A group of Canadians were denied entry into the U.S. on Thursday after disclosing that their reason for visiting was to attend the Women's March on Washington in the nation's capital, The Guardian reports.
When the group, which included six Canadians and two French nationals, got to the land crossing border in Quebec they were upfront about their plans with the border patrol. "We said we were going to the women’s march on Saturday and they said, 'Well, you’re going to have to pull over'," Montrealer Sasha Dyck told The Guardian. In the two-hour ordeal that followed, the group was fingerprinted and photographed, as well as had their cell phones and cars searched.
After the search, the border patrol denied entry to the two French citizens, and told them that they would need a visa for all future entry to the U.S. The rest of the group, who were all Canadian citizens, were also denied entry and told that if they tried to cross the border again this weekend, they would be arrested. They weren't given any justification or explanation.
The experience was a sharp contrast to what Dyck previously experienced when he crossed the border for Obama's inauguration in 2009. "I couldn’t even get in for this one, whereas at the other one, the guy at the border literally gave me a high five when I came in and everybody was just like, 'welcome'," he said.
Dyck's group was not the only ones to be turned away at the border on Thursday and subject to questions of political affiliation. Montreal resident Joseph Decunha, who was traveling with two Americans, said they were also straightforward at the border and told them of their plans to attend the inauguration and the women's march. They were then taken for secondary processing. "The first thing he asked us point blank is, 'Are you anti- or pro-Trump?'" Decunha told the CBC. Decunha was denied entry to the U.S. and said that he felt that "if we had been pro-Trump, we would have absolutely been allowed entry."
While it makes sense that during this transitional period the border patrol would be practicing extra high security, the fact that they asked the political affiliation of each group feels like only the beginning of a future in which anyone who isn't "pro-Trump" will be denied access to their rights as citizens. And so it begins.