration or non-immigration status (e.g. a TN-1, an I-20, etc.).

An example piece of advice a lawyer might provide: the gf could apply for NEXUS. A lawyer could help OP's gf fill out the application for NEXUS, and might be able to provide advice whether applying to a Canadian equivalent of GOES instead of GOES would make more sense.

In general, when one is being hassled by law enforcement (and CBP is law enforcement) whether one is at fault or not, retaining a legal advice is not a bad idea.
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Old Aug 1, 10, 9:15 am   #13
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mre5765 View Post
An example piece of advice a lawyer might provide: the gf could apply for NEXUS. A lawyer could help OP's gf fill out the application for NEXUS, and might be able to provide advice whether applying to a Canadian equivalent of GOES instead of GOES would make more sense...
Unfortunately a NEXUS pass is not a silver bullet, as a Canadian nephew of mine learned in somewhat similar circumstances.

More recently, he and his now-wife experienced difficulties re-entering the U.S. at a smaller border crossing when an officer asserted that she couldn't possibly be a college student in the U.S. because she's a Canadian. That one at least was quickly cleared up inside, even semi-apologetically for a change.
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Old Aug 1, 10, 9:46 am   #14
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailman View Post
It sounds to me as if your thread has already has answered the question of who should move where. There is no mention of your being similarly treated as your girlfriend when you enter Canada. In my opinion the situation at US airports has only gotten worse in time, and may very well continue to do so.

Two thoughts to consider.
1) It is becoming increasingly rare in the States for people to be honest, and probably immigration didn't know what to do with information. She will have to live with these indiscretions for the rest of her life.

2) Under no circumstances attempt to use Arizona as her entry point into the US.

So, Americans are a bunch of LIARS????

Last edited by VonS; Aug 1, 10 at 9:47 am. Reason: spelling
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Old Aug 1, 10, 10:20 am   #15
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Originally Posted by sailman View Post
2) Under no circumstances attempt to use Arizona as her entry point into the US.
Why is that? Are Canadian passport holders not allowed to enter the U.S. there? Are there other U.S. entry points that she should avoid based on your experience?
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