Is getting into the U.S. worth the hassle?

Mike Davies, Editor-in-Chief  Ω

I’m not sure how I feel about the U.S. government assuming that everyone from everywhere is a potential criminal with harmful intentions when they want to come into their country.

On the one hand they have to protect themselves — as is evident by the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 and others.

They recognize that a whole lot of the world hates them and what they supposedly stand for.

On the other hand — do you think your over-zealous “defence” strategies might have something to do with that attitude towards you?

I’m a little steamed right now about my own situation, so I’m obviously biased about the topic — I guess I should explain that before getting too far into my rant.

A good friend of mine in Prince George is a Washington Huskies fan.

I am an Oregon Ducks fan.

So when he told me he was thinking about buying tickets to the Ducks/Huskies football game on Nov. 5 — the last game that will ever be held in historic Husky Stadium in Seattle — I was understandably pretty excited and told him to pull the trigger, and make sure he got me one. Which he did.

Sweet, right?

Well then I have to start working on making sure I can get into the U.S.

Which I can not — nor is there enough time between now and then to fix that situation.

I assumed — my first mistake, obviously — that newly issued drivers licenses and government issued identification were embedded with enough security features to allow for passage across the border.

They sure look like it, and you need a whole lot of proof that you are, in fact, the person whose name is on the card in order to get one.

“Enhanced” identification is what you need, though.

So you’re aware, in order to “enhance” your identification you need to make an appointment with the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC), and have an interview with an agent, who fingerprints you (because you’re probably going to engage in criminal activity and they will need to be able to match your prints, right?) and interviews you to assess your risk to the public.

Let me say that again.

ICBC agents are assessing the risk to the public from citizens who want to travel to the U.S.
If these super-qualified ICBC representatives decide that I’m probably not a drug smuggler, then they approve my application for an Enhanced ID and I receive it in the mail six to eight weeks later, and then I can travel to the U.S. in a car.

I knew you’d need a passport to get on a plane and go — but that’s because they think I’m going to take over the plane and fly it into something.

So while I understand the need for countries to protect their borders I think maybe you should relax a bit.

You’re sure not helping your image by keeping out football fans, U.S.

And to entrust ICBC with assessing the risk posed by people to your safety is ridiculous.

I think maybe they did it that way because they recognize that for most people there isn’t much worth going to the U.S. for if it means you have to spend any time at all with an ICBC agent, because they obviously don’t want us there.

This one would have been worth it to me, but since you need to start the process a few months before you want to go — I’ll watch the game on TV instead.

Maybe my friend in Prince George will make the trip down that weekend.

For the record, he wouldn’t have been able to get across the border, either.