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

VIU students pitch planning projects to Cumberland

Students looked at topics such as historical values and parking issues

Comox Valley ends tough VIJHL season with a win

Glacier Kings more than double last year’s win total but miss post-season

Comox Valley school district drama students present Xanadu

Venice Beach, California, 1980. An aspiring young artist paints a mural, and… Continue reading

Heart attacks strike husband, wife just over one year apart

Courtenay couple share personal stories to bring awareness to heart month

Kingfisher spa now open following early January fire

Owner Bill Brandes offered personal funds to minimize the impact of the situation on his employees.

VIDEO: 2020 BC Winter Games wrap up in Fort St. John as torch passes to Maple Ridge

More than 1,000 athletes competed in the 2020 BC Winter Games

B.C. VIEWS: Pipeline dispute highlights need for clarity

As the B.C. treaty process grinds on, uncertainty remains

Massive early-morning blaze destroys Vancouver Island home

Firefighters from three departments called in to battle fire at unoccupied residence

First win, fifth win highlight BC Senior Curling finals

Donna Mychaluk wins first title after finishing second five times; Wes Craig takes fifth crown

Still six cases of COVID-19 in B.C. despite reports of Air Canada passenger: ministry

Health ministry wouldn’t comment on specific flight routes

Violent ends to past Indigenous protests haunt Trudeau government

Trudeau adopted a more assertive tone Friday, insisting the barricade must come down

Reports of accused human trafficker sighted north of the Comox Valley unsubstantiated

RCMP issue warning about the fears unproven social media reports can generate

Most Read