Yet another innocent person was stopped at the U.S. border and detained for hours for questioning, according to the Guardian.
Dr. Sardar Ahmad, 43, who works at Sarnia’s West Lambton Community Health Centre, was detained for more than five hours at Canada’s second-busiest U.S. border, Blue Water Bridge.
Ahmad was born in Afghanistan, but left his war-ravaged country when he got a Fulbright scholarship through the U.S. embassy in Kabul. He moved to Canada in 2007 to complete his medical residency, started practicing in the border town of Sarnia and became a Canadian citizen.
However, just recently, without warning, Ahmad received an email announcing his Nexus card — a Homeland Security program that enables low-risk travelers an expedited entry into United States and Canada — had been revoked. The doctor was issued the card when he was not considered a security risk, but now that President Donald Trump has assumed office, apparently this is no longer the case.
To find out what prompted the cancelation of his card, Ahmad decided to visit the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Office during his lunch break from seeing his patients and drove to the nearest border crossing.
When he explained his situation, Ahmad was pulled over, his car keys confiscated and held for questioning for over five hours. The border agents asked him to which “tribe” he belonged to, the name of his “tribal chief” and whether he had seen a “lot of gunmen” while he was growing up in Afghanistan.
When Ahmad expressed concerns about the elderly patients who arrange transportation to his office to wait for him in advance and requested to cancel his appointments, the agents told him, “No, you can’t touch your phone.”
Ahmad was eventually allowed to call his clinic and was cleared to enter the U.S., but declined to do so.
“It was frustrating for me because I was worried, I was scared, I didn’t know what was going to happen next,” the 43-year-old doctor told the Sarnia Observer. “You never know. They could put you in jail. You could lose your career — everything — all overnight.”
Afghanistan-born Sarnia doctor, questioned for hours by US border agents while his elderly patients waited for care https://t.co/vOZN008kDS— Tara Jeffrey (@TaraJeffrey) February 27, 2017
"A Sarnia family doctor who left his war-torn country on a Fulbright scholarship saw the end of his hard-earned... https://t.co/fVMHwkXMOs— Carmac (@TheCarmac) March 2, 2017
Afghan-Canadian doctor detained at US border. The Dr. was a fullbright scholar, you knuckleheads.https://t.co/lA7POGmh5P— Bea B. (@Pacificant) March 2, 2017
When the U.S. Customs and Border Protection were contacted about Ahmad’s case, they said they did not discuss individual cases due to privacy issues. But in its email, the agency replied it was “committed to the fair, impartial and respectful treatment of all members of the trade and traveling public.”