Chassidic Men Denigrated by Customs Border Patrol Agent at U.S.-Canadian Border

By Hamodia Staff

Rouses Point Port of Entry.

NEW YORK – Two Chassidic Jews travelling from Canada to the United States were asked by a Customs Border Patrol (CBP) agent why “you people” were coming to this crossing, and told that “you people” smuggle money.

While most travelers use the Champlain–St. Bernard de Lacolle Border Crossing, which connects St-Bernard-de-Lacolle, Quebec and Champlain, New York, several choose to use the Rouses Point Port of Entry in Clinton County, which usually has less traffic and can save them time on their entry.

The smaller Rouses Point crossing is mostly used by local residents to help them avoid the long lines that sometimes form at the Champlain crossing, and there is an unwritten understanding that other travelers should use the larger Champlain crossing.

“On Thursday, November 24, my friend and I were traveling to New York because the Toldos Avraham Yitzchak Rebbe, shlita, was here,” one of the travelers, who wishes to remain anonymous, told Hamodia. “We knew that it was Thanksgiving weekend, and expected that there would be a backup by the Champlain Border Crossing because of the shortage of agents due to the holiday. In addition, my friend wanted to use the Rouses Point crossing because the duty free shop at that location carries a certain liquor which has kosher supervision.”

After purchasing the liquor, the travelers approached the crossing, and the CBP agent asked them, “Why are you coming here?” He also asked how much money they were carrying, and they responded that they had just a few hundred dollars, substantially below the ten thousand dollars which they are permitted to carry with them over the border. During their conversation with the officer, he told them, “You people always smuggle money” and “tell your people not to come to this border.”

The travelers were shocked by what transpired, and members of the Jewish community in Montreal and New York have condemned the action of the CBP agent and are asking for an investigation.

“It is unconscionable that the CBP agent should treat us in such a manner,” the traveler said. “To single us out and speak to us this way is unprofessional and we contacted the authorities to demand that they put an immediate stop to this harassment.”

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