A fun jog through a picturesque landscape turned into a nightmare for 19-year-old Cedella Roman when she was suddenly apprehended by U.S. Border Patrol agents. The French citizen, who was visiting her mother in Canada, was jogging south of White Rock, British Columbia when she crossed into the United States without realizing it. At one point she decided to stop to take a photo and when she turned around she saw there were two Border Patrol agents behind her. “An officer stopped me and started telling me I had crossed the border illegally,” she told CBC News. “I told him I had not done it on purpose, and that I didn’t understand what was happening.”
At first, Roman said she was confident that “they’ll probably only give me a fine or they’ll tell me to go back to Canada or they’ll give me a warning.” But she didn’t have any government-issued identification on her and she came to realize her unwitting crossing into Blaine, Washington was a bigger deal than she was expecting. “They put me in the caged vehicles and brought me into their facility,” she said. “They asked me to remove all my personal belongings with my jewelry, they searched me everywhere.”
U.S. authorities confirmed that Roman was arrested on May 21 and transferred to an immigration detention center in Tacoma, Washington. “If an individual enters the United States at a location other than an official port of entry and without inspection by a Customs and Border Protection officer, they have illegally entered the United States and will be processed accordingly,” Customs and Border Protection said. “It is the responsibility of an individual traveling 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.”
Although Roman’s mom immediately got to work in presenting all her documents, it took two weeks for officials on both sides of the border to confirm she was allowed back in Canada.