A Backpacker Caught In Immigration’s Maze

A Backpacker Caught In Immigration’s Maze

A man from Uruguay who had been backpacking through North America and doing volunteer work along the way was trying to head to Canada on the last day of his U.S. visa — and ended up in a U.S. detention center instead. Our client was arrested at the border and charged with overstaying his visa by 30 minutes when the reason he overstayed is that he had been detained and was not allowed to leave the US at the border with Canada!

Our client did not realize that he needed a Canadian visa to cross from Washington State to Canada. He had previously been backpacking all over Europe and South America and did not need separate visas to cross from one country to the next, so assumed the same was true for the US and Canada. He arrived at the Canadian border on June 14, the last day that his US Visa was valid; however, Canada would not accept him. By the time he found out Canada wouldn’t accept him, it was too late: He’d already officially left the United States, and in the confusion, too much time had passed. It was half an hour past midnight, and his U.S. visa had expired.

The client was trying to leave the US, but instead found himself detained at the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma, WA where he had been kept for more than a month when Steve Tanijo met him. Steve agreed to take the case on Pro-Bono and was eventually able to get the client released. This case garnered National and International attention, including coverage in the LA Times http://www.latimes.com/nation/nationnow/la-nn-na-backpacker-immigration-half-hour-20140707-story.html

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A man from Uruguay who had been backpacking through North America and doing volunteer work along the way was trying to head to Canada on the last day of his U.S. visa — and ended up in a U.S. detention center instead. Our client was arrested at the border and charged with overstaying his visa […]

Project Details

Date September 08, 2016
Categories Family/Removal Based Immigration

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