Thursday , January 21 2021

Hell of British family who were locked up after 'accidentally driving into US during Canada holiday' – Daily Mail, Daily Mail


A British family of seven held in a USimmigrationcenter after ‘accidentally crossing over fromCanada‘ landed back in Britain and said: ‘Its great to be home.’

Eileen and David Connors touched down at Heathrow this evening with three-month-old son Tommy.

David’s brother Michael was also on the American Airlines flight from New York with his wife Grace and their two-year-old twin daughters.

Eileen hugged mother Mary outside Heathrow’s Terminal Three in an emotional reunion after being locked up at the Berks Detention Center in Leesport, Pennsylvania on October 5.

Eileen (pictured) and David Connors touched down at Heathrow this evening with three-month-old son Tommy

She told MailOnline how the whole family had been banned from entering America for five years.

Eileen, 24, said: ‘I’ m so happy to be home, it’s been a complete nightmare.

‘The one thing I’m really looking forward to is getting home into my own bed and just being left alone in peace with my baby.

Mother Mary added: ‘I’m so pleased they’re back, I was worried sick. I can’t wait to see my grandson again ‘

‘ We’ve been treated horribly by the authorities in America. I thought the Americans were supposed to be friendly with the British but I saw no evidence of it.

‘The detention center was freezing cold and the food was disgusting. The only thing I could eat was tuna.

‘My baby got a cold in there and I wasn’t even allowed to give him teething salt because the sachets were confiscated.

‘We weren’t allowed to smoke for two weeks either or have fizzy drinks.

‘My hands are trembling, I’ve been a nervous wreck but we’re back now where we belong – with friends and family.

‘There were a few nice members of staff at the center, our case worker Mary Shah and another worker called Nath. They were both lovely.

‘But I’m glad I’m out of the place, it was absolutely awful. So run down.

‘My biggest regret is that we are now banned from America for at least five years – even the kids.

‘I went to Disneyland as a child all the time and I want the same for my kids. It’s a shame because I would like to go back to the States. ‘

The family claim they were visiting Vancouver when Michael swerved to avoid hitting an animal following a fishing trip and in the confusion ended up on a country road out of Canada and into America where border police arrested them.

Eileen said: ‘I was in the back as a passenger but the car swerved suddenly went down a dip and ended up on a road into America.

‘We didn’t even know that we’d crossed over as when the patrols stopped us and told us we were in the US I said ‘No! We’re in Canada ‘.

Eileen hugged mother Mary outside Heathrow’s Terminal Three in an emotional reunion

The Connors family arrive at Heathrow Airport on Wednesday night following detention in US

David’s brother Michael (pictured) was also on the American Airlines flight from New York with their two-year-old twin daughters

Eileen, 24, said: ‘I’m so happy to be home, it’s been a complete nightmare. The one thing I’m really looking forward to is getting home into my own bed and just being left alone in peace with my baby ‘

‘We had the reservation for our hotel in Vancouver on my phone but they weren’t interested in seeing it. They just accused our of being illegal immigrants which was nonsense. ‘

David, 30, emerged first with Michael at about 10. 25 pm and said: ‘It’s been hell, I’m just glad it’s over and we’re home.’

Mother Mary added: ‘I’m so pleased they’re back, I was worried sick. I can’t wait to see my grandson again. ‘

David Connors, 30, and Eileen Connors, 24, (pictured) from London, say their three-month- old son was subjected to filthy conditions in the Berks Detention Center in Leesport, Pennsylvania

A spokesman from Aldea The People’s Justice Center, which has been representing the Connors, said that as of Wednesday, the family were no longer held in the Berks Family Residential Center in Pennsylvania and were being ‘removed to the UK’.

US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) confirmed all seven family members had been moved to Enforcement and Removal Operations in Seattle ‘to be processed as expedited removals’ but did not clarify their status further.

The Connors family claimed they did not realize they crossed the border south of Vancouver when they swerved into a side road to avoid hitting an animal while on holiday.

But American authorities disputed the fami ly’s account, calling their actions ‘illegal’ and ‘deliberate’.

In a previously released statement, Eileen Connors said they tried to explain their ‘mistake’ but were not allowed to return to

‘We were detained anyway and treated in a way no human deserves to be treated,’ said Mrs Connors.

‘We have been treated like criminals here, stripped of our rights and lied to. ‘

Mrs Connors also complained of poor conditions in the detention center including cold and inadequate facilities to feed her baby but said conditions improved after they were able to contact the British embassy.

Attempts were made to return the individuals to Canada, however Canada refused to allow their return and two attempts to contact the United Kingdom consulate were unsuccessful, the CBP said

The family claim they were visiting Vancouver when Michael swerved to avoid hitting an animal following a fishing trip (pic tured: Members of the Connors family arrive at Heathrow)

In the confusion the family ended up on a country road out of Canada and into America where border police arrested them, they said

The Connors family claimed they did not realize they crossed the border south of Vancouver when they swerved into a side road to avoid hitting an animal while on holiday

Eileen said it was ‘like an abduction or kidnapping’ when they were put in a van and driven to the airport

UK citizens David Connors, 30, and Eileen Connors , 24, were detained at Berks Detention Center in Pennsylvania with their three-month-old son

The family said Michael turned onto an unmarked road and within moments, multiple police cars and Border Patrol agents appeared

But in a statement on Wednesda y the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) said its evidence contradicted that of the Connors family.

A spokesperson said: ‘A vehicle was observed via remote video surveillance system turning west onto Avenue 0 in British Columbia, Canada, at approximately 9pm, October 2.

‘The vehicle then turned south and entered the US illegally, by slowly and deliberately driving through a ditch onto Boundary Road in

‘The Vehicle traveled west on Boundary Road continuing on the United States side, and was pulled over by a Border Patrol agent a short time later.’

Eileen (pictured) said her son was stripped naked and exposed with his clothes and blankets taken for washing

David and Eileen Connors, 30 and 24, from London, (pictured together) were held with their three-month old son in a US jail after ‘accidentally crossing into the US’

The statement said the family members were arrested minutes later on suspicion of illegally entering the United States without inspection.

Attempts were made to return the individuals to Canada, however Canada refused to allow their return and two attempts to contact the United Kingdom consulate were unsuccessful, the CBP said.

The CBP added two adult family members were previously denied travel authorization to come to the United States.

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