Baby We Were Born To Run For The Border

Thus endith my week of comics, non-comics and comic-like entities dealing with my trip to Canada. The above comic is a 98% true account (with a +/- 2% margin of exaggeration) of my border crossing experience.


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The Canadian border official treated us like human beings, who were welcomed into his country and encouraged to spend our bland, greenish monies at their many fine establishments. He did want to make sure that we were attempting to procure gainful Canadian employment surreptitiously, but he was never anything but polite. He even laughingly commented about how there seemed to be a lot of people coming over for the comic con.

The US border agent treated us like terrorists. Worse, he treated us like our faces were dusted with cocaine, our pockets were brimming with knock-off boner pills, and our trunk was bulging with far too many severed torsos. All of his questions were accusatory, his tone was immediately angry and he was a fucking asshole. Let me remind you that we were trying to re-enter our OWN country. Next time I drive back into the US from Canada I’m just going to have my dick’n balls out. Just right on my lap. When the border agent asks me a question, I’ll point southward and politely ask that he address all inquiries to The Captain.

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    • my husband and one of his friends got strip searched when entering Canada in 2003. So they aren't always all nicey nice…

  1. I haven't noticed particular friendship from Canadian border patrol, but there seems a higher percentage of suspicious/hostile American border patrol officers, and the American border patrol was downright pissed at the busload of high schoolers crossing into the US that I was part of years back. I'm Canadian, used to live in the US, and have bounced back across the border a bunch.

  2. It was the hippie smell of "artistic inspiration" and too many of those marihuana cigarettes I've heard about. Also a Steers vs Queers Texas Joke should be here.

  3. hahaha, I am from, and live, in Montreal and it’s the same thing for us but the other way around. When we leave to cross to USA, we are asked to parked the car there and they search us, 2 out of 5 times. Coming back home is a breeze of politeness and smile.

  4. The last time I reentered the States from Canada after a con, the rather attractive female US Border Agent asked if we were bringing anything back from Canada. My buddy got nervous. We said we were bringing back books, my buddy then said "with nudie pictures" or something to that effect. The Border Agent then requested to see these nudie pictures. When she was sufficiently pleased, she informed us it was art, not nudie pictures, and sent us on our way. They're not ALL bad.

  5. as one who travels from my home in NY to mt'l on a weekly basis (and i have a nexus card) i find the immigration canada officials to be very nice but …. coming back into the usa they are like a bunch of brown-shirted nazis… ur def. guilty til proven 'innocent' entering the usa.. it's unnecessary and embarassing.

  6. Having lived in two cities close to the Canadian border (Seattle and Detroit) my car got practically torn apart every time I came back into the US from Canada. It turned out that my Washington state plates were one digit off from the plates of a car that was stolen or involved in a crime. Once I got Michigan plates, the process of crossing the border from Canada to the US went from almost intolerable to just extremely annoying.

  7. In general, it's been about the same for me on either side of the crossing. I've had more issues with Canadian border officials than with American border officials, but that's not for me to then say that Canadian officials are therefore worse, just the luck of how it's drawn out for me. Random distribution of assholes and professionals working for both sides of the border are random.

  8. That's odd. I wonder if it has something specific to do with the Canadian border? When going through CBP in airports from abroad I have never encountered anything but courtesy. Maybe a little aloof/emotionless at times, but nothing like what you are all describing. I've never crossed by land from Canada, though. Wonder what.s up.

  9. You were crossing into Canada for TOURISM. The two times I went to Toronto, I was going for BUSINESS. You want some issues with Canadian border patrol? Tell them you're going to Canada for business so that they'll detain you in the questioning area for 45 minutes, so they can then grill you about what exactly you'll be doing and why your company isn't paying Canadians to do it. And unfortunately, "I go where they tell me to go and do what they tell me to do because they pay me" (not my exact words, but the basic gist of what I said much more diplomatically) doesn't cut any ice with them. In America, we worry you're coming to kill us. In Canada, taking their jobs is enough to get you arrested and deported, apparently. I learned my lesson…the second time I went in, at my boss's suggestion, I lied and told them I was going for training. That pleased them…I guess the idea that we stupid Americans have to go to Canada to learn how to do things was more appealing.

    • I'm pretty sure Joel was there on business. I don't think he flys to Buffalo and gets someone to drive him over the border for fun. I'll grant you that they probably thought it was tourism though.

    • Hate to burst your bubble but the US border is just as big if not a bigger bunch of [insert explicative here] when it comes to crossing the border for work.
      I got the exact same, well actually worse treatment when work sent me by car since it was so close. I got detained, had to wait hours to get my passport back and then sent back since I didnt have the right "papers". 2 days latter I crossed at a different border crossing since the same papers were fine then though I still was hassled for almost 2 hours.
      Sad thing is there are no other certified professionals in my line of work in that part of the states – none were willing to travel there either.

  10. My favorite personal story was when I first went to Vancouver driving from Seattle. The way into Canada, everyone was all polite and reminding me to use the metric system. On the way back to the states, the border guard (carrying a semi automatic slung over his shoulder mind you) asked me in a straight face: "So, where did you hear about Canada?" It took all I had not to reply "There was this file located in a subbasement of the pentagon marked 'Canada' so I thought I'd have a look." The Peach Arch Park guys are better on average now but still, you're pretty dead on with this!

  11. That's about the same as what I got a couple of weeks ago only I wasn't warned about the moosevipers. Perhaps the scent wafting over from Detroit keeps them away.

  12. I remember the first time I made a jaunt into Canada after I graduated high school. Just a quick cut up north, then drop back down at the Idaho crossing. The Border agent asked my friend and I if we were bringing anything back across the border. We made a stop at a store and got some "Canadian Pepsi" (1/3 the sugar and calories). We held up the cans, and said "two cans of Pepsi?"

    She laughed, waved us through and said "Go, just go!" LOL

  13. It’s still got to be flying into the states! Last time I came stateside there were two lines at passport control. One for US citizens and one for the ‘Rest of the World’ (I kid you not, that’s what the sign said!) I queued up with the other 95% of the worlds population and when it came time to hand over my passport they stared at it suspeciously, very carefully read the standard bit on the cover which says ‘United Kingdoms and Northern Ireland’ then asked me to go to a side room where they sat me down behind a steel table which I couldn’t help noticing was bolted to the floor and asked me “Just what are your connections to Northern Ireland?”

    I resisted the urge to say “They tried to blow me up for a while,” as I figured using any reference to explosives would just get me sent to Guantanomo, so instead I said “Uh, the Queen sort of rules it?” They then went and made a phone call, took IR scans of both my thumbs and took my photo and informed me that it would be a criminal offence if I stayed past the limit on my Visa.

    That’ll teach me to come from Europe!

    • Um – everywhere does the two-lines thing, the UK included. Except in the UK it tends to be European Union and Rest of the World, of course.

  14. "…Up next on KTVT News, the shocking story of a local resident savagely beaten by border patrol agents at a U.S./Canada border crossing, then charged with 27 counts including Terrorism, Possession of Child Pornography, Bestiality, Loitering, and Failure To Declare The Importation Of Sausage. CBS 11- Coverage You Can Count On!"

  15. A neighbour was on her way to a trade show in the USA and the US agents at the Airport would not allow her to bring her handmade glass beads into the USA . She was not going to sell, but just show them to take future wholesale orders. Other crafters going to the same show and going through the same Airport had no problem. Anyways so she lost a couple of thousand dollars on the show cost, airfare, and hotel.

  16. All that I can say is thank God they didn't find that bootleg maple syrup I was hiding in my spare tire.

  17. My wife is a dual US/Canadian citizen, and whenever she goes through US customs she gets asked "So where's home?". She responds with Canada and gets the look of supreme death and contempt.

    Seriously kids, we're just like you guys, but with funny accents, better NHL teams and polar bears!

    • Better NHL players sure, after all the majority of the players on most NHL teams are Canadian, but I wouldn't say better teams. I mean come on when was the last time a Canadian team won the Stanley Cup?

      • With a ratio of 5:1 American to Canadian teams, it's a matter of odds 😉 Besides, we all know Bettman won't let us win the Cup… where's the ratings in THAT?!?!?!?!

  18. Where you crossing at Blue Water Bridge? Notoriously awful. Google on Peter Watts and realize it could have been (much, much) worse.

  19. I got exactly the same reaction after spending two weeks in Vancouver for software training. The best part? I forgot my passport, so the US border patrol explained to me exactly how I could have illegally obtained a Massachusetts driver's license, precisely why my backstory (complete with photos and business cards) didn't make any sense, and then told me all kinds of nefarious things I could have been on my way to the US to do when they detained me. Lesson learned–if I want to learn how to be a terrorist, just try to cross into the US–the Border Patrol will be happy to give you a crash course disguised as "questioning".

  20. I am a US citizen living in Canada with my Canadian husband and children. Also, I attend a lot of cons in the States. We cross back and forth quite a bit, so the computer has the stock pile of crossings in our file. Still occasionally we get lots of grief.

    Other times they are helpful and informative, like the guard (US) who informed us whom to contact to obtain official duel citizenship for our children. But my favorite was the US guard who was looking at our passports after asking "Citizenships?" My husband answered, "3 Canadian and one US" as he always does. The guard leaned forward to get line of sight with me and, with a big smile said, "You know, we'll take you back any time you want." Made us all laugh.

  21. I got treated like a smuggler going both ways. It seems to depend on the crossing.

    The hilarious thing is I have military plates, ID, clean cut hair, the works. Definitely the profile of a drug smuggler.

    • you'd be supprised actually you are EXACTLY who smugglers love to use as Mules because you don't look the part

  22. Peace Bridge has been pleasant both times I crossed. The Canadian officials were a bit more of a hassle there than the US, but I was crossing on a drivers license only (back in the days of NAFTA).

    The US agents at the Canadian side of the ferry crossing north of Seattle are D-Bags. They couldn't understand why my mother and I would have crossed in to Canada for dinner with friends of ours, nor how it would be possible that we weren't bringing anything back with us. When I finally said, "OK, we're bringing back the food we ate… I'm sure some of it isn't digested yet, do you want to inspect it?" the agent finally backed off.

  23. I once tried to get into Canada the day after Canada Day (don't!!!). We sat in 3 or 4 hours of returning traffic until our car died and we had to push it with the help of a Canadian guy from the car behind us (2 teenage girls and our mother in her 50s…not quite a muscular group). The border guard was fantastic. Not only was he very friendly in welcoming us to Canada, but he gave us instructions on where we could get a jump. We got the jump from a Mountie, who then offered to direct us to a place to have our battery checked.

  24. i'm irish,i have only once been to america, i was staying with family in canada<irish residents> and we had to cross the border…i was 11 at the time,i was at the border for an hour i had to get my fingerprints taken and get searched…i was a tall kid so they thought i was older, but they acted the way you don;t act around an 11 year old, the guns terrified me too.<they let up when they saw my DOB on my passport>.
    when i crossed the border again to canada…we basically just drove over, handed the passports over "welcome back" have a nice day

  25. The second, and so far the last, time I entered the US from Canada by road was pretty interesting… for starters, some jackhole had grabbed the wrong bag off the Greyhound bus we were on when he got off on the last stop before the border, which was but a small annoyance compared to what followed…

    Apparently, some other jackhole – indeed, one of the jackest of holes, if that was a thing – had left a suitcase with what appeared to be a bomb in the luggage compartment of the bus. Actual quote from the CBP people x-raying the abandoned suitcase: "Oh, that's not good!" – after that, we were all led to a room where they took our passports, did some basic questioning and we had to sit and wait for something like 6 hours while they closed off the tunnel + a couple of blocks of Detroit, lots of cops etc showed up, complete with the Hurt Locker outfit, little robot and what have you.

    When everything was kinda sorted out, we had to wait for an hour, maybe hour and a half, for the next bus from Canada, cuz our driver had been awake for so long, he wasn't allowed to drive the bus to the station. Finding out we could have walked to the station in fifteen minutes or so was just… great.

    Still, made it back safe and sound, got a story to tell family and friends, and I'll never forget when the guy in charge asked if everyone was sure that nobody wanted to admit they owned the suitcase – "You're not in any trouble, we just want to know so we can give it back to you."… *after* they had blown the damn thing up! 😛

  26. The only time I ever had to cross the border I'd have to say the Canadian officers were much more gentle with the pat-downs. US officers went at me like they were kneading dough.

  27. I've never left the US, but I have been to Canada once.

    Back in high school, my group of friends were bored one weekend, and we decided to drive to Canada (we live in Illinois). Drove up there, parked the van, walked to the border, turned around and came back. So…I've been to Canada, but I've never left the US.

    This was pre-9/11, but it was still interesting explaining to the guards what we were doing. Apparently, neither "it seemed like a good idea 12 hours ago" nor "we thought it'd be funny" are acceptable excuses. Also, no…neither high nor drunk, just really odd.

  28. First mistake: Flying to Buffalo… that puts you on a suspect database right there. NOBODY wants to go to Buffalo.
    Did it cost more to fly directly to and from Toronto from Dallas? Airport Customs and Border Protection is generally much smoother than land crossing

    • it was more than twice to fly to toronto. Like over $700. I actually cancelled the con when I found out, then someone suggested flying into Buffalo.

      • As a tourist, I've found flying in Canada to be ridiculously expensive! I wanted to go from Ottawa to Vancouver, and ended up saving about $600 by just taking the bus to NY, flying to Seattle and busing up to Vancouver.
        Yeah, I got put in a waiting room at the BC/Washington border control for about 20 minutes while they discussed behind closed doors about me spending only a day in NY. Oops.

  29. My Grandmother and Grandfather live in Port Huron, near a bridge that crosses into Canada, and they've known some of the people that work on the U.S. side of the border there and yes, they are mean people. Not just at their job, but all the time. They're people that genuinely enjoy making other people miserable and flexing their power, and they get away with it because they're border agents. They're untouchable. No, seriously, don't touch them you'll get sent to Gitmo, or wherever our new terrorist detainee place is.

  30. I'm a candian working in the US. I've been crossing most weekends for the last four years. I've never had an issue getting into canada. But I'm canadian so that's expected. Now, as a Canadian entering back into the US to work, I rarely have a problem. 90% of my crossings are business as usual. I've been randomly searched once in the last four years, which was a 30 min delay but otherwise totally fine.

    I will say that there does seem to be a bit of a culture difference between the US and Canadian guards. The US seems to be constantly struggling to do a better job and catch everything. The guards don't seem relaxed or comfortable. It's like they're being held accountable for every single decision. Every person through is another test. They even stress out over their wait lines. It seems like a type-A personality culture. The canadians seem to be relaxed and satisfied with the job they're doing. It seems like they take a longer-term approach. They try to improve things systematically. But at the same time, they realize they won't be perfect and seem to be okay with that.

  31. You do know we rent the Shatman out at reasonable rates to other countries; just ask his agent.

    And some Mejicanos are nice to…touch. In certain places. With your appendages, and stuff.

  32. Just so you know, the US Border Guards seem to have zero sense of humor. 🙂 The last time I came through, I had noticed this pattern so suggested to the guard that he could smile. He suggested (explicitly) that could stop talking or be detained. I stopped talking. Welcome Home indeed!

  33. I'm venezuelan and been a couple of times in the USA, the immigration officers are always horrible to us as well as in the embassy where we get our visas. My wife and I were planning to go to a U2 concert in New York and the visa officer made her sing a song by U2. Once you're inside everyone is pretty nice though.

  34. I live in Ann Arbor so when I start jonesin' for a big city experience I go either 5hrs east to Toronto or 4hrs west to Chicago; about two months ago my famiy and I went to Toronto for school break, my experience with the Canadian border agent has turned me off from going there about as much as the TSA has made me swear off flight until I get my own license.

  35. I live in Toronto – we had an Australian friend who needed to renew his visa, which included crossing the border. His tale about it was very similar to yours. Going to America was terrifying – the building was dimly lit, intimidating, and people were being dragged off at random to be interrogated in separate rooms. They described it as "the most pants-shittingly terrifying 30 minutes of my life".
    Crossing back into Canada was bright, open, and took about five minutes.

    The only unfriendly Canada border guards I've run into are when you fly in – the people at the customs booth tend to be a little curt, but are by no means hostile.

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