A young family from the UK was arrested on Oct. 3, 2019, after they claim their vehicle inadvertently crossed into the U.S. from Canada because they’d swerved to avoid hitting an animal. (File)

VIDEO: U.S. officials refute British couple’s ‘accidental’ border-crossing claim

Authorities say couple was arrested after illegal entry from B.C., with $16,000 and marijuana

The U.S. Customs and Border Patrol is denying the claims of a British couple who’d been vacationing in the Vancouver area and “accidentally” crossed the border.

David Connors, 30, Eileen Connors, 24, and their three-month-old son say they inadvertently crossed the border at B.C. and Washington State – while in a vehicle with at least four other family members – after detouring to avoid an animal in the road.

They said they were stopped by an officer, who told them they were in Washington State but did not read them their rights or allow them to turn around and return to Canada.

Instead, they said they were arrested and moved to a detention centre in Pennsylvania. The other family members, including a brother, his wife and their two-year-old twin girls are also being detained in the U.S. as suspected illegal immigrants.

However, a U.S. Customs and Border Patrol statement this week said the Oct. 2 crossing was deliberate, and that record checks show that two of the adults in the vehicle had previously been denied authorization to come to the U.S.

Officials said the travellers also had “more than $16,000 CAD and a small quantity of marijuana, less than three grams.”

The law enforcement agency released surveillance footage – which notes the arrest occurred in Lynden, Wash. –that appears to show a vehicle slowly driving through what officials call a ditch and breaching the international boundary.

What appears to be a small animal can be seen crossing the road a short distance in front of the vehicle.

“Attempts were made to return the individuals to Canada. However, Canada refused to allow their return and two attempts to contact the consulate for the United Kingdom were unsuccessful,” the statement continues.

“The seven individuals, consisting of four adults and three children, were processed by Border Patrol and turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement-Enforcement and Removal Operations.”

READ ALSO: Smuggler’s Inn owner charged with helping people illegally enter Canada

READ ALSO: Guilty plea entered in human smuggling case at South Surrey border crossing

Eileen Connors compared their move to the Pennsylvania facility to “an abduction or a kidnapping.”

“We will be traumatized for the rest of our lives by what the United States government has done to us,” she said in her and her husband’s statement.

An attorney for the People’s Justice Centre, representing the family, has filed a complaint with the inspector general of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, alleging mistreatment during their detention, including “frigid” cells and inadequate clothing and blankets for their child.

U.S.authorities have denied allegations of mistreatment, maintaining that the facility “provides a safe and humane environment for families as they go through the immigration process.”

– with files from the Associated Press



alex.browne@peacearchnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Londoners David Connors, 30, Eileen Connors, 24, and their son, were reportedly taken into custody by US Border Patrol officers on Oct. 3, after the vehicle they were riding in inadvertently crossed the border after swerving to avoid an animal in the road. (web image)

Just Posted

New ‘hub’ model takes regional approach to doctor recruitment in West Kootenay

Kootenay-Boundary a provincial leader in effectively attracting doctors to work here

Missing Slocan City man found dead

Douglas Morrison went missing in mid-January

School District 51 turns its focus to students’ mental health

‘It’s a shift in our thinking, from what we expect schools to be like and what they are now’

IN PHOTOS: 2020 Wilgress Lake Fishing Derby

Fishermen dotted Wilgress Lake for the Boundary Métis Association’s annual event

Grand Forks marches against gender violence

The Grand Forks march was part of 1 Billion Rising, a global movement against gender violence

VIDEO: B.C. senior recalls ‘crazy’ wartime decision to grab bear cub from den

Henry Martens – now 96 – says he was lucky to be alive after youthful decision to enter a bear’s den

Cheapest in B.C.: Penticton gas prices dip below $1 per litre

Two stores in Penticton have gas below a dollar.

Loans or gifts? Judge rules woman must pay B.C. man back $7K

B.C. judge rules that woman must pay back more than $7,000 in advanced funds to man

VIDEO: Outpouring of worldwide support for bullied Australian boy

Australian actor Hugh Jackman said ‘you are stronger than you know, mate’

‘A horror show:’ Ex-employee shares experience at problematic Chilliwack seniors’ home

Workers are paid below industry standard at all Retirement Concepts facilities

Forest industry protests northern B.C. caribou protection deal

B.C. Mining Association supports federal-Indigenous plan

Youth-led report calls on B.C. government to create plan to end youth homelessness

There are no dedicated programs for youth homelessness at federal, provincial level, report says

Trudeau: Time for blockades to end and Indigenous leaders to work with government

Prime minister says situation in Coastal GasLink pipeline dispute is ‘unacceptable and untenable’

MLA Larson deals with abuse and threats

Oliver office has a buzz-in system, and panic buttons

Most Read