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So, Monday's my birthday. My mom had four packages shipped to me for… - to canada with love

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September 2nd, 2005

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05:55 pm
So, Monday's my birthday. My mom had four packages shipped to me for birthday gifts. We had them shipped to my brother in law's box at mailboxes plus in Blaine, WA. However, my canadian born and bred brother in law was stopped at the border and the items were seized. They claimed that he "lied" to them, because he said the value of everything was $150 (which it was). One of the items was a down comforter, bought for 59.99 at overstock.com, but the genius officers decided that it was worth $200 and that my brother in law lied to them. The receipt for it wasn't there, for some reason, possibly because it fell out. Who knows. I do have an online receipt. Because of this "lie" they held up my brother in law for 4 hours, fingerprinted him, and told him that he could never cross the border again. He also had to pay $170 to claim the seized items.

Apparently, if we can prove that he wasn't lying about the cost, he will get his money back and an apology, but I honestly don't ever expect to hear one of those jerks say "I'm sorry."

No offense if any of you work or have family who works at the border.

(2 comments | Leave a comment)


[User Picture]
Date:September 3rd, 2005 07:35 am (UTC)
My wife's family mails us presents all the time for birthdays etc. When ny wife first came up all her stuff was at her parents and she would email her mom and get her to send specific things she needed. We've never had a problem. I know you can save a bit of money if you mail to a US address but you know only too well the complications that can arise.
[User Picture]
Date:September 15th, 2005 05:21 am (UTC)

Power corrupts. Absolute power...

I've been working as an immigration lawyer for some 12 years, and appreciate the delicacy and understanding in the way you express this problem.

There's a systemic problem at US immigration and customs inspection, both on the borders and at many airports. These are considered places where constitutional rights essentially do not exist. What makes it worse is that the management of Homeland Security (and INS before it) does not punish officers who overreach, but does punish those who make mistakes in the other direction. Bureaucrats are just as human as the rest of us: if there are incentives to act like an a******, it's going to be hard not to fall into that behavior at least sometime. It's a shame. If you've ever read Prof. Zimbardo's Stanford prison experiments, you'll recognize the idea (www.prisonexp.org/).

US politicians are always pushing for privatization; I wish they'd hire a Canadian company to manage US immigration matters. Visitors wouldn't be left trembling after crossing the border. :~)

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