Two American citizens encountered quite a bit of land turbulence upon returning from visits to Canada:
When Buffalo, New York couple Akram Shibly and Kelly McCormick returned to the U.S. from a trip to Toronto on Jan. 1, 2017, U.S. Customs & Border Protection officers held them for two hours, took their cellphones and demanded their passwords.But the story doesn't end there:
"It just felt like a gross violation of our rights," said Shibly, a 23-year-old filmmaker born and raised in New York. But he and McCormick complied, and their phones were searched.
Three days later, they returned from another trip to Canada and were stopped again by CBP.
"One of the officers calls out to me and says, 'Hey, give me your phone,'" recalled Shibly. "And I said, 'No, because I already went through this.'"
The officer asked a second time..
Within seconds, he was surrounded: one man held his legs, another squeezed his throat from behind. A third reached into his pocket, pulling out his phone. McCormick watched her boyfriend's face turn red as the officer's chokehold tightened.
Then they asked McCormick for her phone.
"I was not about to get tackled," she said. She handed it over.
This kind of racial profiling and 'lawful' seizure of telephones should give all of us pause; any Canadians travelling to the U.S. are its potential victims, although clearly, if you are white and have a non-Arabic name, your chances of passing through unmolested are greater. But I come back to a fundamental question that prompted me to start my personal travel boycott: Do we really want to patronize a country that once welcomed foreigners but now stigmatizes, bullies and excludes them?
Finally, it is worth noting that Girl Guides of Canada has decided to cancel trips to the U.S.
"While the United States is a frequent destination for Guiding trips, the ability of all our members to equally enter this country is currently uncertain," international commissioner Sharron Callahan and director of provincial operations Holly Thompson wrote in a joint advisory issued Monday afternoon.This decision comes amidst many other groups and Canadian school boards contemplating trip cancellations for the same reason.
"This includes both trips that are over or under 72 hours and any travel that includes a connecting flight through an American airport," the advisory says.
The statement does not directly mention — but appears to be a reaction to — the executive orders U. S. President Donald Trump has signed restricting travel to the United States.
The American love of money is well-known. It seems only logical that they should now learn via commercial interdiction the price to be paid for choosing a racist, paranoid demagogue as their president. Many of them may love the Trump message, but worldwide, far more do not.