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Kathryn41

TN border woes

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Filed: Citizen (apr) Country: Canada
Timeline

http://www.cbc.ca/canada/british-columbia/...derblocked.html

U.S. border guards bar skilled Canadian from his job

Technician says increased protectionism at U.S. border is unfair

A highly skilled Canadian telecommunications specialist who worked in Utah for more than a decade has suddenly been denied entry into the U.S. in a case he and others say highlights the increasing difficulties Canadians are facing at the American border.

bc-080331-gp-border1.jpg

In a B.C. motel where he is now staying, Kevin Gibbons, right, shows Go Public reporter Kathy Tomlinson his numerous job qualifications and visas, which he says are not good enough for U.S. border guards.

(CBC)

"Is there a war going on [at] the border that we don't know about?" Kevin Gibbons asks. "Why are Canadians getting hassled so much right now?"

Gibbons is devastated because, he said, for the first time in his life, he's looking for a job and a new home — thanks to the discretion of U.S. border guards.

"I still can't believe that this can happen. They can take your life and trash it," said Gibbons.

Need to 'protect American job market'

A spokesperson for U.S. Customs and Border protection said there is an increased demand on border guards to be very thorough with NAFTA applicants.

"We do have a commitment at the border to protect the American job market," said Jan Pete of Customs and Border Protection in Blaine, Wash.

bc-080331-gp-border4.jpg

Jan Pete, of U.S. Customs and Border Protection in Blaine, Wash., says new technology is causing U.S. border guards to exercise increased scrutiny.

(CBC)

"While this (NAFTA visa) is a benefit that's available to Canadians and we have an obligation to see that they get that benefit — we also have an obligation to make sure that we only allow those people in that should be allowed in," Pete said.

Gibbons was recruited by a large U.S. company in 1995, to work as a scientific technician for their Salt Lake City office. He was granted a work visa issued to non-immigrant NAFTA professionals, known as a TN Visa. Gibbons said his company's law firm also secured a permanent waiver, which he needed because of a marijuana possession conviction he received as a teenager.

Over the next 12 years, Gibbons said he acquired several U.S. security clearances and built a highly successful career.

"I worked for the airport communications systems," Gibbons said. "I installed a 911 system by myself down there. I have worked on their infrastructure and I have probably done more than most of the American citizens have to build their infrastructure."

Gibbons and his wife Heather bought a home in Utah. Their daughter married an American serviceman and they now have two U.S.-born grandchildren.

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Kevin Gibbons and his wife Heather say overzealous U.S. border guards have forced them to leave everything behind in Utah, including a newborn grandson.

(CBC)

Barred from his job, U.S. home

In July 2007, the family came back to Canada to visit relatives. Gibbons said he was shocked when U.S. border guards denied him re-entry, despite his valid work visa.

"I was stunned," Gibbons said. "They pretty much just slammed the door on me and said you can't go home."

Gibbons said he was told he needed to get a new waiver for his 30-year-old marijuana conviction. He turned his family around and spent four months in Canada, applying for and getting the waiver, while his company kept his job for him.

His dilemma worsened when he tried to go home again. A new U.S. border guard refused to allow him in, despite the new waiver, because, Gibbons said, the guard decided Gibbons suddenly wasn't qualified for his job or his visa.

'[A U.S. border guard] took my credentials, put them aside and told me they were garbage.'
— Kevin Gibbons

"He took my credentials, put them aside and told me they were garbage. I was told they were of no use for the classification that I was seeking that I had had for 13 years," said Gibbons. "It was a discretionary call on his part and I was just trying to follow the rules."

Gibbons said he was told, for a NAFTA visa, he now needed a university degree. He said his impression was the border guards thought he was trying to steal a job from an American, when in fact, he said, his company can't find a qualified American to take his place.

"It was a specialized field that I had a passion for," he said. "This experience has almost torn the life out of me."

Pete confirmed applicants under categories like scientific technician face more scrutiny because they don't need to have a university degree.

"They are difficult to adjudicate and difficult for people to provide the documentation to support that they are qualified for the job," said Pete.

Gibbons said he was allowed to travel back to Utah, temporarily, to sell his home — at a huge loss — and collect the family belongings. Since coming back to Canada, he's tried to cross again, unsuccessfully, at other ports of entry — because his U.S. employer still wants him back. Gibbons said, each time, he was made to feel more and more like a criminal.

bc-080331-gp-border3.jpg

NAFTA visa applicants should be prepared for tough scrutiny at the U.S. border, says Vancouver lawyer David Andersson.

(CBC)

"They (Customs and Border Protection) then accused me of border shopping and said they were going to put me in jail over the weekend up in front of an immigration judge," said Gibbons.

That threat was enough to scare the Gibbons family away from the border permanently.

"It feels like we must have done something really horrible, the way they treat you," said Gibbon's wife Heather.

Family forced to start over

The family is in Nanaimo, B.C., living out of suitcases, while Gibbons looks for work. He estimates the ordeal has cost them $100,000 in lost wages and home equity. What's worse, Gibbons said, the couple has have a grandson — born in Utah in December — that they haven't seen because they are too afraid to risk crossing again.

"The hardest parts for me is that the punishment has been taken out on my family as well and they don't deserve it," said Gibbons. "We had a life there and it was a good life and when it is taken from you for no reason, it is so traumatic."

'The border has become a harder place.'
— Vancouver lawyer David Andersson

"The stakes are higher when you show up at a port of entry," said David Andersson, a Vancouver lawyer who specializes in helping clients get U.S. visas. "The border has become a harder place."

Andersson said three NAFTA categories have become increasingly problematic: scientific technician — which was Gibbons's category — computer systems analyst and management consultant.

"You fall into what a friend of mine who is a border guard has affectionately called the fraud funnel," Andersson said. "There is a predisposition to give your immigration application a really good kick because there are people who do abuse those categories."

"I wouldn't say there's more deliberate fraud," said Pete. "I would say sometimes the employer is uninformed."

Pete said several recruits who have been allowed entry in the past are now being refused.

"The new technology that we have ever since 9-11 and the increased demand on the officers to make sure that there are no errors in the people they admit to the United States encourage them to be very thorough," said Pete. "They review documentation very thoroughly and they take each case very seriously."

Many more Canadians barred

Andersson said, the consequences for Canadians who try to cross multiple times are much more serious than before 9-11. Applicants can now be barred from the U.S. for five years, possibly for life, for trying to cross too many times without proper documents. Andersson said he knew of only a dozen such cases in the Seattle area in 2000, but that number shot up to some 300 Canadians barred last year, in the Seattle area alone.

"For the 300 who receive the (deportation) orders, it's devastating, absolutely devastating. And to repair yourself legally after you've been deported from the United States is expensive, time-consuming, and for the people it can be heart-wrenching," said Andersson.

His advice to NAFTA visa applicants is to do everything possible to make sure all paperwork is in order before trying to cross the first time.

That advice means little to Kevin Gibbons, though. His company provided a lawyer who told him his visa was in order.

"We've tried to do everything right and they've made the hoop smaller every time," said Gibbons.

Edited by Kathryn41

“...Isn't it splendid to think of all the things there are to find out about? It just makes me feel glad to be alive--it's such an interesting world. It wouldn't be half so interesting if we knew all about everything, would it? There'd be no scope for imagination then, would there?”

. Lucy Maude Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

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Another Member of the VJ Fluffy Kitty Posse!

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Filed: Other Timeline

I wonder why, after so many years the company had not sponsored him for a green card? A TN needs to be re-applied every year. Eventually it'll be denied because its supposed to be temporary, and after so many of them, they're gonna say "hey, you've been down here long enough, nope, no more".

Sad, but true.


divorced - April 2010 moved back to Ontario May 2010 and surrendered green card

PLEASE DO NOT PRIVATE MESSAGE ME OR EMAIL ME. I HAVE NO IDEA ABOUT CURRENT US IMMIGRATION PROCEDURES!!!!!

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Filed: Citizen (pnd) Country: Canada
Timeline

I'm just damn happy I'm not on a TN anymore. I had some questions before about my TN in the 90's and early 2000's but nothing other then holding me extra in the secondary inspection. For the most part I was fine, but one I was told to switch my category from Scientific Tech to something else. Seems that's what this guy is on and that one holds the most problems as it's so vague that most border guards can't agree on the rules of that one.

All the other categories are straight forward for the most part. But yeah you'd think if that was a great job and they really need him they definatly should have gotten the green card started.

We had family friends that got caught at the border once, he moved to a new job without a new TN, the wife and kid went to Canada for a visit, got denied entry and turned out he lost his job, they're home and everything they still had in storage that they hadn't transfered over to the new home. One of the reasons I lived pretty light knowing that at any time someone could deny me for whatever reason...


I'm just a wanderer in the desert winds...

Timeline

1997

Oct - Job offer in US

Nov - Received my TN-1 to be authorized to work in the US

Nov - Moved to US

1998-2001

Recieved 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th TN

2002

May - Met future wife at arts fest

Nov - Recieved 6th TN

2003

Nov - Recieved 7th TN

Jul - Our Wedding

Aug - Filed for AOS

Sep - Recieved EAD

Sep - Recieved Advanced Parole

2004

Jan - Interview, accepted for Green Card

Feb - Green Card Arrived in mail

2005

Oct - I-751 sent off

2006

Jan - 10 year Green Card accepted

Mar - 10 year Green Card arrived

Oct - Filed N-400 for Naturalization

Nov - Biometrics done

Nov - Just recieved Naturalization Interview date for Jan.

2007

Jan - Naturalization Interview Completed

Feb - Oath Letter recieved

Feb - Oath Ceremony

Feb 21 - Finally a US CITIZEN (yay)

THE END

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Filed: IR-1/CR-1 Visa Country: Canada
Timeline

Is that how the US treats its neighbors? Horrible.

I guess it's par for the course though. I'm working on our review of the Ambassador Bridge/Detroit POE, so more stories of zealous Border Patrol officers abusing their discretion to come.


CR1 application

I-130: 03/26/2007-07/02/2007 at NSC

NVC: 07/20/2007-11/08/2007

Interview at Montreal Consulate: 01/18/2008

(2 months' additional security checks)

Received Green Card: 05/12/2008

Removal of Conditions

I-751: 2/25/10-

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Is that how the US treats its neighbors? Horrible.

Neighbors with drug convictions, yeah. But they buried that part of his story deep in the article...as they did when this story broke two weeks ago.

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Filed: AOS (apr) Country: Canada
Timeline
Is that how the US treats its neighbors? Horrible.

Neighbors with drug convictions, yeah. But they buried that part of his story deep in the article...as they did when this story broke two weeks ago.

ZING!!!!!


AOS Timeline

12/05/2007 - Mailed AOS package

07/03/2008 - Received Welcome Letter and Green Card in Mail.

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Filed: Country: Canada
Timeline
I wonder why, after so many years the company had not sponsored him for a green card? A TN needs to be re-applied every year. Eventually it'll be denied because its supposed to be temporary, and after so many of them, they're gonna say "hey, you've been down here long enough, nope, no more".

Sad, but true.

True enough... the TN is meant to be a temporary status... if he's been there for over 10 years with a house.. that takes the look of being pretty permanent... and TN isn't for permanent employment...

If the guy wasn't taking the job of an American and his employer really valued him, then he should have had no problem getting a labor certification with an H1 and subsquently a GC... We have a person here who's doing exactly that... She's on a TN, but is currently applying for an H1-B so she can get a GC, because she intends to stay here permanently...

You can't keep on getting TNs for years and years... the point of it is to try to move into other visas eventually, but to allow our neighbors the quick route to get started... Sounds this is a case of his employer and attorney let him down (and his not caring enough to make his status more stable, the attorney should have told him how unstable the TN is)... the CBP was really just doing their job... It's so much easier to make the Government look the bogey man...

Edited by zyggy

Knowledge itself is power - Sir Francis Bacon

I have gone fishing... you can find me by going here http://**removed due to TOS**

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Filed: K-1 Visa Country: Canada
Timeline

^^ Your post is very interesting because now that I'm almost about to apply for K1 I find that Canadians are always quick to ask me why I just don't get a work visa and move there. I find that there is a misconception with "work visas" and them being permanent. I always tell people that I don't want a work visa even if I could get one (I'm pretty sure I can't) I want to stay permanently!


Removing Conditions

Sent package to VSC - 8/12/11

NOA1 - 8/16/11

Biometrics - 9/14/11

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