[Ed. – Seems a trifle extreme]
A backpacker visiting from South America is locked in federal detention after reportedly over-extending his stay by 30 minutes. A Seattle immigration attorney has taken on the case for free, saying it’s “absurd.”
For six months Diego Simonassi said he roamed freely about the United States, backpacking all over the country. But, when his time was up on June 14 and he tried to enter Canada to continue his trip, he didn’t know he needed a visa to get through the border.
Canadian authorities at the Peace Arch crossing turned him back to the US side. But it was 30 minutes past midnight.
“And I asked for help, ‘What can I do if I can’t come back to the United States?’ And without making a lot of questions he just arrested me,” Simonassi said.
US Immigration and Customs Enforcement seized Simonassi and transported him 145 miles south to the NW Detention Center in Tacoma, where he’s been ever since.
“I think it’s ridiculous,” said Immigration attorney Steve Tanijo. “I think it’s one of the problems that we have with our immigration laws.”