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A French Teenager Was Detained By ICE For Two Weeks After Accidentally Jogging Over The U.S.-Canada Border

Illustration for article titled A French Teenager Was Detained By ICE For Two Weeks After Accidentally Jogging Over The U.S.-Canada Border
Photo: Jeff Vinnick (Getty Images)

Cedella Roman, a 19-year-old French woman who was visiting her mother in British Columbia last month, was arrested by US Border Patrol and detained for two weeks by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) after she accidentally crossed the U.S.-Canada border while jogging.

According to CBC News, Roman unwittingly ran over the border near the Peace Arch national park in Washington state, at the westernmost point of the border:

Roman didn’t know it at the time, but as she ran southeast along the beach on the evening of May 21, she crossed a municipal boundary — and, shortly after, an international border.

As the tide started to come in, she veered up and onto a dirt path before stopping to take a photo of the picturesque setting.

She turned around to head back — and that’s when she was apprehended by two U.S. Border Patrol officers.


“I said to myself, well I may have crossed the border — but they’ll probably only give me a fine or they’ll tell me to go back to Canada or they’ll give me a warning,” Roman told CBC. Instead, Roman was detained from May 21 until June 6, with most of that time spent at ICE’s Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma, Wash.

CBC says Roman did not have any government-issued ID or travel permits with her at the time of her arrest, but Roman’s mother, Christiane Ferne, was able to go to the detention facility to visit her daughter several times, and brought her documentation, so it’s unclear why it took so long to release her.

“It was just unfair that there was nothing, no sign at the border,” said Ferne. “It’s like a trap … Anybody can be caught at the border like this.”

While most recent attention has rightfully focused on ICE’s detention of children and separation of families near the US-Mexico border, the increased scope of ICE under the Trump administration can affect those all over the country. According to USA Today, ICE has arrested, on average, 4,143 undocumented immigrants without a criminal record each month since Donald Trump became president. That’s nearly two-and-a-half times more non-criminal arrests than they had in the final two years of the Obama presidency.



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