A Keremeos couple making a routine trip across the border ran into trouble over the Christmas holidays – none of which was their fault.
Last week, during a routine trip across the line at the Osoyoos border crossing, the two were asked to pull over while entering the U.S. for a routine inspection of their pickup truck. They waited in the customs lobby for several minutes while border officials took a look at their truck.
Almost half an hour passed, with the inspection long over, before one of them went to desk to ask politely what the delay was.
“We have every right to detain you and your vehicle,” they were curtly told. “Sit down and wait until we contact you.”
After another lengthy delay, a border agent called them to the desk. He told them, brusquely and without apology, that their passports had been given to another party, and they were in the process of finding the individuals.
It took the Keremeos pair seven hours to get their passports back.
We aren’t presenting this story in order to make anyone look bad, although in a case like this, one wonders why an apology didn’t seem to be in order – regardless, everyone makes mistakes.
But we think it’s important for people to realize this can happen, and to make sure they check their passports immediately upon them being returned by immigration officials.
If this couple, or the people given their passports had been on their way to the airport in Seattle or Spokane to catch an international flight, the mistake might not have been noticed until they had landed at their final destination – definitely something to consider on your next trip across the line.