Concerns are mounting over added powers Ottawa has granted U.S. customs officers to strip-search, question and detain U.S.-bound travellers — on Canadian soil.
The changes are part of Canada’s new preclearance act, which the federal government says will enhance border security and make travel to the U.S. easier.
But Pantea Jafari, an Iranian-Canadian immigration lawyer, fears it could make travel more difficult for her.
That’s because the act gives U.S. customs officers in Canada broader interrogation powers — at a time when the U.S. has toughened its stance on immigration and has increasingly hostile relations with Iran.
“I will not allow a border officer to have access to me and have unfettered right to question me to no end,” said Jafari, who’s based in Toronto and serves many Iranian clients.
Since the preclearance act took effect in August, she has stopped travelling to the U.S. and says the country’s current standoff with Iran has only strengthened her resolve.
“My concerns of going to the U.S. have now 100 times increased.”
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