Dorothy Grant in 2015, when she was name to the Order of Canada. Photo: Dorothy Grant
Canada | Opinion

Dorothy Grant: Getting treated like a criminal at the US-Canada border

Haida artist Dorothy Grant is a member of the Order of Canada and was recently profiled as one of the 150 most important citizens of British Columbia. But her accolades didn't stop her from being profiled for a different type of treatment at the United States-Canada border:
I have been an artist and fashion designer for 35 years. I was born in Alaska, and for 38 years I’ve lived in Canada. Today was not a good day. I was pulled over at the Canadian border for what was not a random check. This was different, as I’ve crossed the border several thousand times. The patrol officer looked at me, grabbed his yellow pad, and started writing, asking me numerous questions. I immediately knew I was going inside for more questioning. I asked him if this was a random check, and he said, “No, it is not, we are selecting some Nexus people.”

NEXUS is a joint program with the Canada Border Services Agency that offers prescreened, approved travelers faster processing when entering the United States and Canada. NEXUS cards provide dedicated lanes to avoid fewer questions by agents and long inspection lines. Customs and Border Patrol estimates that it takes NEXUS card holders 10 seconds at the border guard’s inspection booth.

I immediately thought of racial profiling: “What’s a brown girl doing with a nice car? Why is she so confident? She seems too perfect, something must be wrong with her.” Two Border Patrol agents tell me to go inside and wait while they search my car. They take my cell phone and demand my password. I put my finger on it to open it with my fingerprint, but that’s not good enough. They need my password. I then answer 21 questions and over and over again with a few of the same to try to trip me up and make me nervous. I have nothing to be nervous about. I am straight, direct, and honest with receipts ready. Still they detain me.

Read More on the Story:
Dorothy Grant: Not My Canada Day or July 4, Crossing Borders Is Getting Harder (Indian Country Media Network 7/4)