Some irritants

Print edition : May 09, 2003

ONE of the causes for Canada's unhappiness with U.S. security rules has been the case of a Canadian of Indian origin who was "humiliated" by officials at Chicago airport.

The Kerala-born Berna Cruz related to this correspondent how she was deported back to India after she tried to return to Canada. She said that on arrival in Chicago en route to Toronto, she was pulled aside and accused of carrying a fake passport. The officials concerned would not believe that she had only stopped over in Chicago on her way to India and that immigration officials at the Toronto airport and in Chicago had cleared her. They said her passport was possibly made in Sri Lanka, "They asked me how come I have a name like Berna Cruz. They said how come I don't have a name like Singh," she said, adding, "When I began crying, they told me to stop shedding crocodile tears. They asked me if I would like to go back or stay in jail." Berna said that officials did not even allow her to contact the Canadian Embassy. "Luckily, the pilot of the Kuwait Airways plane said he would help me once he gets to Kuwait. The Canadian Embassy in Kuwait issued a new passport. The pilot's daughter contacted my parents in Kerala and my children elsewhere in India," Berna wrote to the Canadian Prime Minister . She had not received a reply from the Canadian government. Informed sources said that the Canadian government was piqued by the U.S. action and the matter was raised in Parliament. The issue also came up in the U.S. Congress.

A Sikh woman also came forward with a similar tale of harassment by U.S. officials.

This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor