NEWS
23/06/2018 16:18 SAST

French Teenager Held In US Detention Centre After Accidentally Jogging Across The Border From Canada

Cedella Roman, 19, was visiting her mother from France when she went for a run last month just south of White Rock, British Columbia.

Cedella Roman/Facebook
Cedella Roman.

A teenager was detained for two weeks by US border patrol after accidentally crossing the border while out jogging.

Cedella Roman, 19, was visiting her mother from France when she went for a run last month just south of White Rock, British Columbia.

Without realising, she mistakenly continued jogging into the US state of Washington and after stopping to take a picture.

As she turned back, she was apprehended by two US border patrol officers and taken to a detention centre, where she remained for two weeks. 

Google Maps
The Canada/US border.

She told CBS News: “An officer stopped me and started telling me I had crossed the border illegally. I told him I had not done it on purpose, and that I didn’t understand what was happening.”

She said she hadn’t seen the signs while jogging along the beach and assumed it wouldn’t be a big deal.

She said: “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.”

Instead she was taken over 100 miles away to Tacoma Northwest Detention Centre, run by the Department of Homeland Security.

She said that when she realised how serious it was, she began to cry. 

The teenager was allowed to contact her mother, Christiane Ferne, who quickly reached the centre with her daughter’s passport and study permits, before being told she would have to get them verified by Canadian authorities. 

The process took two weeks and only then was Roman taken back to Canada.

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

A spokesperson for the US Customs and Border Protection told CBC that anyone who enters the US outside an official port of entry and without inspection has crossed the border illegally and will be detained.

“This applies regardless of whether or not the individual claims to have inadvertently crossed the border,” the department said.