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inadmissible to Canada. Primary inspection officers rely on the Integrated
Primary Inspection Line (IPIL), which
enables officers to perform real-time
queries on travelers targeting enforcement actions and lookouts. Anyone
deemed suspicious (via IPIL and/or observed behavior) is sent to secondary
Secondary inspection officers have
unlimited access to a wide array of
databases, including the Integrated
Customs Enforcement System (ICES),
Field Operations Support System
(FOSS), Canadian Police Information
Center (CPIC), and most importantly,
the National Crime Information Center (NCIC).
NCIC is a database also utilized by
U.S. law enforcement agencies and has
a reputation for being out of date. This
can definitely be a problem, if stopped
at the border and confronted with NCIC
data that points to a conviction when, in
fact, charges were dismissed.
An NCIC search is how the CBSA
often finds out about an unvolunteered
U.S. criminal history.
Canadian Border Inspection
When a U.S. traveler arrives at a Ca-
nadian Port of Entry, a CBSA officer
will inspect this person to determine
whether or not he/she is admissible to
Canada. While scanning your passport
and/or entering your name, birth date,
address into the IPIL system, the officer
will typically ask questions like:
• Where do you live?
• What is the purpose of your trip?
• How long will you stay?
• Do you have anything to declare?
• Do you have any firearms or pepper sprays?
If there is a “hit,” the U.S. traveler may
be asked further questions about being
arrested, fingerprinted, or convicted of
a crime and then likely sent to secondary inspection. It is critical to respond
truthfully — every question has only
one right answer: the truth.
Enduring a CBSA secondary inspection is like treading water that suddenly
turns into quicksand. The traveler must
be forthright and accurate in answering CBSA questions. Misrepresentation, either by commission or omission,