A U.K. national in Canada on a student visa says he and a friend were turned away at the U.S. border because they intended to go to Saturday's Women's March in Washington.
Joe Kroese said he and his Canadian friend were trying to cross the border with two Americans on Thursday. They had planned on spending the night in New York, where one of the Americans lived, before heading to the rally for women's rights in Washington, D.C.
But Kroese said the group was stopped and questioned while trying to cross into the U.S. from Quebec.
"They separated me from the other three and took my phone. They made me give my keycode from my phone and looked through it,'' he said. "She went through my messages and my emails and my Facebook.''
Demonstrators march on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., for the women's march on Saturday.
Eventually, the Americans were allowed to go on, but he and his Canadian friend were fingerprinted, photographed and turned away.
He says they had all the right documentation — the border agent told him that he wasn't allowed to cross because he had omitted information. Initially, he hadn't told border agents that he'd be going to the march, but when the agent asked for more details, he said he gave a full explanation.
And he said the Canadian was told that she couldn't cross because she was planning on attending a "potentially violent rally.''
Kroese said the Americans dropped him and his friend off in Montreal before heading back to the border and crossing.
"They separated me from the other three and took my phone. They made me give my keycode from my phone and looked through it.''
He ended up attending the Montreal chapter of the Women's March.
U.S. Border Services said in a written statement that it couldn't comment on specific cases due to privacy laws, but that it admits one million people into the U.S. every day, and only turns away about 600.
The statement noted that border officials can deny entry for a number of reasons, including improper travel documents, prohibited activities or intent and travelling under the Visa Waiver Program without qualifying for participation in that program.
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