Jogger Held For Two Weeks After Crossing From Canada To US Accidentally
We've all taken a wrong turn on a walk, bike ride or car journey and ended up horrendously lost - but none of that compares to Cedella Roman's ordeal, after she accidentally crossed the Canadian border into the US while jogging on the beach. As easy as that.
The 19-year-old ran across the frontier near Peace Arch Park, British Columbia, and ended up entering Blaine in Washington state last month. It sounds like a very simple mistake, so we guess it must've been understood by officials and the matter was forgotten?
According to Sky News, as the tide started coming in, she sensibly traveled up a path before stopping to take a photo of the scenery, then turned around to head back claiming that she took three steps across the border.
In that moment two US border patrol officers stopped Cedella, telling her she had crossed illegally and had been caught on camera. Quick explanation, courteous apology and we're sorted then?
Cedella, a French citizen, told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation: "I told him I had not done it on purpose, and that I didn't understand what was happening."
The teen, who had gone to Canada to visit her mother and brush up on her English, insisted that she didn't see any warning signs, and did not initially realise how serious the matter would become.
She added: "I said to myself, well I may have crossed the border - but they'll probably only give me a fine or they'll tell me to go back to Canada or they'll give me a warning."
But things got more complicated as she was not carrying any government-issued identification on her at the time.
I mean, that's the last thing you think of packing when you're going on a leisurely run. Emergency money, keys, water, possibly your phone. Job done. ID? Well, you wouldn't want to drop it, would you?
The officers took her to the Northwest Detention Centre in Tacoma, Washington, which is run by the Department of Homeland Security.
She said: "They put me in the caged vehicles and brought me into their facility.
"They asked me to remove all my personal belongings with my jewellery, they searched me everywhere.
"Then I understood it was getting very serious, and I started to cry a bit."
When she reached the centre, she contacted her mother, Christiane Ferne, who quickly took her passport and study permits to the facility.
"It was just unfair that there was nothing, no sign at the border," said Ferne, who visited her daughter several times while she was detained. "It's like a trap ... anybody can be caught at the border like this."
But the staff there said the documents would have to be verified by Canadian authorities. Wow, what a palaver.
Cedella was held at the centre for two weeks before the matter was resolved and she was allowed to return to Canada on 6 June, according to CBC.
A spokesperson for the US Customs and Border Protection told CBC that anyone who enters the country outside an official port of entry and without inspection has crossed the border illegally, and will be processed accordingly.
"This applies regardless of whether or not the individual claims to have inadvertently crossed the border," said the department in a statement.
"It is the responsibility of an individual travelling in the vicinity of an international border to maintain awareness of their surroundings and their location at all times to ensure they do not illegally cross the border.
"Additionally, it's important for people travelling near the border to carry identification at all times, so that agents or officers can easily verify their identity."
They've made that point loud and clear, don't you think? Have a day off, eh.
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