- US border patrol officials say they tried to return a British family who crossed the northern border illegally but Canada refused to take them back.
- On October 2, seven members of the Connors family were detained by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents after they accidentally drove on a dirt road from British Columbia into Washington state.
- “Canada refused to allow their return and two attempts to contact the consulate for the United Kingdom were unsuccessful,” a CBP spokesperson told Insider on Tuesday.
- The family are currently in US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody at a Pennsylvania detention centre, awaiting deportation to the UK.
- In a sworn statement Eileen Connors, 24, said they accidentally crossed the border while trying to swerve out the way of an animal on the road.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
US border patrol officials say they tried to return a vacationing British family caught illegally crossing the border, but Canada wouldn’t take them.
On October 2, seven members of the Connors family were detained by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents after they drove down an unmarked track spanning the border between British Columbia and Washington state.
US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) was passed control of the family, and have detained them at a Pennsylvania location since October 5.
But CBP officials say they made every effort to send the Connors back to Canada, and even the UK.
“Canada refused to allow their return and two attempts to contact the consulate for the United Kingdom were unsuccessful,” a spokesperson told Insider’s Michelle Mark on Tuesday.
The Canada Border Service Agency did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
The Connors say their vehicle was forced to swerve down a track “to avoid an animal,” Eileen Connors, 24, said in her sworn statement provided to Insider by her attorneys.
CBP officers pulled over their vehicle and told them: “You crossed an international border,” Connors said, adding the officials refused when she asked to “simply turn around.”
CBP say they watched the family vehicle “slowly and deliberately driving through a ditch” into the US, on live security tape.
“During processing, record checks revealed two of the adults were previously denied travel authorization to come to the United States,” CBP told The Associated Press. A CBP official, who spoke with the Washington Post on condition of anonymity, said the family had $16,000 in cash on them when they were arrested.
The seven family members held at ICE’s Leesport facility are married couple David, 30, and Eileen, 24, Connors, and three-month-old baby, and David’s brother Michael Connors, his wife, Grace, and their two-year-old twin daughters.
The family is represented by Aldea, a citizen justice group, who told Insider: “Unlike the southern border, there are no markings, there is no fence, nothing that indicates one side of the street is the US and the other is Canada. It is separated by a strip of grass a few feet wide.”
“We will be traumatized for the rest of our lives by what the United States government has done to us,” the Connors family said in their statement.
“We have been treated like criminals here, stripped of our rights, and lied to.”
The UK’s Foreign Office said: “We are providing assistance to a British family after they were taken into custody in the USA and are in close contact with US Immigration and Customs Enforcement.”