Deportation—“The Big D”, as we in the would-be illegal immigrant community call it. It should make for a great travel story—dawn raids! Handcuffs! Attractive immigration agents in uniform! Free repatriation courtesy of a foreign government! But alas—file those preconceptions away, because the thrills of deportation extend about as far as “hoping the border guards don’t chide you for charging your phone off their electricity”.
A couple of weeks ago, I was deported from Canada. Whether I was actually subject to “deportation” or its growth-stunted lesser cousin “denial of entry” is a point of contention, as I barely entered Canada—rather, I tickled its orifice heavily with the phallus of my passport. Regardless, let’s just roll with “deportation”, because officially, I was unwillingly transported off Canadian territory by authorities. Plus, being deported lends more of a Pete Doherty-esque “I [attempt to] do what the fuck I want” air to my persona.
Semantic questions aside, it’s not the most entertaining experience, particularly when on the verge of total exhaustion. For context’s sake, I’d been awake and moving for about 30 hours, non-stop prior to arriving at the border. This includes an eight hour London to New York flight (on which I opted to stay awake to watch movies and drink Baileys) and a prolonged entrapment at New York’s Port Authority Cesspit Bus Terminal due to my midnight Greyhound leaving at 5am. Oh and 3 hours in, just when you’ve wedged yourself into a tolerable sleeping position, you get turfed off the bus at this place (best description? “Hell’s Waiting Room”).
I have a policy of being excessively cheerful with immigration officers (see also: airline staff) because it wins them over (as opposed to people like this guy) and gets you processed promptly and without inane questions about “what I’m doing here” and “am I carrying drugs”. Canadian immigration didn’t buy my shit.
“You wait over there”.
“There” was the immigration naughty corner: the “additional processing” room existing almost solely for the purpose of questioning third-world “undesirables” and finding reasons to cancel their visas. Noteworthy amongst my cohabitants in temporary detention was a middle-aged Georgian man who had previously been arrested for a switchblade offence. More on him in a moment.
I was called to the interview desk and explained myself.
“Australians can study in Canada for 6 months without any paperwork or visa, yes? Correct. Well, here I am. Here’s my acceptance letter from McGill University. We’re all cool, right? Now you give me a Commonwealth fistbump of solidarity, and I’ll just pop back on the bus.”
“This says you’re here for a year. You don’t have a permit.”
“Oh babe. Please. Sydney were going to take 2 months to process it. I’ll just get it inside. I’ve got cash, I’ll be good for your economy. Gurl, it’s not like I’m Georgian or something, am I right?”
“You’re going back to the United States. Right away. Give me your passport.”
“I thought we were meant to be friends. Does our shared and yet completely tokenistic head-of-state mean nothing?”
Canadian immigration staff have few redeeming qualities, but they are certainly good at economical verbiage. While entering all my details into the “Threat to national security” tab of Immigration Canada’s Excel spreadsheet, it was bluntly suggested that “maybe I should look a little harder” next time, because there was actually a short-term permit that could be obtained quickly. I would be told the very next day by the Canadian embassy in New York that this permit was completely imaginary.
While waiting for my impending eviction to be processed, my friend the captain of the Georgian national knife-fighting team was admitted to Canada, along with all other occupants of the immigration naughty corner. I was subsequently obliged to sign an “agreement to go away and stop picking on Canada”.
Due to my newfound “Threat to National Security” status, I couldn’t be trusted not to attempt to steal away into the forest and so was placed in a taxi and driven 300 metres back to the United States. With the aid of Microsoft Paint, I have provided a Helpful Visual Depiction of this process.
The United States welcome me with open arms and words to the effect of “you’ve got a visa, so it’s not like we can tell you to fuck off. Vending machines are over there.” And for the next eight hours until my return bus to New York arrived, the immigration lounge was my home. A home where all the furniture is stolen from the outside seating at McDonald’s and with only Cool Ranch Doritos in the cupboards.
Tim was eventually let into Canada one week later. He took a rideshare found on Craigslist and managed to not be stabbed.
“Maury, I am out of control. Yeah, I use drugs. I can do what I want, bitch! Yeah, I have sex, and I don’t use protection! It’s my hot body; I’ll do what I want! I don’t go to school and I kill people! Whatever! I’ll do what I want!”—Sylvia Plath (via incorrectsylviaplathquotes)