In all my years, I have never seen such a Kafkaesque scenario,' lawyer says

 
Canadian border guards are silhouetted as they replace each other at an inspection booth at a crossing on the Canada-U.S. border. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)

A number of Canadian Muslims have been turned away at the Canada-U.S. border in recent weeks, immigration lawyers say.

Those denied entry include a prominent Guyana-born Toronto imam who serves as a chaplain with the Peel Regional Police and an Iraqi Turkmen community leader who has family members fighting ISIS in the Middle East.

The two men — who were denied entry at different border crossings and were not travelling together — are among at least six Canadian Muslim men who have been denied entry at the U.S. border over the last two weeks.

The men and their families, all of whom are Canadian citizens, were given little in the way of explanation by border officials for the decision to deem them inadmissible.

Neither Guyana nor Iraq are among the seven Muslim-majority countries subject to U.S. President Donald Trump's "Muslim ban" executive order, which essentially blocks refugees and visitors from those countries from entering the U.S.

Both men were told to apply for visas at the U.S. consulate in Toronto before returning to the border to seek entry — an unusual process for people who hold Canadian passports.

The six men are represented by the Toronto-area immigration firm CILF — Caruso Guberman Appleby. Lawyers there say that if they're seeing this level of activity at their law firm, there may be many other Canadian nationals facing similar problems at the border.

"We've seen a lot more in the last few weeks and we don't know what to attribute it to. We know the climate there in the U.S. has changed, it's a bit different, but at the same time there are processes and procedures and people should be afforded opportunities to challenge a case," Daud Ali, a lawyer at CILF, told CBC News.

"But it's hard to know what you're going up against when you're not told why you're denied entry. The fact that they're all Muslims, that raises some concerns about whether these people are being targeted or if this is a new form of some sort of ban ..."

 
A U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer looks at a pedestrian's passport at the San Ysidro border crossing between Mexico and the U.S. (Fred Greaves/Reuters)

"Having worked as an immigration lawyer for over 40 years nothing surprises me anymore but, in all my years, I have never seen such a Kafkaesque scenario," said Joel Guberman, a partner at the firm.

When asked if there has been a new directive in recent weeks with respect to Muslim travellers from Canada, a spokesperson for U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) said the agency "has not had any new policy changes."

While unable to speak to specific cases because of privacy laws, the CBP spokesperson said "applicants for admission bear the burden of proof to establish that they are clearly eligible to enter the United States. In order to demonstrate that they are admissible, the applicant must overcome all grounds of inadmissibility."

No Canadian citizen has a "right" to enter the U.S.; entry happens at the sole discretion of the U.S. customs officers on duty — and they have a lot of latitude to ask questions to determine the admissibility of a foreign national.

CBP lists more than 60 grounds for inadmissibility divided into several major categories, including health-related reasons, criminality, security reasons, illegal entry and immigration violations, and documentation requirements.

Two of the six men denied entry have agreed to share their stories with CBC News to warn other Muslim Canadians about the complications that may arise when travelling to the U.S.

Imran Ally, a resident imam at the Toronto and Regional Islamic Congregation (TARIC) mosque for the last 20 years and a chaplain with Peel Regional Police, was travelling with his wife and three children to attend his best friend's daughter's wedding in the New York City borough of Queens. He was set to emcee.

Ally and his wheelchair-bound, special-needs son were held at the Peace Bridge crossing near Fort Erie, Ont., for more than five hours. They faced three separate rounds of questioning by plainclothes and uniformed officers. Some of the questions centred on his charitable endeavours related to resettling Syrian refugees.

I knew going to the U.S. for the first time wouldn't be a red carpet welcome.- Imran Ally

Ally, a native of the South American nation of Guyana, was questioned about his work as a religious leader, photographed and fingerprinted and ultimately denied entry because he was told his name "matches that of a bad guy."

He was driven back to the Canadian border by a police cruiser, cancelling his long-planned wedding role.

"I knew going to the U.S. for the first time wouldn't be a red carpet welcome, I (knew) that I'd probably have to answer questions, I might even have to spend a long time. We were prepared for all of this, but never in my wildest dreams did I think they'd say I'm inadmissible because of my name," Ally said.

"The way it was done — they really at the end made me feel like I'm a criminal."

Nejmettin Vali, the vice-president of the Iraqi Turkmen community group in Toronto, was also denied entry at the Windsor-Detroit crossing in early August when he and his family were on vacation celebrating Eid al-Adha, one of the holiest of Islamic holidays.

Vali was travelling to Detroit for some cross-border shopping with his wife and children when he was pulled aside by American officials for a secondary inspection that went on for more than four hours.

I looked like a terrorist or something.- Nejmettin Vali

Vali said he felt violated by the officers, who seized not only his cellphone but those of his wife and Canadian-born children. While being questioned, Vali said the officers refused to let him fetch food and medicine for his autistic daughter.

"I looked like a terrorist or something," Vali said. "I have no criminal record, no jail, nothing. I've been a Canadian for twenty years and no problem, so I want to figure out what's going on. I want to fight it — I feel like I have a bad name now because they didn't let me inside.

"It's sad. Everybody was just happy to go to the U.S. for, like, two hours for the shopping. That didn't happen."

 

Vali said the border guards didn't tell him why he was denied entry but he said the officers were concerned about his semi-regular trips to Iraq, the country where he was born.

Vali said he travels to his native land often because he's been supporting his three grandchildren there since his son — a former Iraqi police officer — was killed by ISIS forces.

Trouble at the Canada-U.S. border? Email john.tasker@cbc.ca

 
Original Post

I travel often to the US, but recently I notice the custom officers are asking a lot more questions eg: where is Plantation DeKinderen, that"s my place of birth on my passport, also why do I travel so often to the US and how much money am I bringing. When I told one officer my daughter's occupation, he replied saying ,"thanks to President Trump she has a job" of which I replied, that's true. Indeed, you are at the mercy of the border officers. Look direct, answer to the point, don't ask questions.

These Western societies free lifestyle does something to people who were not very religious in their countries of origin. I have seen Guyanese Muslim women who never wore anything on their heads now covered up in Canada and the US.I have also read about cases in the Sikh communities in North America where people went from almost no religion to extreme religion. Prashad don't see anything wrong with this as long as there is respect for other people religions, views and rights.

 

Prashad posted:

These Western societies free lifestyle does something to people who were not very religious in their countries of origin. I have seen Guyanese Muslim women who never wore anything on their heads now covered up in Canada and the US.I have also read about cases in the Sikh communities in North America where people went from almost no religion to extreme religion. Prashad don't see anything wrong with this as long as there is respect for other people religions, views and rights.

 

I think people go through varying phases throughout their lives and mostly do what seems right at the moment. In regard to some Muslims trending to a stricter Muslim practice, I think a lot of it has to do with them having more information to their disposal today. While I disagree with the insistence that the hijab as utilized is required, I wouldn't insist that Muslim women shun their hijab. They have the right to dress as they feel. I am not sure why any woman need to wear the nisab but that too is their right if they choose to exercise it.

Another thing is that life in these metropolitans is so fast paced that some people lean to religion in order to slow down their routines.

My golden rule is always be cautious of crooked preachers and politicians.

Speaking of crooked preachers, I heard a story earlier this week about a Hindu funeral that took place in Guyana three years ago. I had an up close view of the Hindu final rights when my in-laws passed away in 2016 and I must say that while there were lots of rituals, I did not see anything that one needs to be concerned about. Heck, the pandit did not even insist that anyone shave their heads. He was fine with just a slight trim. Coming to the funeral I heard about in Guyana, I was told that the people told the wife of the deceased that she needs to stay at home while they take the deceased for cremation. However, she had to remain outside the house and even had to bathe outside the house wearing only her bra and panties. What makes this troubling was that she (not really a practicing Hindu) was being directed by older women who seem to be drinking whatever Kool-Aid they were being fed to believe that her doing that was necessary. I became very incensed when I was told that they told her she needs to sit at the ritual wearing only her panties when the pandit come back to the house after the cremation. The person who told me the story said that she told this woman that that doesn't make any sense and told her to cover herself with a towel when she sits for the ritual. I was told that the pandit is fairly young and very popular so this kind of shit is probably widespread there. In my humble opinion, I think this pandit is a pervert like me and is using his pulpit to get some cheap thrills from people during their most vulnerable circumstances. This woman does not know what is required of her but the other elder women should have better judgment. That is why I say, be very cautious of crook preachers and politicians. 

ksazma posted:
Prashad posted:

These Western societies free lifestyle does something to people who were not very religious in their countries of origin. I have seen Guyanese Muslim women who never wore anything on their heads now covered up in Canada and the US.I have also read about cases in the Sikh communities in North America where people went from almost no religion to extreme religion. Prashad don't see anything wrong with this as long as there is respect for other people religions, views and rights.

 

I think people go through varying phases throughout their lives and mostly do what seems right at the moment. In regard to some Muslims trending to a stricter Muslim practice, I think a lot of it has to do with them having more information to their disposal today. While I disagree with the insistence that the hijab as utilized is required, I wouldn't insist that Muslim women shun their hijab. They have the right to dress as they feel. I am not sure why any woman need to wear the nisab but that too is their right if they choose to exercise it.

Another thing is that life in these metropolitans is so fast paced that some people lean to religion in order to slow down their routines.

My golden rule is always be cautious of crooked preachers and politicians.

Speaking of crooked preachers, I heard a story earlier this week about a Hindu funeral that took place in Guyana three years ago. I had an up close view of the Hindu final rights when my in-laws passed away in 2016 and I must say that while there were lots of rituals, I did not see anything that one needs to be concerned about. Heck, the pandit did not even insist that anyone shave their heads. He was fine with just a slight trim. Coming to the funeral I heard about in Guyana, I was told that the people told the wife of the deceased that she needs to stay at home while they take the deceased for cremation. However, she had to remain outside the house and even had to bathe outside the house wearing only her bra and panties. What makes this troubling was that she (not really a practicing Hindu) was being directed by older women who seem to be drinking whatever Kool-Aid they were being fed to believe that her doing that was necessary. I became very incensed when I was told that they told her she needs to sit at the ritual wearing only her panties when the pandit come back to the house after the cremation. The person who told me the story said that she told this woman that that doesn't make any sense and told her to cover herself with a towel when she sits for the ritual. I was told that the pandit is fairly young and very popular so this kind of shit is probably widespread there. In my humble opinion, I think this pandit is a pervert like me and is using his pulpit to get some cheap thrills from people during their most vulnerable circumstances. This woman does not know what is required of her but the other elder women should have better judgment. That is why I say, be very cautious of crook preachers and politicians. 

I did not know you are a pervert.

kp posted:
ksazma posted:
Prashad posted:

These Western societies free lifestyle does something to people who were not very religious in their countries of origin. I have seen Guyanese Muslim women who never wore anything on their heads now covered up in Canada and the US.I have also read about cases in the Sikh communities in North America where people went from almost no religion to extreme religion. Prashad don't see anything wrong with this as long as there is respect for other people religions, views and rights.

 

I think people go through varying phases throughout their lives and mostly do what seems right at the moment. In regard to some Muslims trending to a stricter Muslim practice, I think a lot of it has to do with them having more information to their disposal today. While I disagree with the insistence that the hijab as utilized is required, I wouldn't insist that Muslim women shun their hijab. They have the right to dress as they feel. I am not sure why any woman need to wear the nisab but that too is their right if they choose to exercise it.

Another thing is that life in these metropolitans is so fast paced that some people lean to religion in order to slow down their routines.

My golden rule is always be cautious of crooked preachers and politicians.

Speaking of crooked preachers, I heard a story earlier this week about a Hindu funeral that took place in Guyana three years ago. I had an up close view of the Hindu final rights when my in-laws passed away in 2016 and I must say that while there were lots of rituals, I did not see anything that one needs to be concerned about. Heck, the pandit did not even insist that anyone shave their heads. He was fine with just a slight trim. Coming to the funeral I heard about in Guyana, I was told that the people told the wife of the deceased that she needs to stay at home while they take the deceased for cremation. However, she had to remain outside the house and even had to bathe outside the house wearing only her bra and panties. What makes this troubling was that she (not really a practicing Hindu) was being directed by older women who seem to be drinking whatever Kool-Aid they were being fed to believe that her doing that was necessary. I became very incensed when I was told that they told her she needs to sit at the ritual wearing only her panties when the pandit come back to the house after the cremation. The person who told me the story said that she told this woman that that doesn't make any sense and told her to cover herself with a towel when she sits for the ritual. I was told that the pandit is fairly young and very popular so this kind of shit is probably widespread there. In my humble opinion, I think this pandit is a pervert like me and is using his pulpit to get some cheap thrills from people during their most vulnerable circumstances. This woman does not know what is required of her but the other elder women should have better judgment. That is why I say, be very cautious of crook preachers and politicians. 

I did not know you are a pervert.

Yuh rass nah duz read whah meh duz write? 😀

ksazma posted:
kp posted:
ksazma posted:
Prashad posted:

These Western societies free lifestyle does something to people who were not very religious in their countries of origin. I have seen Guyanese Muslim women who never wore anything on their heads now covered up in Canada and the US.I have also read about cases in the Sikh communities in North America where people went from almost no religion to extreme religion. Prashad don't see anything wrong with this as long as there is respect for other people religions, views and rights.

 

I think people go through varying phases throughout their lives and mostly do what seems right at the moment. In regard to some Muslims trending to a stricter Muslim practice, I think a lot of it has to do with them having more information to their disposal today. While I disagree with the insistence that the hijab as utilized is required, I wouldn't insist that Muslim women shun their hijab. They have the right to dress as they feel. I am not sure why any woman need to wear the nisab but that too is their right if they choose to exercise it.

Another thing is that life in these metropolitans is so fast paced that some people lean to religion in order to slow down their routines.

My golden rule is always be cautious of crooked preachers and politicians.

Speaking of crooked preachers, I heard a story earlier this week about a Hindu funeral that took place in Guyana three years ago. I had an up close view of the Hindu final rights when my in-laws passed away in 2016 and I must say that while there were lots of rituals, I did not see anything that one needs to be concerned about. Heck, the pandit did not even insist that anyone shave their heads. He was fine with just a slight trim. Coming to the funeral I heard about in Guyana, I was told that the people told the wife of the deceased that she needs to stay at home while they take the deceased for cremation. However, she had to remain outside the house and even had to bathe outside the house wearing only her bra and panties. What makes this troubling was that she (not really a practicing Hindu) was being directed by older women who seem to be drinking whatever Kool-Aid they were being fed to believe that her doing that was necessary. I became very incensed when I was told that they told her she needs to sit at the ritual wearing only her panties when the pandit come back to the house after the cremation. The person who told me the story said that she told this woman that that doesn't make any sense and told her to cover herself with a towel when she sits for the ritual. I was told that the pandit is fairly young and very popular so this kind of shit is probably widespread there. In my humble opinion, I think this pandit is a pervert like me and is using his pulpit to get some cheap thrills from people during their most vulnerable circumstances. This woman does not know what is required of her but the other elder women should have better judgment. That is why I say, be very cautious of crook preachers and politicians. 

I did not know you are a pervert.

Yuh rass nah duz read whah meh duz write? 😀

I think this pandit is a pervert like me and is using his pulpit to get some cheap thrills from people during their most vulnerable circumstances.

ksazma posted:
Prashad posted:

These Western societies free lifestyle does something to people who were not very religious in their countries of origin. I have seen Guyanese Muslim women who never wore anything on their heads now covered up in Canada and the US.I have also read about cases in the Sikh communities in North America where people went from almost no religion to extreme religion. Prashad don't see anything wrong with this as long as there is respect for other people religions, views and rights.

 

I think people go through varying phases throughout their lives and mostly do what seems right at the moment. In regard to some Muslims trending to a stricter Muslim practice, I think a lot of it has to do with them having more information to their disposal today. While I disagree with the insistence that the hijab as utilized is required, I wouldn't insist that Muslim women shun their hijab. They have the right to dress as they feel. I am not sure why any woman need to wear the nisab but that too is their right if they choose to exercise it.

Another thing is that life in these metropolitans is so fast paced that some people lean to religion in order to slow down their routines.

My golden rule is always be cautious of crooked preachers and politicians.

Speaking of crooked preachers, I heard a story earlier this week about a Hindu funeral that took place in Guyana three years ago. I had an up close view of the Hindu final rights when my in-laws passed away in 2016 and I must say that while there were lots of rituals, I did not see anything that one needs to be concerned about. Heck, the pandit did not even insist that anyone shave their heads. He was fine with just a slight trim. Coming to the funeral I heard about in Guyana, I was told that the people told the wife of the deceased that she needs to stay at home while they take the deceased for cremation. However, she had to remain outside the house and even had to bathe outside the house wearing only her bra and panties. What makes this troubling was that she (not really a practicing Hindu) was being directed by older women who seem to be drinking whatever Kool-Aid they were being fed to believe that her doing that was necessary. I became very incensed when I was told that they told her she needs to sit at the ritual wearing only her panties when the pandit come back to the house after the cremation. The person who told me the story said that she told this woman that that doesn't make any sense and told her to cover herself with a towel when she sits for the ritual. I was told that the pandit is fairly young and very popular so this kind of shit is probably widespread there. In my humble opinion, I think this pandit is a pervert like me and is using his pulpit to get some cheap thrills from people during their most vulnerable circumstances. This woman does not know what is required of her but the other elder women should have better judgment. That is why I say, be very cautious of crook preachers and politicians. 

Following the Arab people cultural practices over your South Asian cultural practices is okay in these Western countries. I guess it is good to cover from head to toes from extreme cold in a winter country just like how those clothes protects the Arab skins from desert sun, sand and the night cold of the desert.

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