I have a relative who lives in a Canadian border town.
She was crossing the border with a friend the other day (as they and other locals do weekly if not daily). Her friend happened to make a comment about the border agent's sunglasses when they were a few cars from the gate with their windows closed. There was nobody outside of the car that could have possibly heard them, or so they thought.
When they approached the gate, the first thing the agent said to them was "what dont you like about my sunglasses?"
They ended up getting through, but it just goes to show you the type of game they're playing over there.
I'm assuming they had either lip readers assigned to multiple hidden cameras or directional antennaes manned by many workers inside.
I have personally been lied to numerous times by border agents. Perhaps they just acccused her of being mentally ill because she was going on the march of dimes tour and she got offended, who knows?
This strikes me as a great tactic, as I can imagine people that are preparing to lie to the authorities may be corroborating their story as they approach the gate.
What surprises me is that the border patrol officer would tip this hand over such a minor thing.
"you know how fast you were going?" "65?" "63." [kid freaks out]
"you feeling ok?" "yes sir" "did you say 'yes sir' or yeah sure'?" [kid freaks out]
I imagine that's how most of these stories go in real life. Cop's a bit of a jerk, victim freaks out and imagines all sorts of terrifying threats. And of course the story always gets better in the telling.
She might have simply lied to you about the whole incident.
Ironically (and sadly) TFA says that the US cannot talk about the issue due to privacy laws. Ha! That takes balls to say.
It's actually something I hadn't considered before - if you call 911 for an ambulance, that info goes in to police records/databases related to your name even if not about an arrest.
The lesson here isn't about secret sharing - it's that if you (or someone you care about) has an issue that may be used against you later, do everything in your power to go to the hospital yourself rather than calling 911.
It depresses me to think I just wrote that.
What would that information possibly be useful for?
Border agents may have access to confidential medical records of Canadians which they are using to screen visitors, but it certainly wasn't necessary in this case; a quick Google search turns up that she wrote a book about it, published under her own name: http://ellenrichardson.ca/bio/index.html
Whether we should be denying entry based on this criteria is certainly debatable, but the medical details in question in this case appear to have been made public by Ellen Richardson herself.
There may be a discrepancy with the dates, as the book and BIO obviously reference the initial incident from 2001 but I didn't see anything pre-dating this news about 2012 in 5 minutes of searching. At this point though, there are already grounds for denying entry, and 2001 vs 2012 becomes he-said-she-said.
I imagine she had a massive grin on her face as she said that.
Reading this story, my initial thought is - is there more to it? If indeed the US Border Agency does this, then why have we not heard more stories about this? And if this is the first case, then the future is very very scary.
If ever there was a story where "see attached" was appropriate, this is it.
Indeed. I would call Orwell prescient, but he was just extrapolating from his own personal experience in Spain.
Unfortunately, many people with a history of mild to moderate mental illness will have to lie about it to get holiday medical insurance. A regular policy is affordable. A policy with a disclosed history of mild to moderate mental illness is bafflingly expensive.
I would support reform that would reduce the downsides of seeking diagnosis/treatment. But absent such reform, it is irresponsible to counsel people to seek treatment without carefully weighing the upside and downside.
Someone getting treatment means they can stay alive, and have a decent quality of life.
I'll agree that discrimination law is not enforced enough, but the UK and the US (and probably other nations) have laws preventing discrimination against people with mental health problems during recruitment or employment.
I strongly recommend people with a mental health problem to seek treatment.
> it is irresponsible to counsel people to seek treatment without carefully weighing the upside and downside.
But people may lack capacity to judge the situation properly, especially if they don't seek early treatment and become more ill.
It's irresponsible to counsel people to not seek treatment (thus continuing to suffer MH problems) because of the hypothetical risk of problems in future.
If they would die otherwise or have a terrible quality of life, then yes, it's worth seeking treatment regardless of any stigma. But many people who seek treatment would not die or suffer serious harm otherwise; mental illness is not some kind of 100% death sentence, and it comes in a range of severities. Whether seeking treatment reduces or increases future risk becomes extremely sensitive to the precise condition, and estimates of the likely benefits and... anti-benefits of treatment. And that depends in part on the country and the legal regime.
The UK and US have some anti-discrimination laws. In addition to those, they have laws actively mandating discrimination against people who have been diagnosed with a mental illness, in a wide range of legal situations. Therefore it is critical that anyone who is considering applying that label to themselves, in such countries, considers the legal ramifications. Perhaps we'd like to live in a world where "seek professional advice, this is always the right decision and won't be held against you" were true, but in the US/UK, at least, it is not. Those countries choose, deliberately, to hold such diagnoses against people who receive them.
In other countries, like the Nordic countries, I would give the opposite advice. If you are a Norwegian citizen, seeking professional advice is nearly always the correct decision, because the care is good (and free), and the downsides minimal and strongly policed.
That's the concern. I have depression, and it's made me pause. I live in Australia - who knows what information the Australian government is sharing with the U.S.?
The problem is with someone giving her confidential medical records to the US, and with the US having a sub-optimal entry system for people with MH histories.
I fully respect the decisions the people make about their own lives. But I strongly feel that we don't fight stigma by not confronting the organisations that perpetuate that stigma.
> I have depression, and it's made me pause.
I agree it's scary and weird. I agree there's a bunch of stuff around "when to disclose an illness" during employment.
Hope you're doing good though!!
Perhaps vacations and trips are common catalysts for emotional or psychological disturbances which can invoke long, costly treatments?
And that's for countries which are mostly covered by the EU health insurance card (access to state medical care in Europe).
But... come on. She is a paraplegic - this is not someone who is a threat to the safety of others. Or... to the extent she's a threat, she's s a threat whether she's on US soil or not (ability to organize violent/terrorism from abroad via the internet).
Oooh! The Kardashians did something again!
The fluff takes your mind off the twisting of laws and violations of human rights...
If it's not the fluff that does the distracting, it's the threat of some looming enemy like Al Quaeda or Iran or Syria...
Maybe the only solution is to do something drastic, like everyone naming their kid the same name, ie. John or Jane Smith. They can call them whatever name they want at home, but for any formal documentation, everyone could use the same name. This might make it extremely hard for governments to share information back and forth like this is all they have a birth date and birthplace to go off of.
This story is only the opening round. Like other stories, there may be a mundane explanation. She may have posted on some website or something. Or have had something referencing her depression in her belongings. I'm glad Canada is investigating, but I'd say it's a bit premature to say that the Canadian government is sharing private medical records, wholesale.
In it to win it!
For Canadians, many international flights leave from the US airports close to the border. Normally, it shouldn't be a problem, but you can never be sure they'll let you into the country to catch your flight. Every trip becomes somewhat of a gamble.