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Border controlEvery minute counts: Australian man faces 6 months in jail for overstaying visa by 1.5 hours

Published 3 May 2017

Baxter Reid, A 26-year old Australian, has been detained by U.S. border officials for overstaying his visa for just over an hour. Baxter and his American girlfriend were traveling to Canada to comply with the requirement of leaving and re-entering the United States every six months, in order to keep his five-year visa valid. They arrived at the border crossing near Buffalo with two hours to spare – but paperwork problems on the Canadian side forced them to stay on the U.S. side, and Baxter was arrested at 1:30 a.m. for overstaying his visa by an hour-and-a-half. He is being kept in a Buffalo jail, and was told he could face six months in jail before his case is heard by a judge.

Baxter Reid, A 26-year old Australian, has been detained by U.S. border officials for overstaying his visa for just over an hour.

The Canberra Times reports that Baxter was on his way to Canada with his American girlfriend Heather Kansco. He was traveling to Canada to comply with the requirement of leaving and re-entering the United States every six months, in order to keep his five-year visa valid.

His family told the Times that he is being held at the Buffalo federal detention center in New York.

His father, Tom Reid, told the paper that the couple arrived at the Canadian border at 10 p.m. on Sunday, 23 April, two hours before Baxter’s visa was due to expire.

For some reason the Canadians kept them until 1:30 a.m. and then they refused them entry,” the father told the Times.

They returned them to the United States and by then they were an hour and a half over the visa, and [he] got locked up.”

The young Reid has been warned by CBP that he could face six months in jail before his case is heard by a judge.

His girlfriend set up a GoFundMe page to raise money for Reid’s legal cost. She has raised $7,000 of the $8,000 goal in two days.

She told the paper: “I held it together until they put the handcuffs on him. I kind of haven’t been able to stop crying.

I don’t know if there’s really a word to describe what I’m feeling right now, I’m almost ashamed to say I’m American.

It just makes no sense to me.”

She said the couple’s plan was to get to the border earlier but their car kept breaking down, with the seven-hour journey from New York City to the border taking fifteen hours.

Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said it was offering consular assistance to Baxter.