A Canadian retiree says he’s been left with no choice other than to sell his house in Florida after being banned from the United States for what he believes was a long-buried bureaucratic snafu.
Mike Quinn, 70, of Niagara Falls, Ont., has spent the past two years trying to figure out why U.S. authorities dredged up a 15-year-old document as evidence he had once claimed to be a U.S. citizen.
“If I can’t get this resolved in the next six months, I’m getting out of the States. Sell everything,” Quinn said. “I’m not asking for forgiveness. I didn’t do anything.”
The professional engineer spent 16 years working in the United States, although he always considered Niagara Falls home. He left the U.S. in 2008 but frequently visited or shopped there using his long-held Nexus trusted traveller card to get across the border.
Quinn estimates he crossed the border more than 100 times — including to spend time at the house he bought in Port Lucie, Fla., in 2010 — without any major problems.
Things, however, changed in November 2014. American agents held him at the border for five hours. They claimed he had falsified his Nexus application by giving his marital status as single. Quinn denied the accusation, and told them he had never been married. The officers took his Nexus card.
He spent months trying to get it back — or at least to get an explanation from either the Americans or Canadians — to no avail.
“The rule of law and due process mean little when governments want to get you.”
– Mike Quinn of Niagara Falls
“I never could figure out what the problem was, since I don’t have a record,” he said. “I’m a pretty boring person.”
In April 2015, U.S. border agents again stopped him at the Peace Bridge. They accused him of having once claimed to have been a U.S. citizen. He denied having done so. Brushing off their warnings that he could be arrested or jailed for making a false declaration, he went on his way.
Several months later, he was again…