US-Canada border, Point Roberts, Washington. No, not where these folks got lost.

[Story updated with new info, see note at end] A British couple and their 3-month-old baby are getting treated to the full force of immigration law under the Stephen Miller regime after accidentally entering the US on an unmarked back road that crossed the Canada-US border. For over a week, they've been in family immigration prison in Pennsylvania while the wheels of US immigration law slowly work at getting them deported for a wrong turn. Here's how it all went pear-shaped for the Connors family, according to the Washington Post:

Originally from the United Kingdom, the two couples and their three young children were driving near the U.S.-Canada border on Oct. 3 during a visit to Vancouver when an animal ventured into the road, forcing them to make an unexpected detour. But before the family could get very far, flashing lights from a police car appeared in their rearview mirror. The officer that pulled them over was American — they had accidentally crossed the border.

The brave Border Patrol agents ignored the miscreants' excuses that, as British citizens on valid passports, they were OK to visit the US. After all, they didn't cross at a port of entry, so clearly they were terrorists, human smugglers, or worse, maybe. In a complaint the family filed Friday with the Inspector General for the Homeland Security Department, Eileen Connors explained that they were all kept in a freezing, dirty Border Patrol facility, then flown to the Berks Family Residential Center in Leesport, Pennsylvania, and treated like the dangerous criminals they clearly are:

"We will never forget, we will be traumatized for the rest of our lives by what the United States government has done to us," Connors wrote in a sworn statement, later adding, "We have been treated like criminals here, stripped of our rights, and lied to. … It is undoubtedly the worst experience we have ever lived through."

Don't drive on a back road if you and your little baby can't do the time, lady.

ICE sent a statement to the Post denying the family's claims that the baby jail is "filthy," insisting that the detention center "provides a safe and humane environment for families as they go through the immigration process." We bet it's just like a summer camp!

The complaint says the Border Patrol agent arrested Eileen's husband, David, and a cousin who was driving, without reading them their rights. All the agent would say was "You crossed an international border," and he ignored their insistence it was all a mistake, because that's what they all say, isn't it?

Eileen Connors and the baby were separated from her husband and from another family travelling with them, and she was held in a freezing cell with only a mylar blanket, because when do agents at the northern border get to give the full icebox treatment to some illegals? There was no bed for the baby, and she wasn't given anything for him to lie on.

Then, after the first day, it was time for the runaround to get underway!

In the morning, immigration officers told the Connorses that they could be released if they provided contact information for any family member living in the United States who could sponsor them, the statement said. Luckily, a relative with U.S. citizenship agreed to help.

"We were ready for all of this to end," Connors wrote.

But hours later, the Connorses were informed that they wouldn't be leaving. There was "a change in plans," and soon after, they were loaded into a van in what "felt like an abduction or kidnapping," according to the statement.

David Connors was dropped off at the Tacoma Northwest Detention Center, while Eileen Connors and her baby were taken to a Red Roof Inn in Seattle to spend the night.

They were then taken to SEA-TAC International airport, and while Connors briefly thought they'd finally be sent back to Canada, nothing doing: off to the prison in Pennsylvania, which Connors says wasn't equipped to take care of a 3-month-old baby criminal. The other family ended up there as well.

The family also said ICE guards refused to let them contact their embassy, and had to rely on their family to do that.

In the statement, Eileen Connors wrote that she only learned that the embassy had tried to contact her and her family while they were detained on Oct. 7, accusing the center's staff of not passing along the message until it was too late in the day to call back.

After getting in touch with the embassy, Connors wrote that her family's situation started to improve. She observed staff members cleaning the facility and she was given a playpen and little tub for her son, according to the statement. ICE officials also suggested that the family would get to go home in the near future but did not provide details, Connors wrote.

Their attorney told the Post the family hopes to be released as soon as today. Or who knows, maybe they'll be jailed for months before they're finally deported, at great expense. America's like that these days. And anyone who thinks this was overkill clearly wants open borders, because the law is the law, and why should we believe a word of what a lawbreaking foreigner says? An animal blocked the road? Likely story! (Oh, Crom, why did we read the WaPo comments?)

UPDATE: US Customs and Border Protection is now saying it has surveillance video showing the families deliberately crossed the border by driving across a ditch between roads that don't intersect, and that, as WaPo puts it, "two of the family members had applied for travel authorization to visit the United States and were denied." An unidentified CBP official also said Canada had refused to take them back. Non-paywalled story here, also too. We don't automatically believe statements coming from DHS, but the story is officially "more complicated" now. We'll keep an eye on this, and let you know when we know more!

[WaPo / Update: WaPo / CBC / Photo: "Makaristos" at Wikimedia Commons, released to public domain]

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Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.


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