Canadians turned away crossing border to head to Women’s March

BURLINGTON, ON, CANADA (WIVB) — Denise Davy sits in her living room, still smiling, reminiscing about her first trip to Washington, DC.

“It was almost a visceral reaction,” said Davy, from Burlington, Ontario. “I just had to participate in this march.”

She’s among the more than 600 Canadian who made the trek, traveling to the United State’s capital for the Women’s March.

“Women’s issues are human rights issues,” said Davy. “Women’s rights are human rights so they very much speak to that and that crosses borders whether you’re American or Canadian.”

Customs and border protection is reporting they saw a significant increase this weekend versus the weekend last year – a 14% increase.

“We had buses of people going down to DC for the march, people coming in their private vehicles stating they were going down to the march,” said Agent Aaron Bowker with CBP.

Agent Bowker says more than 100,000 people crossed over this weekend; 95 of those crossing were stopped, not allowed entry; and of those 95, eight, were heading to the nation’s capital for the march.

“Anytime anyone is refused into the country for admissibility reasons its not something that’s taken lightly,” said the Agent.

Davy says she didn’t have any issues getting into the United States from Canada and says everyone, including customs agents, were very friendly.

“The customs guards, actually, as soon as she found out why I was going, had a big smile on her face and said ‘Have a good time.’,” said Davy.

She says after hearing about people from her country being turned away, she’s very grateful she was allowed in to experience the Women’s March on Washington.

“I can’t imagine what that must be like,” said the Burlington native. “To psych yourself up for it and then to be held back would be extremely disappointing.”

“People were upset and they have a right to be upset but we also a job that we’re doing,” said Agent Bowker.

Bowker couldn’t disclose information about why some people were allowed in and the eight others weren’t. He also couldn’t state which location they were trying to enter the United States from, adding it wasn’t any of the Buffalo locations (Peace Bridge, Rainbow Bridge, or Queenston-Lewiston). He suggests future travelers looking to enter the U.S. for events like marches and protests, especially those looking to come with large groups, should give border agents a heads up and it should make the process easier.

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