One month ago, 19-year-old Cedella Roman was jogging along the beach in White Rock B.C., and accidentally crossed the border into the United States. Without realizing it, Roman jogged all the way across the border line and into Blaine, Washington.
She stopped to take in the beautiful view and decided to turn back, but was stopped by two U.S. Border Patrol Officers who told her she was caught crossing the border illegally on their security cameras. Instead of getting let off with a warning, Roman was put into a caged vehicle and shipped off to a Detention Centre in Tacoma, Washington 200 kilometres away.
Roman was a visitor to Canada. She came all the way from France to stay with her mother, who lives in North Delta, British Columbia. She didn't have any ID or travel documents with her at the time.
In an interview with CBC, Roman says she was searched everywhere, forced to remove her jewelry and all of her personal belongings. "Then I understood it was getting very serious, and I started to cry a bit," she said.
Christiane Ferne, Roman's mother, described the lengthy, difficult process of getting her daughter back to Canada. She visited Roman several times while she was in custody, and had to present her daughter's documents to Immigration Canada to confirm her safe return.
Ferne told CBC News said that what happened to her daughter was "like a trap … anybody can be caught at the border like this."
One spokesperson for U.S. Customs and Border Protection told CBC said that what happened to Roman was standard procedure for illegal border crossings.
Map shows where #CedellaRoman was picked up by #USBorder guards & the 220km (136 miles) south to the #Tacoma Northwest Detention Center where she was detained for 15 days by #Immigration for accidentally crossing the border while #jogging— My Small Surrenders (@smallsurrenders) June 24, 2018
|#Canada #America #France pic.twitter.com/EDUzlpIiaW
"It is the responsibility of an individual travelling in the vicinity of an international border to maintain awareness of their surroundings and their location at all times to ensure they do not illegally cross the border," they said.
Roman was eventually released from the Detention Centre on June 6th, nearly two weeks after she was detained.