Tourism

Aussie detained for overstaying US visa by 90 mins

Hannah Edensor

An Aussie man has been locked up by immigration officials in the US for overstaying his visa by 90 minutes.

Less than a week after the story of an Aussie couple’s US holiday nightmare broke, Canberra man Baxter Reid, 26, has become the latest victim of harsh border control policies.

Per Fairfax reports, Reid is in the States on a five-year visa that requires him to leave the US every six months before renewing it.

Reid and his American girlfriend, Heather Kancso, were attempting to travel to Canada out of upstate New York, per Fairfax, when they were stopped at the border.

Reid’s father told Fairfax the couple arrived at the border at 10pm Saturday, April 23, with Reid’s visa set to expire at midnight.

“For some reason the Canadians kept them until 1:30am and then they refused them entry,” he said.

“They returned them to the United States and by then they were an hour and a half over the visa, and [he] got locked up.”

Reid is now at Buffalo Federal Detention Centre, and could face up to six months in jail before his case is even heard by a judge.

Kancso reportedly said Canadian police were concerned Reid’s visa would be rejected if he tried to return to the US, making him Canada’s “problem”.

“He just kept asking them if I could sit with him,” she said. “I held it together until they put the handcuffs on him. I kind of haven’t been able to stop crying.

“I don’t know if there’s really a word to describe what I’m feeling right now, I’m almost ashamed to say I’m American. It just makes no sense to me.”

“He’s a kid with a sense of adventure; travelling overseas and living life so he doesn’t deserve this,” Reid’s father told Fairfax.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has confirmed they are providing consular assistance to an Australian man detained in the US, but are limited from sharing any further information.

Reid’s girlfriend has started a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for Reid’s legal costs.

On it, she wrote, “Baxter is Australian, served in the Australian Army and has been here for the last several months on a 5 Year Visa. There is one stipulation with the Visa, he must exit and re-enter the country every six months to keep the Visa valid.

“As we approached the border, the people working border patrol started giving us a bit of a hard time. They spent hours asking us remedial questions and giving us the run around, with hours of dead time in between.

“After wasting over four hours there, they sent us to the US border patrol because they refused to let Baxter through.

“They threw Baxter in cuffs and escorted him to prison. This is a man who has no prior incidents with the law, not in the US or his native Australia. Now, because of beuarucacy [sic] and an unwillingness to listen to him he is being charged as felon under random immigration laws.”

Image: GoFundMe page

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