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Canadian Border Tightens Due to Info Sharing

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the helpful-tech-making-life-more-annoying dept.

Privacy 448

blu3 b0y writes "The San Francisco Chronicle is reporting that new information sharing agreements have made it as easy for a Canadian border officer to know the full criminal records of US citizens as it is for their local police. As a result, Canadian officials are turning away American visitors for ancient minor convictions, including 30-year-old shoplifting and minor drug possession convictions. Officials claim it's always been illegal to enter Canada with such convictions without getting special dispensation, they just had no good way of knowing about them until recent security agreements allowed access. One attorney speculates it's not long before this information will be shared with other countries as well, causing immigration hassles worldwide."

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448 comments

Funny (1, Insightful)

Atrophis (103390) | more than 7 years ago | (#18121464)

Other countries can turn our people away, but we can't seem to turn other counties people away.

Re:Funny (1, Funny)

slughead (592713) | more than 7 years ago | (#18121596)

Other countries can turn our people away, but we can't seem to turn other counties people away.

That's because WE'RE NUMBER 1! WOOO GO USA!

GET A BRAIN, MORANS! [sic.]

Re:Funny (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18121678)

Sorry to have to correct you, but it has been impossible for foreigners with minor convictions for things like drugs possession to travel to the USA for years.

Re:Funny (3, Insightful)

Canthros (5769) | more than 7 years ago | (#18121850)

Provided they aren't Mexican. Or determined. Or sneaky. Or ...

I suspect that you may mean that's been illegal, not impossible.

Re:Funny (0, Flamebait)

webmistressrachel (903577) | more than 7 years ago | (#18121724)

That is not true. The Green Card is exceptionally hard to acquire even for UK citizens, and plus, the US plays policeman all over the world over "ancient petty crimes" and we all have to put up with it.

Is it not surprising, then, that other countries might treat your citizens in exactly the same way your Israeli-American friends treat Palestinians in their own country?

Ill finish with a proverb - treat others the way you would have them treat you.

Re:Funny (2, Informative)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 7 years ago | (#18121736)

Other countries can turn our people away, but we can't seem to turn other counties people away
Hm. I live next to a Canadian border. Believe me, U.S. Customs/DHS turns people away. A friend of mine is a permanent U.S. resident, but is not a U.S. citizen. He was born in Canada. But, he's not a Canadian citizen either as he was born on a Native American reservation in Canada. Not too long after the border restrictions went into place, he visited Canada and got stuck at U.S. customs -- Canadian customs never checked his residency/citizenship status on the way in (which isn't a surprise, since Canadian Customs is very lax in checking IDs), but on the way back in he didn't have one of the then-required documents to prove citizenship (because he doesn't have any). I think finally they just got sick of him and let him go.

Re:Funny (1)

StarvingSE (875139) | more than 7 years ago | (#18121816)

I think finally they just got sick of him and let him go.

What kind of security do they have in Canada? If this is how they deal with people crossing the border who don't have the required identification, then I'm very surprised something major hasn't happened there. However, Canada hasn't pissed off the world either so they don't have to worry as much...

Re:Funny (1)

aoeuid (250239) | more than 7 years ago | (#18122238)

What kind of security do they have in Canada? If this is how they deal with people crossing the border who don't have the required identification, then I'm very surprised something major hasn't happened there.

Well, anyone crossing the border into Canada, presumably, has already been cleared in the United States anyway. They certainly scan passports, etc., at the airports, and it is only (white) people who declare themselves American/Canadian citizens at land crossings who might get through without having their papers checked. And post 09/11/01, they are generally asking to see ID on both sides of the border now. This was not always the case prior to 09/11/01.

Re:Funny (5, Insightful)

Forseti (192792) | more than 7 years ago | (#18121996)

That just doesn't make any sense...

I live next to a Canadian border. Believe me, U.S. Customs/DHS turns people away.

I'm with you so far. I lived on the Canadian side of the US-Canada border for a long while, and had a job where we had to travel to the states often. People get turned back all the time, even without criminal records.

A friend of mine is a permanent U.S. resident, but is not a U.S. citizen.

So, green card then? Or American-Indian status? Aren't any other PERMANENT visa types that I'm aware of...

He was born in Canada. But, he's not a Canadian citizen either as he was born on a Native American reservation in Canada.

Now that just doesn't make any sense. If he was born in Canada, Indian or not, he's a Canadian citizen. Canadians are even allowed dual citizenship! Plus, if he has Aboriginal status, which requires more than just being born on a reservation, then he has rights to freely cross the US-Canada border in any direction and immigration & customs on either side can't do shit to stop him, as long as he has his Aboriginal ID with him. Otherwise, according to you, he had a green card because of him permanent resident status. So, isn't this just a question of someone trying to cross the border without ID (never a good idea) rather than some ridiculous citizenship issue?

Re:Funny (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 7 years ago | (#18122198)

Yeah, you're right. I think the key is that he didn't have his Aboriginal ID. He does NOW, but he didn't then. Why he didn't have it, though, is a very long story.

Re:Funny (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18122096)

A friend of mine is a permanent U.S. resident, but is not a U.S. citizen. He was born in Canada. But, he's not a Canadian citizen either as he was born on a Native American reservation in Canada.

People born on reservations in Canada are considered Canadian citizens by the Canadian government.

If your friend doesn't want to claim the citizenship he is entitled to, or apply for the documents he is entitled to, that's his problem.

Exactly. This isn't really about data mining. (5, Insightful)

perfessor multigeek (592291) | more than 7 years ago | (#18122208)

C'mon, folks, look at the Canadian papers for five minutes and you'll know what this is really about. Canadians are enraged about "extraordinary rendition" of Canadians and their media has covered the issue intensely for years now. The DEA tried to seize Canadian property because a tunnel for running drugs ran under it. Multiple Canadians have been taken off and disappeared for years at a time, including a frickin' inkjet supply salesman who had the wrong five minute conversation with a guy suspected of being connected to Al Quada.

Canadians are pissed and they're sick of being treated like children by the Bush administration.

So this is tit for tat.

You Americans unfairly persecute Canadians? Fine. Let's see how you like it.

Even Conservatives are coming out in public to decry U.S. policies. Do you really think that none of them will find ways to get political capital out of this?

This isn't about better access to data. It's bloody well the best way yet they've found to show their anger. And don't forget for a moment that all of these cases create a bargaining chip.
"You want your citizens to have freeer access to Canada? Sure. What's in it for us?"

I guarantee you that all over the world people are laughing their asses off about this. And, frankly, I can see their point.

-Rustin

Re:Funny (you do worse) (3, Insightful)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 7 years ago | (#18121744)

No, but you can send them to Syria to be tortured (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maher_Arar)

Re:Funny (1)

stewwy (687854) | more than 7 years ago | (#18122028)

as ye reap so shall ye sow. or basically you (well the US admin)started all this FUD so its not surpising that the law of unintended consequences turned round and bit

The standard solution to this problem... (0, Flamebait)

Simonetta (207550) | more than 7 years ago | (#18122092)

The standard solution to this problem in most of the world is to make a payoff to someone.

Let's see, in the USA there are roughly about %15 to %20 of the population who can't enter Canada according to these restrictions. We have at least 20-25 million people who have been arrested for possession of marijuana since it became a political crime used against the young about forty years ago. Plus another ten to twenty million people who have been arrested for minor misdemeanors over the course of their lives. Millions of these people want and occasionally need to enter Canada every few years for business.

    But now they can't because of this political chickenshit. These restrictions have been in place since the Vietnam War and used against minorities like African-Americans and Euro-American hippies who show up at the border in cars. But generally, arriving by plane with a return ticket gets one into Canada without incident. But now with the computers and databases that dredge up 30-year-old residue-in-a-bong bust it becomes harder to simply ignore for the border 'police' or either country.

    So, as whenever a ridiculous and absurd but unresolvable political situation comes up against reality, the same thing always happens. Corruption enters; someone gets paid-off. The 'crime' is overlooked if the price is right.

    The only real questions about this situation are:
    1) Whether it will be the Canadian border 'police' who will be taking and keeping the bribes on an ad-hoc basis. This turns Canada into a little Mexico, which I don't really think will happen.

    2) The situation blows over with time and things go back to 'normal' where only blacks and hippies are arbitrarily and systematically denied entry into Canada for chickenshit reasons.

    3) Americans will have to pay a big 'chunk of change' to get someone in the so-called Homeland Security department to 'adjust' the computer records so that the individual making the big payoff is not inconvenienced at borders. This is the most likely scenario because it matches the American obsession with money with their innate corruption. Plus it allows the 'background adjuster' to further extort money from the 'offender' at any point in the future, since making payoffs to government officials is major crime against 'national security'; right up there with residue-in-a-bong drug offenses.

WOW (4, Funny)

falcon5768 (629591) | more than 7 years ago | (#18121468)

And people say the US is a police state. At least here people with 30-year-old shoplifting and minor drug possession convictions can aspire to become a senator!

Re:WOW (2, Funny)

abscissa (136568) | more than 7 years ago | (#18121480)

Or president, if, like Bush, you were born with a silver spoon.. in your nose.

Re:WOW (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18121708)

At least here people with 30-year-old shoplifting and minor drug possession convictions can aspire to become a senator!

Oh, in Canada you can remain a Member of Parliament [wikipedia.org] even after stealing $20,000 worth of jewelry. You just have to be gay to get away with it, though.

Re:WOW (2, Insightful)

Southpaw018 (793465) | more than 7 years ago | (#18121862)

A 30 year old minor drug conviction with a completely clean record since then, like the guy cited in the article, can be safely discounted. Senator or anything else, it's usually safe to say that the person in question has cleaned themselves up. Only in rare cases might that be untrue.

That is nothing (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18122074)

If you used and sold cocaine and pot (even in the white house as child), bankrupted companies, you can become a president.

Look at the bright side (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18121482)

So that means that Bush won't be traveling to Canada any time soon, due to his DUI conviction?

Re:Look at the bright side (3, Interesting)

garcia (6573) | more than 7 years ago | (#18121648)

I crossed the border on a geocaching trip to Winnipeg [lazylightning.org] and we were stopped and held for an hour by the Canadian border agents. After we waited for them to stop standing around chatting and deal with us (which was 35 minutes of the hour we were there) they began to interview a group of three men that were waiting before us. The conversation with the border patrol agent went something like this:

Agent: "Sir, according to our records obtained from the Minnesota State Patrol, you were stopped for DUI in April 2006. When you were asked if you had any prior incidents and you said, 'no' you lied. You are not to lie to a Border Patrol Agent at any time."

Crosser: "I haven't been convicted yet."

Agent: "I didn't ask if you were convicted."

---

Agent: "Sir, according to our records you were convicted of lewd conduct and indecent exposure in March of 2006. When I asked you if you had any prior convictions and you said, 'no', you lied. You are not to lie to a Border Patrol Agent at any time."

Crosser: "It was reduced to a lesser charge!"

Agent: "I asked if you had any prior incidents."

---

This went on for the next individual as well (I don't remember what he did wrong). After that they were released and permitted to go on to their next destination which was a wedding in Winnipeg. For us, they called us one by one into a back interview room and asked us a bunch of questions about our educational background and work history. I actually felt uncomfortable with some of the questions but answered them anyway.

They checked our passports and birth certificates and while the previous group had convictions and lied and we didn't, we still had our car searched for another 30 minutes before being allowed to move along.

So, even though Bush shouldn't be allowed into the country, these fools were. Bleh.

Not convicted (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18121842)

the previous group had convictions

You just said the first said he was not convicted.

Re:Look at the bright side (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18121920)

"For us, they called us one by one into a back interview room and asked us a bunch of questions about our educational background and work history. I actually felt uncomfortable with some of the questions but answered them anyway."

If you find that uncomfortable, try flying into America one day as a non-American..

Re:Look at the bright side (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18122144)

Or try flying into america as a non-white non-american =\

Re:Look at the bright side (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 7 years ago | (#18122220)

The first time he came here he was more or less granted special dispensation. The media did (gleefully) note that it was technically illegal for him to enter the country.

Is this why all the liberals stayed? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18121492)

Is this why all those who threatened to go to Canada after the 2004 election and didn't go, didn't go?

Welcome to Canada! (5, Interesting)

xdroop (4039) | more than 7 years ago | (#18121494)

Hilarious that Americans are offended now that Canada is holding them to the same standard that American Boarder Services holds people wanting to enter the States. The difference is that even if you get an official Pardon in Canada -- Boarder Services doesn't recognize it! At least Americans have the potential to wipe the slate clean.

Hah!

Re:Welcome to Canada! (2, Insightful)

alexandreracine (859693) | more than 7 years ago | (#18121608)

At least Americans have the potential to wipe the slate clean
Really? That does not include the no-fly-list [wired.com] , does it?

Re:Welcome to Canada! (1)

Rob the Bold (788862) | more than 7 years ago | (#18121810)

Really? That does not include the no-fly-list, does it?

He meant "wipe the slate clean" with Canada. Referring to their rehabilitation procedures. Which, reading about, sounds like I wouldn't bother with and just visit North Dakota instead -- but that's beside the point. Who am I kidding, everything you think is in ND is actually in South Dakota.

Re:Welcome to Canada! (2, Funny)

beavis88 (25983) | more than 7 years ago | (#18121676)

Border. It's a fucking "border". And I here I was thinking Americans had a monopoly on bad schools.

I am not offended. (2, Insightful)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 7 years ago | (#18122222)

Hey Canada has had these laws on the books for a long time it seems. Now they can enforce them because of better technology. Canada has the right to enforce it's laws and the right to change them.
It doesn't bother me at all.
Doesn't offend me at all.

This just in: your actions may have implications (3, Insightful)

djh101010 (656795) | more than 7 years ago | (#18121500)

So...I suppose people now will get their undies in a bundle over this. Putting aside for a moment the tenuous at best "YRO" category for this - where's the surprise, what's the problem? If you want to go visit a foreign country, they get to decide who they let in and for what reasons. If you don't like it, well, don't do things to limit that option for yourself, or visit some other place. Their country, their rules.

Re:This just in: your actions may have implication (3, Insightful)

Heian-794 (834234) | more than 7 years ago | (#18121642)

If you don't like it, well, don't do things to limit that option for yourself, or visit some other place. Their country, their rules.

Such a statement cedes an awful lot of power to a national government. Remember, until now people could get into Canada even having done bad things. The 60-year-old who got caught driving drunk back in 1980 and has already repaid society for it can't undo what he once did. If a Canadian company wants to hire him, or Canadian relatives want him to visit, what can they do? Lobby the government to start being more lenient?

This will ultimately lead to even more privacy-violating information sharing as potential employers demand to know about any minor misdemeanor a potential hire has ever committed. They'll have to do this in order to be sure that their new employee doesn't get turned away at the border, but in the process the principle of being able to repay one's debts to society after a transgression will be even further eroded.

Fifty years ago these incidents went into dusty file boxes in the back closet of city hall; now they're in every border agent's database and are impeding people's movement. Should our societies consider mitigating these previously-impossible long term effects by shortening prison terms and lowering fines? Politically, how can one argue that without being seen as soft on crime?

Re:This just in: your actions may have implication (3, Insightful)

(A)*(B)!0_- (888552) | more than 7 years ago | (#18121984)

"Such a statement cedes an awful lot of power to a national government. Remember, until now people could get into Canada even having done bad things. The 60-year-old who got caught driving drunk back in 1980 and has already repaid society for it can't undo what he once did. If a Canadian company wants to hire him, or Canadian relatives want him to visit, what can they do? Lobby the government to start being more lenient?"
Only because up until now, the knowledge the the DWI wasn't readily available to the border patrol. As the article states - this was always the rule; the only thing that has changed is that they're actually enforcing it now.

It is short-sighted and foolish to only fight against a law/policy when it is enforced.

Re:This just in: your actions may have implication (1)

Heian-794 (834234) | more than 7 years ago | (#18122216)

It is short-sighted and foolish to only fight against a law/policy when it is enforced.

Well, yes. But if you've been visiting Canada regularly up to now despite having stolen a bicycle (or whatever) in your youth, and have never been denied entry before, you and your Canadian friends (who would be doing the fighting) are probably not going to be aware of these laws and policies.

Suddenly enforcing them now and claiming that they've been excessively lenient all those times in the past (and just not telling you about it) is dangerously close to ex post facto legislation.

This just in: your borders may be porous. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18122032)

"Remember, until now people could get into Canada even having done bad things."

Or simply walk across. The border with Canada is even more porous than the Mexican one.

Re:This just in: your actions may have implication (2, Informative)

Forseti (192792) | more than 7 years ago | (#18122160)

Remember, until now people could get into Canada even having done bad things.

Two arguments: One - No they legally couldn't. The laws were always there, they just had no way of being enforced. You're still not supposed to lie to immigration. Two - They can still get in now, they just have to contact the Canadian embassy ahead of time (like they always should have) and ask for dispensation. If the offense was relatively minor or took place long ago, I'm sure they'll get permission to at least visit the country, if not immigrate here permanently. In your opinion, who's better situated than the federal government to enforce border control, if such control is needed? (Which it is, at least to a minimal degree, if only to keep the USA quiet.)

Re:This just in: your actions may have implication (1)

kjart (941720) | more than 7 years ago | (#18122188)

Such a statement cedes an awful lot of power to a national government.Like the power to secure its own borders? I don't really think this is ceding anything, especially since we are talking about foreign nationals and not citizens of that nation.

This will ultimately lead to even more privacy-violating information sharing as potential employers demand to know about any minor misdemeanor a potential hire has ever committed. They'll have to do this in order to be sure that their new employee doesn't get turned away at the border, but in the process the principle of being able to repay one's debts to society after a transgression will be even further eroded.

Ignoring the whole logical jump here, don't employers essentially do this already when hiring from another country? A friend of mine is being promoted within his organization which is resulting in him moving from the Canadian office to an American office. Despite this being within the same company, the American checks are incredibly thorough (minimum of 3 month process apparently, requires providing a large number of documents including University transcripts, etc).

Fifty years ago these incidents went into dusty file boxes in the back closet of city hall; now they're in every border agent's database and are impeding people's movement. Should our societies consider mitigating these previously-impossible long term effects by shortening prison terms and lowering fines? Politically, how can one argue that without being seen as soft on crime?

So are you against criminal records going back so far for trivial things or against border security's access to criminal records in the first place? Either way, I'm not sure what changing prison sentences has to do with any of it.

In any case, I think this is reasonable for the most part - giving border security access to information is good. Also, this isn't anything new - I know someone who worked for border security and it was common practice to contact the local police department from the place where a suspicious person was from in order to determine if they had a criminal record or not. If anything, his should seriously speed things up (though, as it is a government agency, I seriously doubt that will happen).

Re:This just in: your actions may have implication (4, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 7 years ago | (#18122214)

"If you don't like it, well, don't do things to limit that option for yourself, or visit some other place. Their country, their rules."

Such a statement cedes an awful lot of power to a national government. Remember, until now people could get into Canada even having done bad things.

That is a power that our national government has always had, you're just operating under the belief that it wasn't so. Much like the US applies their rules on inbound people to everyone else -- hell, the US has extended it to their entire airspace. For that reason, myself and a lot of other Canadians (and people from around the globe) are choosing not to enter the US -- they might do more than just deny you entry; they might act on legal advice from Gonzales which says we can be arbitrarily detained without a lawyer on the whim of the immigration people. That whole Habeus Corpus thing.

It has apparently been illegal for people with certain criminal convictions etc to enter the country for quite some time. They just haven't been able to track it. When Martha Stewart wanted to come to Canada she had to get a piece of paper from the government which gave her permission despite her criminal conviction. I believe 50 cent has had to do this before (or, was at least threatened with it, don't remember the specifics). They're just more high-profile and it was easier to identify.

This is not some new, unchecked power of a 'national government' -- this is what has always been true -- individual nations (including neighbors) can choose who they choose to allow entry and who they deny it to. You don't have a constitutional right to enter Canada, and I don't have a Charter right to enter the US. It simply doesn't work that way.

If anything, it is new US requirements for information sharing and security which is providing the Canadian agencies with enough information to bar entry. I'm sure this is also reciprocal, and there are probably more Canadians being turned away at the US border because of the exact same program. This is a side effect, not a primary event.

This will ultimately lead to even more privacy-violating information sharing as potential employers demand to know about any minor misdemeanor a potential hire has ever committed.

Again, don't blame Canada for that one. We're responding to US government demands that we provide that information, and the US has extended their laws so that information collected in Canada by American companies can be fed back to the US government -- against our privacy laws. This is happening all aroound us, and while I agree it sucks, we're not the ones driving this.

Should our societies consider mitigating these previously-impossible long term effects by shortening prison terms and lowering fines? Politically, how can one argue that without being seen as soft on crime?

You probably can't. The US stance on certain things is very rigid -- and, some of those policies are coming north. The US has had mandatory minimum sentencing for many crimes for quite a while, and there are noises being made about it up here in the Great White North. We try to fight such things, but, it often seems futile since the US just steam-rolls over everyone involved anyway.

Don't naively believe that we're abusing our power to decide who we allow to enter our country. The American politicians are probably still saying we don't do enough to keep people out of our country.

Cheers

Re:This just in: your actions may have implication (2, Interesting)

CreatureComfort (741652) | more than 7 years ago | (#18122250)


Unfortunately, I think we have already passed the tipping point.

From the news I see and hear, and the conversations I have with other people, it looks like the concept of "paying your debt to society" has been relegated to history. Even otherwise intelligent people I talk to seem to have come to the opinion that once you commit a crime, any crime, you should have to be responsible for that act for the rest of your life. We have somehow come to the point that no matter what punishment you endure, you will always be suspected as having a tendency re-commit. Innocent until proven guilty used to mean for each individual crime, but the feeling now is that if you were ever proven guilty of anything, then you can never again be truly innocent of anything.

Even worse, I see more and more the tendency to assume if you were ever even accused of the crime, you will always be under suspicion for the rest of your life. That is regardless of whether you were convicted or not, even if someone else was eventually convicted for the crime.

The only end I can see for this is, when everyone is convicted or under suspicion for something, the attitude will shift and people will feel that if they are going to be continually punished, then they might as well keep doing the crime. That will lead to a positive feedback loop of suspicion -> crime -> conviction -> suspicion -> crime.... until anarchy rebuilds society.

But then again, I'm in a black mood this week. Maybe it not as bad as I think, and the AnnaBritneyIdol stories leading the all the major news networks just have me weeping for humanity right now.

Re:This just in: your actions may have implication (1)

xjmrufinix (1022551) | more than 7 years ago | (#18121754)

That argument presumes that the conviction was justified. There is no accounting for bad laws (don't even try to tell me there's no such thing) or for convictions for things which are illegal in American but not in Canada! There are people, senior citizens now, who are still alive and lived in a time when black people could be arrested for going the wrong place. Sodomy laws. Protest arrests. There is also the fact that certain classes of people; minorities and the poor to be specific, are statistically much more likely to receive criminal convictions for their first drug case than for wealthy whites charged with the same crime. So there is a large group of more "respectable" people who were similarly irresponsible but got the charges wiped off their record and have more rights for no valid reason. An irrational bias clearly colors the enforcement of the law. I don't think its so simple as to say anyone with a record gets what they deserve.

Re:This just in: your actions may have implication (1)

djh101010 (656795) | more than 7 years ago | (#18122200)

That argument presumes that the conviction was justified. There is no accounting for bad laws (don't even try to tell me there's no such thing) or for convictions for things which are illegal in American but not in Canada! There are people, senior citizens now, who are still alive and lived in a time when black people could be arrested for going the wrong place. Sodomy laws. Protest arrests.
Wow. So many people reading so much into my post that I didn't write.

There is also the fact that certain classes of people; minorities and the poor to be specific, are statistically much more likely to receive criminal convictions for their first drug case than for wealthy whites charged with the same crime. So there is a large group of more "respectable" people who were similarly irresponsible but got the charges wiped off their record and have more rights for no valid reason. An irrational bias clearly colors the enforcement of the law. I don't think its so simple as to say anyone with a record gets what they deserve.
Well, I think it's fair to say, however, that if you have a record, you'll want to know about these limitations if you want to travel to Canada. And, sorry, but for every person who has been "wronged by the man" or whatever, there's probably a hundred or a thousand who deserve what's on their record.

Re:This just in: your actions may have implication (1)

mdwh2 (535323) | more than 7 years ago | (#18121758)

If you don't like it, well, don't do things to limit that option for yourself, or visit some other place. Their country, their rules.

I'm sorry, I think I missed the part where it said that every Canadian agrees with these rules?

This argument pops up everytime there are restrictions on entry (e.g., fingerprinting). Not everyone is a xenophobe you know - if my own country were to introduce such things, I'd be against it, yet the fact that it's "my country" would then strangely give me little say in the matter.

I want people to be able to visit me without being hassled. Also when one country starts doing such things, other countries often follow, so citizens of all countries end up being affected. A world where movement between countries becomes harder is not one which I want, and I don't see how parrotting "their country, their rules" has any relevance to this issue.

Re:This just in: your actions may have implication (1)

djh101010 (656795) | more than 7 years ago | (#18122122)

If you don't like it, well, don't do things to limit that option for yourself, or visit some other place. Their country, their rules.

I'm sorry, I think I missed the part where it said that every Canadian agrees with these rules?
Apparently I did as well, because I neither said it, quoted it, or thought that had anything to do with it. Why bring it up?

This argument pops up everytime there are restrictions on entry (e.g., fingerprinting). Not everyone is a xenophobe you know - if my own country were to introduce such things, I'd be against it, yet the fact that it's "my country" would then strangely give me little say in the matter.
Let me be more clear. If you want to visit some place, you probably want to find out what the rules are. Just as a general rule of thumb so you don't get surprised, right? Like, if you come in to my house, don't think that lighting up inside is acceptable, because it isn't. The Canadian government has decided that they feel that this sort of thing matters, and are taking steps accordingly. If you, as a Canadian (presumably?) don't like it, work to get your laws changed. But, that's the law on the books at this time, they now have a means and motivation to enforce it, and that's the way it is.


I want people to be able to visit me without being hassled. Also when one country starts doing such things, other countries often follow, so citizens of all countries end up being affected. A world where movement between countries becomes harder is not one which I want, and I don't see how parrotting "their country, their rules" has any relevance to this issue.
Parroting? Seems pretty straightforward to me. Don't like the rules, don't go to the party.

FTA (1)

canUbeleiveIT (787307) | more than 7 years ago | (#18121502)

FTA: as the Canadian Consulate's Web site says, "Driving while under the influence of alcohol is regarded as an extremely serious offense in Canada.

Whatever. I'd say DUI is the norm in Canada. Anybody for a Labatt's?

Re:FTA (0, Offtopic)

AutopsyReport (856852) | more than 7 years ago | (#18122180)

Drinking and driving is quite common, but you are not funny. I had a friend who hit and killed someone while driving drunk. It is a serious offence. Vehicular manslaughter while under the influence is not rare here.

When I suspect someone is driving under the influence, they get a cop on their ass five minutes after I pick up my cellphone. I forbid to let idiots like you and everyone else that downs a beer to think its acceptable to drink and drive, and actually promote the idea of it.

So yeah, let's raise a glass to drinking and driving, because we all know self-preservation is far more important than showing care to the thousands of other people you drive with daily.

Asshole.

A taste of their own medicin (4, Insightful)

FredDC (1048502) | more than 7 years ago | (#18121504)

Well, it seems like US citizens are getting a taste of their own medicin...

The US has been doing the same to many foreign visitors for years, while traffic in the other direction has always been quite open.

The US doesn't allow people who have committed minor offences as well, except with special clearance (and I don't think getting one is easy, not sure about this but it would seem only logical that the US would make this hard). Now some countries are deciding to do apply this rule as well, seems only fair...

Re:A taste of their own medicin (2, Insightful)

pimpimpim (811140) | more than 7 years ago | (#18121630)

Indeed. A lot of scientists for example were hindered by the US immigration service, e.g. by getting their visum for a congress only after the congress is already past. I had the impression that the US immigration got a little better the past few years. In the end, strict admission rules comes to shooting yourself in the foot. You'll need foreigners, be it for low-paid or extremely high-paid jobs, and not allowing new talent into your country is only bad for yourself.

Also, Canada will get a lot less tourists this way, did they ever think of that? I hope they get reasonable soon, and that other countries won't follow these ridiculous standards, otherwise we'll got a world-wide sovjet state as far as freedom of movement is involved.

Re:A taste of their own medicin (4, Insightful)

Rob the Bold (788862) | more than 7 years ago | (#18121714)

Well, it seems like US citizens are getting a taste of their own medicin...

It does sound like payback to me. Not that the US doesn't deserve it, especially with our jackass of a president, but Canada might be cutting off their nose to spite their face. Denying 50- and 60-something baby-boomers tourist entry into Canada because they toked up 30 or 40 years ago is not a good idea economically.

This quote is cute:

"People say, 'I've been going to Canada for 20 years and never had a problem,' '' Lesperance says. "It's classic. I say, 'Well, you've been getting away with it for 20 years.' ''

IOW, they've been "getting away" with spending tourist dollars for 20 years without interference. I doubt that Canadian hotelliers, restauranteurs and merchants had any moral qualms to selling rooms, meals and souvenirs to Americans "criminals" during that time.

This has much more general implications. If things go as the article says, and international tourists from all over the world are turned away from their foreign destinations, you can bet that industries that cater to this business will get the laws changed in their favor and relax restrictions on jaywalkers.

hmm (4, Interesting)

xjmrufinix (1022551) | more than 7 years ago | (#18121516)

So if you were convicted for dodging the Vietnam draft by going to Canada, which the Canadian government allowed, would you be banned from returning now?

Re:hmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18121612)

Most were not convicted, then Carter pardoned anyone who dodged.

Online? (1, Offtopic)

jimstapleton (999106) | more than 7 years ago | (#18121552)

Slashdot really needs a "Your rights Offline" section... I've seen so many that really aren't online. Like this one.

Re:Online? (1)

warrior 33 (1067660) | more than 7 years ago | (#18121784)

This is an online issue. The information that we give/make in our records that are kept by the government are being shared electronicly to these foreign coutries. I personally think it is a good thing. If they have our list and we have theirs than we can build a list that would keep people from going where they please once they choose to become criminals. So if you want to travel don't be an idiot and steal a candy bar.

The good & the bad (2, Interesting)

Adeptus_Luminati (634274) | more than 7 years ago | (#18121558)

Info sharing of criminal records amongst boarder officials = Good
Getting denied entry because of a single life mistake you made 30 years ago when you were young, foolish and smoking too much pot = Bad

Mr. Obvious says: There should be some International agreed upon time limits as to how far back "relatively minor" crime convictions can go before you are denied entry. Better yet, have a scale. I.e. If you were a Nazi leader 40 years ago... yes you are still fucked. If you killed someone by accident while drinking & driving... 20 years. If you stole a chocolate bar from the grocery store...2 years. If you were a free-lance Microsoft marketing enthusiast (aka. DoD member)... we should make you wait 5 minutes while we lay out the red carpet for you.

Adeptus

Re:The good & the bad (1)

MarkRose (820682) | more than 7 years ago | (#18121620)

Better yet, have a scale. I.e. ... If you killed someone by accident while drinking & driving... 20 years.

Pardoned for manslaughter? Fuck that! That's exactly the kind of criminal we don't need in Canada.

Re:The good & the bad (5, Informative)

Hemogoblin (982564) | more than 7 years ago | (#18121746)

FYI, I'm a Immmigration Officer with CBSA. That said, this message is my personal opinion and I do not represent the government. This scale currently exists [see Immigration Refugee Act, A36(1)(b) and A36(2)(b)]. If the crime you committed is equivalent to an indictable Canadian offence (ie not a misdemeanor), then you're inadmissable but its not impossible to get entry. Permits and pardons will allow you into the country. If you commit an offence which would give more than 10 years in prison (ie manslaughter, theft over $5000, etc), then you're inadmissible and its damn hard to get a permit into the country. That is, unless you're a celebrity. Bloody government. Also, if the offence was more than 10 years ago, you didn't commit any OTHER offences, and the offence was the first category, its as if the offence never existed. This article is bullshit media talking, what the hell do they know? Marijuanna possession isn't even an indictable offence in Canada unless its more than 22g. If anything, the guy was inadmissible for the DUI from seven years ago. (recall the 10 year rule, and he has at least two offences). I don't know anything else about this guy except from the article, but our laws are pretty misrepresented in the article.

Re:The good & the bad (1)

houghi (78078) | more than 7 years ago | (#18122190)

If you did your time, it should not be anything. If you didn't do your time, you should be arrested and handed over to the autorities.

No in betweens. Either you did your time or you didn't. This includes mass murderers as well as chocolate bar thieves.

Otherwise you need to lock up all people who ever did anything wrong.

Tit for Tat (5, Insightful)

cdneng2 (695646) | more than 7 years ago | (#18121568)

This article isn't about Canada being a police state.

It was the US that wanted Canadians to have passports to enter the US. Canada implemented the same requirement for Americans entering Canada.

It was the US that wanted the sharing of criminal records for Canadians travelling into the United States, so Canada implemented the same thing for all Americans visiting Canada.

It was the US that instituted the tightened security measures, Canada just followed suit.

Canadians are already being screened this way entering the US, why are Americans upset when Canada starts doing the same thing?

Re:Tit for Tat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18121722)

Finally, some progress in homeland security!

Re:Tit for Tat (1)

rocjoe71 (545053) | more than 7 years ago | (#18121760)

It's not precisely "tit-for-tat" since these measures were agreed upon by both sides.

IIRC, the news coverage about these decisions said the point was to have the same rules on both sides of the border to reduce the confusion about when/how to apply the rules.

Re:Tit for Tat (1, Insightful)

mdwh2 (535323) | more than 7 years ago | (#18121806)

Canadians are already being screened this way entering the US, why are Americans upset when Canada starts doing the same thing?

Perhaps the upset Americans weren't ones which supported the US introducing screening?

It's not tit-for-tat. Tit-for-tat would be only introducing these measures for those who supported them in the US, or the US politicians - now that would be a great way to protest. But two countries both introducing measures which restrict each other's citizens just harms citizens from both countries. And I doubt there's any hint of "revenge" here - I'm sure both Governments are loving being able to tighten controls and share information.

Re:Tit for Tat (1)

eln (21727) | more than 7 years ago | (#18121914)

I just think it's sad. After 9-11, the solution to border security that I heard the most about was to create a "security zone" around all of the US and Canada, where both countries would agree to certain standards in securing their borders from outside threats, but there would still be relatively free movement between the two countries. Now it's all about trying to lock down and secure a border between two nations that were and should be extremely close, and trying to defend what was once the longest undefended border in the world. It's unfortunate that two historically close friends have decided to treat each other in this manner.

As a frequent traveler (2, Interesting)

canuck57 (662392) | more than 7 years ago | (#18121586)

As a frequent traveler I applied for a Canadian passport last October and I haven't gotten it yet... WTF

The worlds two biggest partners with the longest unprotected border have politicians that can't get along. We citizens should kick them both, but Ottawa needs a double kick.

Why not let US border patrol have access to Canadian DMV records and the other way around? Why do we need passports at all? So the terrorists can steal and forge them? Canadian DMV records are some of the best in the world.

North American computers have the info, they know all about anyone who has been here for awhile. When I returned to Alberta some years ago after being gone a long time, I was reactivated bridging my history from when I lived here before.

As for those getting turned back for once upon a time breaking the law, then don't break the law.

So for the politicians I say, Get off your bickering sorry asses and get along. Stop posturing for control and use some common sense will ya?

Re:As a frequent traveler (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18121952)

As a frequent traveler I applied for a Canadian passport last October and I haven't gotten it yet... WTF

That is odd, even though the bureaucracy can be slow. Give them a call.

Why not let US border patrol have access to Canadian DMV records and the other way around? Why do we need passports at all?

Umm, you know, a drivers license indicates two things: who you are, and that you are qualified to drive a vehicle. It doesn't indicate your citizenship or residency status. There are many non-citizen, non-permanent residents who are entitled to get a drivers license.

Canadian DMV records are some of the best in the world.

Riiight. Ontario has a long history of handing out drivers licenses with minimal documentation required. That is one reason land title fraud is so common there.

I was born in Quebec in the 1960s. Even though I still have my original birth certificate issued by the Quebec government, their standards were so lax in handing out birth certificates that the Quebec government faced a crisis. To fix it, they invalidated all Quebec birth certificates issued prior to 1994. I had to get a new birth certificate and pay for it, even though the government fucked up.

When I returned to Alberta some years ago after being gone a long time, I was reactivated bridging my history from when I lived here before.

You were reactivated? What, are you a robot or in suspended animation?

Responsibility for your Actions (1)

ironwill96 (736883) | more than 7 years ago | (#18121602)

I'm not sure what the issue is here. Citizens entering the United States are expected to abide by our rules and regulations for entry (fairly draconian at this point i'm sure). How is it not fair that other countries not hold our citizens to the same standards?

Remember way back when when your parents (hopefully) told you that you have to suffer the consequences for your actions, well, there isn't a time limit on those consequences. We see at least once a year in the news that someone who committed a crime 30-40 years ago is finally arrested and punished for their crimes. Being barred entry unless you fill out some extra paperwork to another country is not what i'd call ridiculous. You can claim unconstitutionally cruel and unsual punishment because of the length to which you are punished for your crimes, but GUESS WHAT - nobody else in the world gives a flip about our constitution, they have their own set of rules by which we have to abide if we wish to travel there. Entry into another country is a priviledge granted by that country, not our right. They can choose to deny anyone they wish for any reason and we can whine and moan about it but that doesn't mean they can't do it.

Perhaps my views here are a tad too black and white as i'm sure there are special cases where the person convicted of said offense was innocent, but police agencies don't generally deal well with shades of grey.

Re:Responsibility for your Actions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18121738)

"GUESS WHAT - nobody else in the world gives a flip about our constitution,.."

WADDAYA mean! It's THE CONSTITUTION!

We are the rulers of the world, and what we say goes. You better believe it if'n'less you wanna nuke up your ass.

We're fighting a war in Iraq to make them take up good ole' democracy, instead of whatever Islam crap they used to use before. Than means a President, a Senate, a Congress, two parties and a CONSTITUTION.

Re:Responsibility for your Actions (2, Insightful)

mdwh2 (535323) | more than 7 years ago | (#18121832)

I'm not sure what the issue is here. Citizens entering the United States are expected to abide by our rules and regulations for entry (fairly draconian at this point i'm sure). How is it not fair that other countries not hold our citizens to the same standards?

Because two wrongs don't make a right.

Government A makes thinks worse for Citizen B. Government C responds by making things worse for Citizen D. Nope, I don't see how that's fair - Governments A and C end up increasing their powers, and citizens B and D lose out.

Re:Responsibility for your Actions (1)

Rob the Bold (788862) | more than 7 years ago | (#18122110)

Remember way back when when your parents (hopefully) told you that you have to suffer the consequences for your actions, well, there isn't a time limit on those consequences.

So, besides you, who benefits from everlasting and unlimited consequences and retribution for minor crimes?

Well now... (5, Funny)

carvalhao (774969) | more than 7 years ago | (#18121614)

... as someone who was recently refused a visitors' visa to the USA because I've worked 1 month in Saudi Arabia as a CRM consultant, I can't help a grin followed by an "oh bummer!"

I guess that the "keep our country to the locals" isn't so nice when you're on the other side of the border, isn't it?

Please mod me flamebait, but I really couldn't help it :D

Re:Well now... (1)

Detritus (11846) | more than 7 years ago | (#18121688)

Why would the USA care about your job in Saudi Arabia?

Re:Well now... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18122104)

He might have contracted Arab while he was there.

As an American, this is good news (4, Interesting)

analog_line (465182) | more than 7 years ago | (#18121670)

Finally, people are starting to give us back as good as we are giving them. It's about time. What's good for the goose is good for the gander. Hopefully every country will start applying the full standard and stopping US government officials they don't like from entering as well. Then maybe we'll see some change here, and possibly a little humility.

You foreigners have been way too cowardly, refusing standing up for yourselves against my government. Get some fucking backbone.

fir5t (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18121674)

encounTered while

This stuff happening? at the CANADIAN border? (0, Flamebait)

dpbsmith (263124) | more than 7 years ago | (#18121698)

I don't believe for a minute that this is anything more but passive-aggressive behavior on the part of the Canadians for our treating them as we still hated them for being on the Loyalist side in the American Revolution.

I can't believe a passport is required for a trip to Canada. Canada, for gosh sakes.

All that crap I learned in school about how friendly the two countries were and how informal border formalities were and how it was the longest unguarded border in the world... and now this.

A few years ago my wife and I took our first trip to Europe, and we were concerned because our destination was The Netherlands and we were flying into Antwerp. I was saying to our friends that it was all well and good that we could save time on the flight, but I was leery of running into border formalities, especially when tired and jet-lagged. Our friends kept laughing, and saying that there was nothing at the Belgium-Netherlands border, nothing at all, not so much as a kiosk or a friendly uniformed guy to wave at us.

We didn't believe them. It was true.

We were less aware of crossing this national border than we were of crossing from Massachusetts into New York (where the pavement changes texture, and there are toll boths and big signs telling us how glad Eliot Spitzer is to see us).

Our border crossing at Niagara Falls a few years ago, where we had to wait in a line of cars for about three minutes and wave a birth certificate at an official, looked like an ordeal by comparison.

And now? Passports and background checks? Holy cow, what are things coming to? How long before we build a concrete wall?

It's a crying shame.

Border Security kills Canadian tourism... (2, Insightful)

ZugBonk (982171) | more than 7 years ago | (#18121702)

Little bit of a disconnect between Canadian Border Security and Canadian Tourism industry. The only thing this will do is put a cooling effect on American tourists going to Canada. Mostly because of media over reaction and hype. But still, this enforced policy will most certainly cost Canada millions in tourist dollars because the average american will not know if a 30 year old littering conviction will keep them out, so why bother making vacation plans to Canada. All this enforced security is still not going to keep the terrorists from just walking across the border. Seems rather pointless.

Know Your Place (4, Insightful)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 7 years ago | (#18121720)

I live in the EU. Technically, I can send goods, and especially money, from my own country to another in the union and not have to pay any customs or tarriffs. There is free trade of goods here.

Technically, there is also free movement of people, but this is a sham. Even before the 9/11 hysteria began, you still needed a passport to go just about anywhere. Every time I travel in this suppossedly free union, I have to present my papers and declare my goods etc. The stated purpose for these controls is protecting us from terrorism, immigration, criminals, etc, etc, etc. The reality is that government want to show that we only enter and leave countries by their say so. Plebs have no right of free travel. (Big businessmen and polititians on the other hand, regularly find themselves exempt from border controls).

I knew someone worked for a short time in Saudi Arabia. When he arrived they slapped a sticker over his passport with the name of the company he worked in english and arabic. The message was clear. He was a vassal of that company, and the saudi government. To leave that country, he needed an exit visa. If the company wasn't prepared to give him one, he was trapped there. If the company no longer wished to employ him, his visa would expire and he would be there illegally. He was completely at the mercy of the company he worked for.

That is what passports and visas are for. The passport is a direct descendant of the lords chit, when back in the middle ages you needed your lords permission to leave his demense. In modern times we have replaces "lord" with government, or in saudi arabia, "company". Passports do not exist to protect us. They exist to control us. Governments yearn for the day when every citizen must have their papers, when we are once again serfs for private companies.

Governments are beginning to share data in this way not because their own situation has changed, but because the situation of the companies people work for has changed. Companies are now global, and they need to move their loyal employees around with them, and restrict the movement of those who displease them. Troublemakers or other undesirables are best kept hemmed in by petty rules and restrictions. Blemishes on the records of the favoured will be ignored. Parking tickets on the record of union organisers will result in revocation of their chits.

In all likelihood, our society will become like saudi arabia long before saudi arabia becomes like us. Western society is regressing, and increasingly stringent border and passport controls are a symptom of that regression.

Re:Know Your Place (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18121890)

You don't need a passport to travel inside the schengen area. Inside the EU you only need passport to travel to UK, Irland and the new countries.

Hysteria? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18122002)

UK, huh?
Borders between mainland countries really are open, and getting more so (i.e. you can now go to new EU countries like Slovenia with zero border controls). Airports do tend to be locked down, but you can drive from country to country with no problems.

Even as a UK citizen you don't have to declare your goods - every airport I've been through has an "EU citizens" channel where you don't pass customs. You do have to present an ID card/passport when you fly, but there are the exact same controls on flights internal to a country. Movement within the EU is almost as free as within an individual EU country, also sadly we haven't been able to legislate away the English Channel which is the real inconvenience in travelling to/from Britain.

Re:Know Your Place (1)

oliderid (710055) | more than 7 years ago | (#18122084)

Err...If you are a citizen of a member of the Schengen treaty (15 European countries have implemented it, 15 others mainly middle/eastern european countries are about to join it).
You can freely move anywhere.

More information:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schengen_Agreement [wikipedia.org]

If you are from a Schengen country. You only need your ID card with you.
If you aren't you need your passport. (ex: British citizen)
If you country requires a visa. You only need a Visa once to visit these countries.

I don't know where you are from, but beeing a Belgian I Have never been controlled except in France (De Gaule Airport, few weeks after the New York tragic events) and it was pretty fast. Last year I visited Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Spain and I have never experienced any of your problems.

Re:Know Your Place (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18122210)

While I'm inclined on agreeing with your tirade about passports and visas in general, one thing tips my curiosity: considering that on mainland Europe there are no more border control stations between the countries that signed the Schengen treaty, where exactly are you forced to present your passport? Or maybe your mixing airport security with border controls? Or with the requirement of carrying an ID that some European countries have, whether you're a visiting foreigners or a national? Just wondering, since I've driven from one end of the continent to the other without ever having to show any form of ID...

Welcome to the North American Union (2, Funny)

gd23ka (324741) | more than 7 years ago | (#18121892)

where sentences and conviction travel at lightspeed while the indentured
populations stay on the plantation?

"Boy why would you want to go up north anyway? Who would be to keep you
and feed you?"

Too bad we don't get help from Mexico (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18121970)

Of course, it's hard to check the records of people crossing the desert in the middle of the night.

Funny Story About that.... (1)

RockoTDF (1042780) | more than 7 years ago | (#18122022)

I actually know a guy who was on an organized trip who was turned away because they had to inspect the entire bus....he had a drunk driving conviction at some point apparently. He got stuck in no-man's land for a few hours before leaving and then being smuggled back across by another friend of his.

Uh oh! (1)

alisson (1040324) | more than 7 years ago | (#18122038)

So if I'm to emigrate, I'd best do it now, eh?

Re:Uh oh! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18122172)

I'm completely with you on this one.. I've been contemplating it for awhile now, looks like it just made my decision a bit easier.

We were warned. (2, Funny)

dubyadee (1052084) | more than 7 years ago | (#18122042)

Remember being warned in school that our offenses would be put on our "permanent record"? Well, see!? It was true. No all you naughty children will pay the price! Ha! Ha! Ha!

Some states and countries seal old records (1)

davidwr (791652) | more than 7 years ago | (#18122064)

Does yours? If not, lobby to make it so.

Personally, I think every misdemeanor and every "minor" felony, say, one where the maximum possible sentence is less than 5-10 years, should be routinely sealed after a period of time. Unseal it only if there's a new conviction, so the guy can get a longer sentence the 2nd time around. For traffic citations, petty theft, "personal use" drug charges, minor prostitution, and other misdemeanors, this should only be a few years. For minor felonies, it should be 3-5 times the maximum sentence with some minimum, perhaps 5 or 10 years. Something you do at 18 that could've got you 10 years should be sealed by the time you are 58 if not a lot sooner.

If you need it sealed sooner, you should be able to request a hearing. However, the prosecutor and your victims will be notified and given a chance to speak up at your hearing. Victim impact statements from the original trial will also be considered.

Major felonies, those that you can get over 10 years in prison for, won't be automatically sealed but you could still request a seal after some minimum period of time.
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