If You Want to Stop Immigration, Build a Wall on Our Pacific Border and Make Australia Pay For It

There’s a common misconception that most illegal immigrants in the U.S. snuck across the US-Mexico border. I blame Cheech Marin for that.

Perhaps it was even once true. It’s estimated that at one point in the 1990s perhaps 60% entered the U.S. illegally but now 60% of illegal immigrants are here having entered legally but overstayed their visas. The conservative Heritage Foundation says “Overstays accounted for about two-thirds—66 percent—of those who ended up joining the illegal immigrant population in 2014.”

In other words, if you’re going to build a wall it needs to be on the Pacific border, and Australia is going to have to pay for it.

At least that seems to be the lesson of the Australian citizen arrested in the U.S. for overstaying his Business Visitor visa by 90 minutes. (HT: Jennifer Wood)

Baxter Reid of Canberra reportedly was in the U.S. on a 6 month visa. He and his girlfriend went to Canada so that he could properly leave the U.S. and re-enter to start his 6 months anew.

They arrived at the US-Canada border two hours before midnight when his visa would expire. He was held and questioned by Canadian authorities before being denied admission to Canada. He was therefore turned around — back into the United States — where his Visa had expired 90 minutes earlier.

Now, he may not really have been entitled to a new visa. His status required him to stay in the U.S. temporarily, not to have an immigratory intent. Staying 6 months in the U.S., leaving and returning, could easily be considered an intent to stay longer than the visa issued to him allows. Indeed, he wants to return to the U.S. so he can continue to be with his girlfriend.

However he’s hardly a criminal. He was literally trying to leave the U.S. but was turned away from Canada while doing so. And that’s the only reason he was still in the U.S. Having overstayed his visa — and been arrested for doing so — it becomes harder to get a new visa as well.

There’s a #FreeBaxter GoFundMe page and they’ve raised more than their $8000 goal. He has a bond hearing May 10.

Baxter technically violated U.S. immigration law, and it sounds like he intends to stay longer than any given visa actually allows. But is there anything wrong with his being in the States? Should he actually be held in U.S. custody, removed from the U.S. to Australia, and barred for a period of time from re-entry?

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. He should not have waited until the last minute. Those Canadians are pretty wise to this type of thing. Then again, had been allowed into Canada, there’s not guarantee that he would’ve been allowed back into the States on an expired visa. At least in Europe, an American can stay 90 days out of a given 180 days. So, staying in Europe 89 days, leaving for 2 weeks and returning would only allow another 1 day of legally staying in Europe.

  2. Yes Gary, there is a problem with him being in the States in violation of the intent of his visa. It isn’t simply some inalienable right to every human being in the world to make the United States their home without going through our nation’s legal immigration channels.

  3. They should send him back to Australia but I doubt CCA will let that happen; he’ll probably end up in some immigrant detention center for the rest of his life.

  4. Sounds like pretty poor planning on their part, no one to blame but himself. 1) Waiting until the last minute 2) There’s no guarantee of re-entry to the US. Surely CBP would have some questions about whether he’s working here, etc on a visitor visa for that long.

  5. That still leaves 40%. And the ones coming from the south are much more likely to be poor and undereducated..likely welfare recipients. Simplest solution put employers to knowingly employ illegals in prison and severe fines.

  6. I don’t think he should be treated like a common criminal but I think he is an idiot to leave his visa status so close to the deadline.

    As an American I have lived abroad over 12 years and never got closer then a month from my visa expiring. I know that sometimes beuracracy can be a mess, and the USA is no different then the rest (regardless of who is in the White House). But I also know it’s foolhardy to tempt fate if your serious about staying. The fact he is planning to stay long term also means he should do like anyone else and find a way to sort out his visa for a longer stay. Had he gotten an immigration lawyer a few months back then this wouldn’t have happened (now I suspect he will need one for sure).

    Sorry but I can’t pity this guy who was too stupid or too lazy to take care of something so important.

  7. We’re not getting the full story about this. The Canadians held him for a long time while they did a background check and then turned him away. And doing a quick turn-around in Canada is not “properly leaving the U.S.” for the purpose and intent of his specific visa. This guy doesn’t even have close to “clean hands” for legal purposes. Your headline seems designed both for clicks and to make some sort of political statement but you chose the wrong example

  8. The headline was a joke, my quirky sense of humor. I did think it’s worth noting the point that this guy is common in terms of ‘illegal immigration’ even though it’s now how we usually think of it.

  9. 1) The Clown tried to scam the system.
    2) He got caught for BREAKING THE LAW.
    3) He is a Liberal Snowflake Cry Baby
    4) Lock Him Up
    5) This article is Liberal Click Bait.

  10. i’ve lived in the US for 17 years on business visas, and have had to leave the country every several years years to renew.

    i have never been refused entry to Canada as an Australian citizen, they have a visa waiver tourist program with Aust.

    I suspect he must have told the Canadian immigration personnel the wrong answers, like his intent to return to the US, when they could see that his US visa was expiring imminently.

    i go with the earlier commentary, he may well have been in a completely different position if he’d commenced his sojourn to the northern border a week earlier.

  11. Definitely clickbait. The NYT, of all rags, has a much deeper report indicating holes in his story. The moral of the saga: Don’t mess with the Canadians. They are much tougher than the Americans.

  12. I do not think some commenters know what clickbait actually is. It’s not “stories I don’t like” or “funny headlines”

  13. This is pretty typical of Gary’s articles these days. He thinks he knows more about intelligence gathering and credibility of threats than the US or UK governments in relation to the electronics ban. He in fact noted in one article that the ban was based on no credible threat and did absolutely nothing to improve security. And here we are again, another liberal hack piece written by Gary asking why this guy can’t just stay in the States! Consider this my last time reading this blog.

  14. Can’t blame the young fella. Breaking the law is in the Australian national DNA – just a function of the nation’s convict heritage.

  15. Gary,

    You concede that this individual violated the law. Your immediate next response is essentially, “So what? Screw the law.”

    I find it confounding that you often write cutting-edge articles on travel hacking, yet you take this kind of position regarding the law. The only explanation that I am able to think of is a possible blind loyalty to the ideology of a particular political party.

    What’s your angle here?

  16. To Wes – when I drive 60 in a 55, I’m also breaking the law.

    I have no sympathy for the long-term consequences. He cut it ridiculously close and lost. That’s an argument for not renewing his visa and sending him back to Australia, not for treating him like a hardened criminal.

    There’s a middle ground here.

  17. What I find especially amusing is that his plan simply wouldn’t have worked even if the Canadians had let him in. When you leave the US via the land border to Canada and then re-enter, you do not get a new I-94. You re-enter the US under the same terms with the same expiry as the original. This is deliberately to prevent non-Canadians from hopping the border and back to extend lawful time in the US. (Canadians, for the record, don’t need/get I-94s) If it expires while you’re in Canada the US takes a long hard look at whether you qualify for re-admission.

    Of course, this story is a great example of why the whole idea of extending the southern border wall is daft. Yes, most illegals entered legally and overstayed. What is unfortunate, is that if he is serious about his gf he should have returned to Australia, gotten a k1 visa, returned, and gotten married. Now, he will likely have a ban on re-entry that he’ll have to fight because he overstayed.

  18. @Andy

    when on a business visa, you have to leave the country to get renewed, i expect he was headed to the US embassy Ottawa, or US consulate in Toronto to get his business visa renewed, before attempting to get back into the US.

    he most likely would have been successful, had the Canadians allowed him to enter, if he had his renewal application all in order, but he may have had to stay in Canada for a few weeks whilst it was processed.

  19. Hippie millennials don’t ‘think’, they just ‘do’. Sometimes flying by the seat of your pants has consequences. Looks like this guy is finding that out all to well.

  20. Gary is obviously posting this because it’s a middle class white guy who is being deported it’d be crickets if it were a person of color in the exact same predicament.

  21. More View from the Left click-bait.

    Break the law, suffer the consequences. Next.

  22. Awwwwwe Tyler, don’t get your panties in a twist my little snowflake.
    I’m Gary has shed a tear for your departure

  23. @Gary sez: “My belief isn’t ‘screw the law’ but rather ‘the law should be changed.”

    I am curious as to why you believe that the law should be changed in this instance. Also, I presume that as the “Thought Leader”, you did consider the implications of changing laws every time we find them to be inconvenient…

    The notion that @Gary Leff is some kind of card-carrying “lefty” or “lib” has got to be among the most dimwitted of comments I have read in this space, especially coming from regular readers… (if you are not a regular reader, then you have no business pontificating).

  24. @About Again. I believe he had a tourist visa with validity for 5 years. He did not realize that he was still limited to 90 days per stay – and could not hop across the border to Canada or Mexico to roll it over.

    P.S. Much mirth about Australians’ convict heritage. But most of those on the transports were busted for the 18th century equivalent of a parking ticket. It was essentially white slavery.

  25. I agree most nearly with Andy, AboutAgain, and Menashe. It’s interesting to learn that he would not have qualified for a new I-94 upon his return from Canada.
    My educated guess is that he did not have all his baggage, etc. at the border crossing, which tipped of Immigration Officers of both Canada & USA that he was not permanently leaving the USA.

  26. If you read here, https://help.cbp.gov/app/answers/detail/a_id/751/~/traveling-to-other-countries-while-in-the-u.s.-on-a-b1-or-b2-visa you will see that simply visiting Canada or Mexico then returning to US, does NOT reset the six month clock. Also note, that a person my be denied entry if the CBP Officer observes from the data in the passport or their computer that the person is spending more time in the US on a tourist or Business visa than in their country of Origin.

  27. @HB

    Crime rates is Australia are significantly less than in the USA. Americans kill each other at a rate four times higher than Australians. Americans also kill each other with guns at a rate about ten times higher than Australians (reflecting the fact we are a far more civilised (i.e. less violent) society when it comes to gun control). So much for Australia being a crime ridden society of ex-convicts!

    According to the Australian Immigration Department’s report “Migration Trends 2012-2013” there were 5,220 Americans who overstayed their visas.

    If anything, given Americans’ greater propensity to violence and evident proclivity to overstay their visas, it should be Australia who is “building a wall” to keep the Americans out! (…only joking to make the point).

    Now in this case, presumably it was not the business of the Canadian authorities to interpret the man’s intentions concerning his US visa status. He would have a reasonable expectation of being able to visit Canada assuming he had his Electronic Travel Authorisation (like the US-issued ESTA for Australians visiting the country).

    Presumably, if his expiring visa did not allow re-entry for another 6 months, as some have suggested, he would have had to use his time in Canada to apply for a renewal of his US visa and present himself at the US border for due processing by the US borer authorities. If that had been denied for whatever reason, he could have returned to Australia directly (flights run YVR /BNE or SYD on AC and YVR-SYD on QF).

    This case highlights the risk that as travellers any of us could get stuck between two countries if denied access to the next country on your itinerary.

  28. Australian? Hmmm. Australians are the worst criminals. Its all in the heritage. No wonder Canada turned him away.

  29. @ Prabuddha

    Lesson in US history…Britain shipped 10,000s of convicts to AMERICA between 1718 and 1775 – an estimated 10% of migrants to America were British convicts (> 50,000). This under the Transportation Act of 1718 (read “Bound with an Iron Chain” by Anthony Vader).

    This roughly the same proportion as to Australia (160,000 convicts out of a population of 1.5 million at 1868 when convict shipments ceased).

    By your “logic”, Americans would also be burdened by their convict heritage!

    Regardless of such nonsense, the data show that Americans 5 times more likely to murder than Australians.

  30. Seems pretty clear. The guy is clearly ambivalent about his relationship with his girlfriend. If staying was really the most important thing, he would have addressed this issue more than a few hours before the deadline. I mean really? If this guy is this dumb and this blase’ about important life decisions, why would we want him to immigrate here? Unless to join “the resistance” against common sense and obeying the laws
    Maybe he can sneak back in via Mexico…

  31. He’s Australian.

    That means that he can live in the USA on renewable 24 month E3 visas for as long as he has a job or a job offer.

    So he either doesn’t want to work or isn’t employable.

    In fact, what “business” was his business visa for? This story doesn’t add up

  32. Interesting no one seems to be bashing Canada for refusing to take him in…just the USA. So why is everyone entitled to come here if they feel like it? Anyone in the USA who says “wait a minute, let’s do this legally is a deplorable of some description.
    I don’t see any reference to deplorable, racist, xenophobe Canadians. Maybe all the celebs who immigrated to Canada because Trump was elected can help him. What? They didn’t go?

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