BLAINE, Wash. — A woman jogging along a beach accidentally crossed the US border from Canada, and ended up detained in Washington state.
Cedella Roman, 19, was visiting her mother from France when she went jogging last month just south of White Rock, British Columbia. She mistakenly continued jogging into Blaine, Washington, she told CNN partner CBC.
As Roman stopped to take a picture of the view, she turned around and saw two US Border Patrol officers approaching her.
“He stopped me and started telling me I had crossed the border illegally. I told him I really hadn’t done it on purpose, and didn’t understand what was happening to me,” she told the CBC.
Roman, a French citizen, was not carrying any documents at the time.
“They put me in the caged vehicles and brought me into their facility,” she said. “They asked me to remove all my personal belongings with my jewelry, they searched me everywhere.
Then I understood it was getting very serious, and I started to cry a bit,” Roman added.
US Border Patrol arrested Roman on May 21 and transferred her to an immigration detention center in Tacoma, Washington, according to Carissa Cutrell, public affairs officer with US Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
“If an individual enters the United States at a location other than an official port of entry and without inspection by a Customs and Border Protection officer, they have illegally entered the United States and will be processed accordingly,” Customs and Border Protection said.
“It is the responsibility of an individual traveling in the vicinity of an international border to maintain awareness of their surroundings and their location at all times to ensure they do not illegally cross the border.”
Authorities received Roman’s “travel documents” three days after her arrest, but it wasn’t until days later that both Canadian and American immigration officials determined she could enter Canada. She remained in custody for a total of two weeks.
She was taken to the US-Canadian border near Blaine on June 5, Cutrell said.
Roman’s mother, Christiane Ferne, who visited her daughter several times while she was detained, said the detention was unfair because she says there are no signs warning pedestrians of the international border.
“It’s like a trap … anybody can be caught at the border like this,” Ferne told CBC.