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Reply #5: Papers please... [View All]

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Home » Discuss » Places » Michigan Donate to DU
cyborg1966 Donating Member (41 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-30-09 03:11 AM
Response to Original message
5. Papers please...
You have to have a passport unless you live in a border state. The passport is not to get into Canada, but to get back into the US.

I live in Michigan, within walking distance of the border. I don't go across as much as I used to, because since 9/11 the border guards on the US side too often behave like Gestapo wannabes and treat me like a criminal just because I went to Canada. I rarely have trouble on the Canadian side.

I've been crossing the border for 20+ years, and I've learned a few things about border guards, both American and Canadian.

Don't volunteer information they don't ask for.

Don't joke about anything.

Don't be a smartass.

Answer every question truthfully.

Returning - keep what you purchased in Canada in sight and KEEP YOUR SALES RECEIPTS!!!!

Canada - they almost always ask if you've got any weaponry, from firearms down to pepper spray.

Avoid taking tobacco and alcohol either way if you can help it, unless you bought it at the duty free shop, in which case they'll already know you've got it.

You'll see quite a few skin mags in Canada that you probably wouldn't see here. Don't try to bring any back across. They can be confiscated, and depending on content, you can be prosecuted.

Don't try to bring any Cuban cigars back. If you so desire, smoke them in Canada.

Don't bring media of a political nature back. I haven't been across since Obama was elected, but last summer I was held for almost 90 minutes largely because I had a Toronto newspaper that had some anti-Bush editorials in it. If you buy any sort of books by Canadian authors questioning US policies, mail them home.

US Customs now have the authority to confiscate your cellphone, laptop, etc., without giving you a reason why, and they don't have to give it back to you.

US Customs officers are armed and have arrest powers. Canadian Customs officers are not armed (though this may change) and do not have arrest powers (though they can hold you for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police).

On the US side, many federal courts (though not the Supreme Court) have ruled that Customs officers have virtually unlimited powers of investigation. The Fourth Amendment does not apply.

Good luck.
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