Go for a jog, get detained. America!

Jogger detained for 2 weeks after accidentally crossing US-Canada border

“If an individual enters the United States at a location other than an official port of entry and without inspection by a Customs and Border Protection officer, they have illegally entered the United States and will be processed accordingly,” a Customs and Border Protection spokesperson said.

So how much longer until we’re copying East Berlin and shooting people out of the water?

Roman’s mother Christiane Ferne, who visited her daughter several times while she was detained, said her daughter’s detention was unfair because she says there are no signs warning pedestrians of the international border.

“It’s like a trap … anybody can be caught at the border like this,” Ferne told the CBC.

It hasn’t always been this way. Consider Derby Line, Vermont. Because of an 18th century surveying error, the town lies atop the US/Canada border. What did the town do when they found out?  They built a library and opera house for citizens of both countries to use. There’s also a factory that straddles the international boundary.

But now? In today’s frightened immigrant-hating America? From the Derby Line Wiki page:

There are ramifications of living directly on the border of another country. For example, the US Border Patrol expressed a desire to close off streets which have historically run together with those of Stanstead. They are concerned about illegal immigration.

Right. All those darn Canadians who want to give up their free healthcare and excellent educations to come live in the land of “freedom.” It wasn’t a problem for 200 years.  Then suddenly it was. What happened? Fear. Insecurity. Not trusting anyone. Believing right-wing isolationist propaganda that ours is the land of plenty blessed by God, and that everyone wants to come in here and take it from us.

Here’s what most of the US/Canada border looks like:

Related image

Now, pray tell, what is the harm in walking from the left side of that photo to the right side? Nothing. Other than the fact you’ve crossed some arbitrary, man-made determination of where one set of laws stops and another begins. Birds cross the boundary. Fish swim on both sides of that water. Bears, rabbits, and all sorts of wildlife wander back and forth freely. Why do we get so bent out of shape when a human does the same?

Centuries from now when history runs its course and countries may no longer exist, that barren strip of no-man’s-land will once again be overgrown. The obelisk in dead-center will either be gone, or perhaps will be preserved as a quirky footnote of past times. But right now? We’re throwing people in jail for crossing our borders. We’re separating families. We’re wasting political time and capital arguing over “what to do with” the people who walk from the left side of that photo to the right.

Why? It’s ignorant. We’re all human beings. Our countries aren’t prisons. Stop the craziness.

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