Fear and Loathing at the Border

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So today I crossed the border.  I did it in a rather peculiar location – I took the tunnel bus from Detroit to Windsor.  It’s a very short ride.  And if things had gone sour, I could have turned back around and returned to my hotel room.

In this case, I was the only person on the bus.  As a favour to the bus driver, the CBSA officer inspected me at the entry booth rather than sending me to the secondary inspection station (there was a Greyhound bus parked at the secondary inspection post.)  I presented my Nexus card and he asked more questions than I usually get: “where do you live?” and when I told him, he asked “what is your status in Canada?’  I told him that I worked here, and he wanted to see my work permit, which I showed him.

He never looked at the computer systems though, which I know means he’d be happy.  My documents are all in order.  What I’m afraid is that some notation will show up in my online files/records.  Of course, I haven’t exactly helped that, either.

Speaking of which, the other knife in the guts was when I texted home to see if my T4 had shown up (it would be useful for the forthcoming application we’re filing in Federal Court this week).  I was told that it had not, but that a letter from CIC had.  With a bit of trepedation I asked “which office” and after a bit received an answer “Seattle”.  My stomach was in knots.  Recall that I submitted a TRP application to them?  I was seriously thinking “if they answered that quickly it is a denial.”

About 30 minutes later I was able to obtain what I wanted to know: it was an acknowledgment of receipt.  I haven’t seen the exact letter, but my recollection of the gist was: “this will take 3-6 months to process and is unlikely to succeed.”  But it means they have the file.

I’ll order my first round of CAIPS/GSSM notes on it when I get back.  I don’t expect it will say much, but at least I’ll be able to see where they are and what they are thinking (perhaps).  I’ll keep doing that every little while (since it takes 4-6 weeks to get the notes back.)  I’m also going to send in a copy of my completed spousal sponsorship application (since that is part of the basis of my application.)  And anything else that I think might support my request.

What drives this?  That nagging fear that I’m going to be heading home and stopped at the border with the “sorry, you are inadmissible to Canada”.  I know it is low probability, but I cross the border so often that it even low probability makes me incredibly nervous.  The thought of being told I cannot go home to my family, my home, and my employees is a truly dreadful feeling.

I hope that this never happens.

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Gulp… planning the first trip out of Canada


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Getting ready for my next trip

So I will need to travel to the US soon; I don’t even know the details of the trip yet, although it’s just a week away (this isn’t that uncommon.)  It will involve multiple stops (at the moment it looks like Seattle, San Francisco, Detroit – then that first crossing back into Canada for a meeting in Toronto, New York, back to Seattle and then home.)

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little nervous about the whole affair.  I’ve certainly crossed the border numerous times (since my first border crossing in August 1967.  I had to check with my mother to get to at least the right month although the CIC forms ask for this in the standard day/month/year format.)  I crossed back into Canada last month, so this isn’t even the first time since being denied.

Of course, I’m now tweaking buttons here – I’ve requested judicial review, I’ve taken the (perhaps questionable step) of requesting a TRP from Seattle, I even sent some more documents to New York City (although I expect they’re just going to toss them in the trash, the fact they weren’t showing on the CAIPS notes I received yesterday bothered me because it means they didn’t consider my input into my own case.)  Rocking the boat means there’s a greater likelihood of getting wet.

I will be carrying a stack of documents with me though – “just in case”.  I suppose I’ll be appealing on H&C grounds (e.g., my spouse is in Canada, my home is in Canada, my job is in Canada, my employees are in Canada.)  Of course, I will also be showing that I’m not an imminent threat to cause the collapse of the Canadian health care system due to my excessive demand (let’s ignore the fact that my financial contributions alone far outstrip even the estimated costs.)

Ironically, the only real health issue I have right now is related to excessive stress.  Needless to say, this isn’t really what the doctor ordered.

Filing for a Temporary Resident Permit

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Awaiting a decision

So I’ve taken the plunge – my application is in the mail today. It includes all of the documents (hand-written – the Temporary Resident Permit (TRP) application has not been converted to an online fillable form AND it is region specific.) I have sent it to the nearest Consulate (Seattle). It includes the completed application, a (three page) cover letter and supplementary materials (which included the rejection letter from New York and the draft application for spousal sponsorship.)

I’ve not been able to determine what happens if the TRP is rejected, but I suspect it will make my life even more difficult.  On the other hand, I’ve put myself into a category in which the TRP is normally granted.  The one thing I have not done (yet) is actually file the spousal sponsorship application, as I’m waiting for my medical examination (February 6), my FBI clearance (when that happens remains an open question but this time around I used a credit card to pay the fee, so I should see when they charge it), and CRA income verification paperwork (for my spouse – even though income isn’t actually an issue in spousal cases.)  I also have a couple of supporting letters for which I have agreement from the people involved to write, they just have to be completed and signed off (and my sense is we have time to complete them.)

The entire package I sent to Seattle was around a half kilo (perhaps a bit more) of paper in support of the application.  It’s all pertinent material, and I hope that this is sufficient.

If I am successful in obtaining a TRP, my expectation is that it will be valid through September 2012 (when my work permit expires.)  Then I can file for an extension of both the work permit and TRP simultaneously.  By that time, my sponsored family class application should be well under-way and I would expect that both the work permit and the TRP will be renewed.

If I am NOT successful then I’m not exactly sure what my position will be.  At best it will be the same as I have now – the perennial threat of being refused entry into Canada at the border.  In the interim, I will keep a copy of my application materials with me whenever I have to travel out of the country (sadly, that’s a reality of the process at this point.)  I’ll be in a stronger position once the file has actually been submitted for processing.

To file for a temporary resident permit or not

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Canadian Visa

I’m mulling over whether or not the right thing to do now is to file for a temporary resident permit. Right now I’m in this peculiar limbo – I’m deemed “medically inadmissible” but as a US Citizen I can generally enter Canada without setting off any alarm bells.

I’ve had two lawyer’s throughout this process. Both of them have given me the same answer when I said “so, if I’m found medically inadmissible, are they going to stop me at the border and deny me entry?” In both cases the answer was “probably not.”

Personally, I find this untenable. I’ve got a multi-year lease on an apartment (I owned a place initially, but sold it after getting married and deciding we needed a bigger place,) my company has just renewed a multi-year lease on our offices here, I have people who work for me and depend upon my presence. Further, I have a new spouse who cannot afford the new apartment alone – and I’m not sure I can afford to pay for an extra place (in the US) should they refuse me entry.

Another complication here is that my current work permit expires in September (2012). My new attorney has suggested that I apply outland (at the border) in which case the form is slightly different – specifically, the question about medical conditions. So applying in country means I have to disclose the inadmissibility. Applying out of country means I don’t (because the condition is “manageable with medication”). My current attorney told me that an officer at the border could find out that I was deemed medically inadmissible, but the system with that information is separated from the system that they normally use – so it would require a bit of digging.

The safest thing to do would be to apply for a temporary resident permit (formerly known as a “minister’s permit”) but such things are entirely discretionary – and if I’m rejected for that then it seems very likely that I will be stopped and rejected at the border.

So it’s a bit of a gamble – can I convince that these things constitute legitimate “humanitarian and compassionate” reasons for issuing same. I’m using OP 20 as my guideline here, since understanding the criteria by which such an application is considered is quite useful.

The backup plan would be to simply have all the paperwork with me – in that case I could apply for a TRP at the Port of Entry.  That way, if they stop me I can at least try to get in.  I truly dread the idea of being forced to call everyone at home and say “sorry, but I’m not being allowed back into the country.”