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

VIDEO: Not business as usual as Nelson slowly reopens

Local owners talk about the pandemic has changed how they operate

City of Nelson takes over farmers’ markets from EcoSociety

Markets start June 13 and will be run by the Nelson and District Youth Centre

School District announces Rick Hansen Foundation difference-maker award winners

Creston student Alexis Folk and Nelson teacher Chris Mieske recognized by the Rick Hansen Foundation

Nelson offers financing for homeowners to purchase electric bikes

Loan payments will be applied to hydro bills as part of the EcoSave home retrofit program

Pay guarantee removed for some Kootenay on-call paramedics

Guarantee phased out as BCEHS introduces a new “scheduled on call” model

‘I’m pissed, I’m outraged’: Federal minister calls out police violence against Indigenous people

Indigenous Minister Marc Miller spoke on recent incidents, including fatal shooting of a B.C. woman

Help the Nelson Star continue its mission to provide trusted local news

Black Press is now accepting donations to keep its papers operating

Kelowna Mountie who punched suspect identified, condemned by sister

‘How did he get away with this? How is this justifiable?’

PHOTOS: Anti-racism protesters gather in communities across B.C.

More protests are expected through the weekend

Pair accused of ‘horrific’ assault at Vancouver’s Oppenheimer Park at large

Police say Jason Tapp, 30, and Nicole Edwards, 33, did not show up to meet their bail supervisor this week

No charges to be laid against 22 northern B.C. pipeline protesters

Twenty-two people were arrested in February, but Crown has decided not to pursue charges

Plan in place for BC Ferries to start increasing service levels

Ferry corporation reaches temporary service level agreement with province

B.C. starts to see employment return under COVID-19 rules

Jobless rate for young people still over 20% in May

Most Read