Detentions by the U.S. Border Patrol on the Mexico border has been drawing a lot of news coverage as well as outrage in recent weeks. But a story relayed by Canada’s CBC underscores the problems that exist on the northern border as well.
19-year-old Cedella Roman was visiting her mother from France on May 21, when she took a jog along a beach connecting the Canadian city of Surrey with the American city of Blaine, Wash. Without realizing it, Roman crossed into the United States.
After the incoming tide made Roman detour onto a dirt path, she turned back. It was then that US border patrol officers, who had observed her on a security camera, stopped her. Roman told them she didn’t see any signs warning her that she was about to cross the border.
“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,” Roman told the CBC. She said she didn’t have any government issued ID or travel permits with her while she was jogging.
The border patrol officers put Roman inside a caged vehicle and brought her to a detention center in Tacoma operated by the Department of Homeland Security. Although she contacted her mother in Canada, she was held in custody for two weeks before being allowed to return back to Canada.
“It was just unfair that there was nothing, no sign at the border,” said Roman’s mother Christiane Ferne. “Anybody can be caught at the border like this.”
Roman was discharged by immigration and customs enforcement on June 6. A spokesperson for the US government told the CBC that detention policies are applied whether someone crosses the border accidentally or not.