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Please help me.... I'm at my darkest hour in my life...

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NJ_Lib Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-13-06 08:25 AM
Original message
Please help me.... I'm at my darkest hour in my life...
To the good people of DU,

I am going through the darkest hour of my life right now and need any kind of help anybody can offer to me and my family... Please, if you can think of ANYTHING that may help me, please let me know...

My grandmother who raised me as her own daughter, lives overseas in Israel and I have not seen her in over fifteen years... In the last few years she has been diagnosed with Parkinson's and is very sick right now. She has asked to see me and my daughter and we proceeded to plan a family reunion of sorts at my uncle's house in Ontario, Canada. We all made plans to fly into Canada on April 10th for this occasion. Since I live in New Jersey, I decided to drive. I researched before leaving on my trip, to find out what I will need in order to cross the border, and came prepared with all of the necessary paperwork.

On Tuesday morning we set out and drove all day until we reached the border at around 5pm. What proceeded qualifies as the worst night of my life. If I did not experience this myself, I would not believe the treatment I received. Long story short, they pulled us over and searched every inch of our car and opened up all of our bags. This took over an hour. When they did not find anything, they told me that my daughter may not cross without her father's permission. She's 17 years old!!! I offered to have a letter of permission faxed over by her father right away and that seemed to put the issue to rest. I thought we were done but I was so wrong... After another hour, I am called inside the building and told that I am denied entrance to Canada. I tried not to panic and proceeded to explain how important this trip was and this may be the last chance I have to see my ailing grandmother. She told me she didn't care and they would not allow "the likes of me" into Canada... I was stunned... What are you talking about, I asked her... She said: "You have a criminal record"... I told her she must be mistaken, that the only brush with the law I had was a shoplifting charge many years ago when I was young and stupid, this happened over fifteen years ago and I've long ago paid my debt to society... She said she didn't care if it happened 115 years ago, that I'm a criminal in their eyes and will not be permitted to enter. I was hysterical at this point, crying like I've never cried before but still very respectful with the officials. I begged her to look into this further and she responded with "Save your act for someone who cares, now get out now or I'll have you arrested"... If I ever wanted to die, this was the moment...

We spent the night there and yesterday morning went to the Canadian Consulate and begged for help... Nobody gave a crap and we were unable to find anybody who would help us... I may as well have robbed a bank the way they were treating me...

I cannot believe this... I have spent my entire adult life being a model citizen and would do anything to help anyone in need... Now that I need help, I cannot get a single person to care...

I am so frustrated and upset right now, I just don't know what to do... I feel like I'm falling deeper and deeper into the black hole of my mind and will never recover if I don't get to see my granmother before it's too late...

Please help me... Please... ANY ideas, ANyTHING at all that you think may help me, please tell me what it is... Instead of sitting here crying for hours on end, I need to do something to fix this... My grandmother is so upset over this that she has taken to her bed and will not come out of her room...

Please help my family... Anything you can think of would be most appreciated.

Thank you.

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Bassic Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-13-06 09:04 AM
Response to Original message
1. Ask for a pardon.
Edited on Thu Apr-13-06 09:05 AM by Bassic
If you can somehow get your record to be pardoned, you should be able to cross.

Sadly, this kind of stupid shit is true for both sides of the border. I know a guy who is barred from the states because customs officerss once found a 3/4 smoked joint, which wasn't even his, under the seat of his car.

Law enforcement is not a profession where judgement and case evaluation is smiled upon, especially at such administrative levels. It's black, or it's white.

Edit: Unfortunately, I have no idea how one goes about asking for a pardon in the U.S. State governors maybe?
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CanSocDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-13-06 09:12 AM
Response to Original message
2. When I was a truck driver and crossing regularly....

....every now and then I would encounter a border guard like you described. They are truly diabolical. One in N Dakota refused me entry for circumstances worse than yours, but since turning back with a truckload of fertilizer was out of the question, I just retreated back to the Canadian side and waited for the shift to change. When that happened, I again approached the border and after explaining my earlier "refusal" they let me carry on.

My point is that both sides of the border hire over zealous sociopaths and just because you, through the luck of the draw, encountered one, doesn't mean you are ineligible to enter. Keep calm and keep trying.....
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Bragi Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-13-06 10:11 AM
Response to Original message
3. Get a lawyer
If you are near a border, there is a good chance that you are near an immigration lawyer who knows about such things. Talk to one. If anyone can help, they can.

- B
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Swede Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-13-06 12:09 PM
Response to Original message
4. Try contacting the embassy or consulate.
Edited on Thu Apr-13-06 12:19 PM by Swede
I don't know if they will help. Sorry,sounds like you ran into an asshole and a bully.

Here's the government of Canada site.

Here's the US govenment site. Please contact someone here for help.
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NJ_Lib Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-13-06 02:38 PM
Response to Reply #4
5. Thank you very much for the links...

I will contact them right now to see if they can help me...

Thank you for caring... :hug:
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NJ_Lib Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-13-06 03:21 PM
Response to Reply #5
6. My Congressman doesn't care either...
Edited on Thu Apr-13-06 03:21 PM by NJ_Lib
Just heard back from my local congressman's office, Chris Smith... "Sorry Ma'am, there's nothing we can do"... Like I was holding my breath...

Been calling the Canadian Consulate all day, it's impossible to get a live person on the phone... I just can't believe this is happening... Nobody cares about average folks like me... All my life I've spent helping people and now that I need help, nobody can help, nobody cares... Well, I'm starting not to care either...

Sorry for the rant, I'm just dying inside right now... Such a steep price for such a stupid mistake...
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IntravenousDemilo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-13-06 09:46 PM
Response to Original message
7. The other remarkably sick thing...
Edited on Thu Apr-13-06 09:49 PM by IntravenousDemilo that your president and vice-president both have convictions for drunk driving, which in Canada is a felony. People with a DUI are regularly turned back at the border, in much the same way you were, but not Bush and Dick, oh no, we just wave them on through as if they're not the hardened criminals they are.

The sad part, Kelli, is that you're of much better character than either of them, I'm sure. And I'm not surprised that your congressman is a Republican. They're into the "zero-tolerance" hooey bigtime. Basically he doesn't want to do anything for you (unless perhaps you're a registered Republican yourself) -- it's not that he can't.

It would be so much easier if Good Friday weren't tomorrow. All government offices will be closed. What's our timeframe here? How long is your grandmother going to be in North America, and where are you right at this moment? At home or waiting at some border crossing? Is there any way grandma can come down and visit you, since she's sort of in the neighbourhood?
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NJ_Lib Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-14-06 08:32 AM
Response to Reply #7
8. The Chimp and his Helper are welcome in Canada...

Thank you so much for your caring note... You actually got me to smile with your comment about the Chimp and his helper... As we were going through all of this, my daughter turns to me and says: "Hey Mom, doesn't President Bush have a DWI conviction"? "Why is he allowed into Canada"? Out of the mouth of babes... You have to shake your head in amazement...

As far as POS Chris Smith, I'm sure the first thing he did was check my registration and when he saw I was a Democrat, he suddenly was not able to help me... May I remind A-Hole Smith that not all Democrats vote down the line? I told his little lackey to stop telling me he "can't" help me, because we both know if I was his niece, he would find ways to make this happen... "Oh no Ma'am, it would make no difference"... HA!!! Apparently not only am I a criminal, I'm a fool too...

We did stay overnight in Buffalo on Tuesday to see if there was anything we could do in the morning but by evening when no one would help us, we headed back home to Jersey, which is where I am now...

My grandmother will be in Canada for another two weeks but everything they want me to do (send away for FBI clearance), takes at least six to eight weeks... Can you imagine, an FBI clearance for a shoplifting charge that was pleaded down to a "disorderly Conduct"? I thought maybe if I can get a letter from that Police Department that I have not so much as had a speeding ticket since this incident in 1992, maybe that will help, but since the nearest border is over eight hours away from me, it's a big risk to take. If there was only a way I could clear entry before I arrive at the border but I don't think that's possible...

We thought maybe we would move our reunion to a hotel in Buffalo so at least we would be able to see each other, but my grandmother came from Israel so her visa only covers Canada, not the US... Since she's an old, sickly woman, they would probably approve an emergency visa for her to enter the US, but my uncles who are traveling with her (she's in a wheel chair), would never be granted a visa this easily, if at all...

Off course it's Good Friday so like you said, nothing can be done today, although I spent the day yesterday calling every agency I could think of and apparently, they all share the same heart of steel...

I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for your kind response. I wish you and your family a very happy Holiday! Please enjoy the time you have together. It's truly precious...

Thank you very much and Happy Easter to you! :hug:

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unschooler Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-18-06 09:50 PM
Response to Original message
9. How old were you when you were convicted of shoplifting?
I'm no expert, but I think many states will allow you to have your criminal record expunged if you were a juvenile at the time and if you "kept your nose clean" afterward. Check w/ a local criminal defense lawyer. It may take some time, but it would certainly be worth doing.
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