01 September 2008 ~ 0 Comments

Welcome to America – Here We Make 'Criminals' Out of Jet-Skiers

This news story feeds perfectly into the socio-political construction of the migrant criminal / ‘inmate’ touched upon in the last blog post. It also shows the ludicrousness and tragicomic hilarity of our archipelagos of detention.

Two jet skiers that had an accident in Lake Ontario and were “washed UP” or even swam into the United States, were held in detention as INMATES courtesy the U.S. border patrol for two days, until the Canadian consulate and media got on the case. They are now undergoing ‘REMOVAL PROCEEDINGS” and may be barred from entrying the United States for as long as 5 years.

All Canadian jet-skiers, in the future, carry your passport in a waterproof case, in case you get washed up on the U.S. shore–the agents will throw you into immigrant detention centers–estimated at $88 per day paid for by your dear American taxpayers–after dragging you out of hospital.

Here is the article, courtesy The Toronto Star:

In hindsight, it wasn’t the best move to stop on Yankee soil and empty out a waterlogged jet ski, admitted Jason Haist, who spent two days locked in an American detention facility after washing up on the wrong side of the Niagara River.

But what choice did he have?

His cousin Edward’s Sea-Doo had flipped over in the turbulent river and had taken on water. They hauled the craft over to the American side, and spent “two seconds” emptying it with cups, he said.

“We were at the bottom of a 15-storey hill; you could not climb up there if you tried. We weren’t even docked,” said Haist. “And we really weren’t sure what side we were on.”

That stop landed the 28-year-old and his cousin, 21, in jail, said A.J. Price, an agent with U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

They were released from a Batavia, N.Y., detention centre yesterday on a promise to appear. “It’s been pandemonium. It’s been so crazy. A simple day of Sea-Dooing, just a regular guy, turned into ‘we’re inmates,'” said Haist.

Haist and his cousin, both of Toronto, are frequent jet skiers on Lake Ontario, but not as experienced with the strong undercurrents typical of the Niagara River.

Despite the Sea-Doo flip they thought they were getting the hang of the rough waters. Around 8 p.m. Saturday, Haist was knocked off the jet ski. He doesn’t remember much. The Coast Guard pulled him out and he was taken to hospital, unconscious with lungs full of water.

“Then at 10 p.m., I’m lying in my hospital bed and Eddy calls me … He goes ‘we’re going to jail.’ I’m like, ‘what?’ I have tubes down my throat.” Discharged about 3 a.m., Haist was promptly arrested.

“We were like, totally freaking-out … Eddy’s still wearing his wet suit. There’s a cold, hard floor and one blanket,” he said. “We wouldn’t believe this was happening.”

Haist called his girlfriend. “I said, ‘you’ve got to call the radio and newspapers … They’re talking about holding us here for months.'”

By yesterday morning, officials had changed their tune.

“They kind of just said to me, ‘today the media’s all involved in this.’ We got the Canadian consulate people calling, get your stuff and get out of here,” said Haist, who returned home. Price says the men never “washed up” on U.S. soil.

“That’s a big misconception. They swam to shore, and that was after the accident,” the agent said. “And that is not the only landfall (coming ashore on the American side) they made that day and that is why they’re in removal proceedings.”

It may be more than two weeks before the Haists see a judge and plead their case. They could be barred from entering the United States for as long as five years.

I don’t think any Canadian would be doing a “Michael Phelps” without ‘documentation’ anytime soon, accident or no accident. This is almost right up there with jailing hurricane / cyclone evacuees!

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