Mehdiya Hudda, 22, of Kichener, planned a short shopping trip in Lewiston, N.Y., near Niagara Falls, with her mother and husband on April 26, returning to Canada the same evening. The family is Muslim and both women wear head scarves. They ended up being fingerprinted and photographed, then held in a room at the U.S. border for about six hours, while their car, cellphones and belongings were searched. At 1 AM, they were told to return to Canada.
The Record (h/t Brian R) Her family was denied entry to the U.S. in May 2003 when they were trying to attend an Islamic conference in Washington, D.C.”This many years later and still it’s the same thing, we’re being treated like criminals,” Hudda said. “After all these years, they’ve not changed. It just boggles my mind.”
“It’s not justified,” she said. “It was like we had no rights, (you don’t) being on that line between the U.S. and Canada.” The whole incident was humiliating, especially because it unfolded in full view of hundreds of other travelers, she said.
Rather than simply being told to pull over, out of the line of vehicles at the border crossing, the border guard asked for the van’s keys and placed spikes behind the rear wheels so the van couldn’t be reversed without puncturing the tires. Then three other officers came and asked them to leave all their belongings, including purses, wallets and cellphones, in the van and accompany them to a nearby office.