American border patrol officers reportedly detained a Canadian doctor for five hours as he was entering Michigan via the Blue Water Bridge from Point Edward, Ontario on 24 February. Dr Sardar Ahmad told local media that he was asked to pull over his car to the side of the road and give up his car keys.
The Afghanistan-born doctor was allegedly questioned by customs agents about his "tribe", the name of his "tribal chief" and whether he had seen a lot of gunmen during his time living in the war-torn country. When he asked the authorities if he could make a phone call to his clinic to inform the patients that he would be delayed, he was told that he could not touch the phone.
"It was frustrating for me because I was worried, I was scared, I didn't know what was going to happen next," he told the Sarnia Observer. "You never know. They could put you in jail. You could lose your career – everything – all overnight."
Ahmad has spent more than a decade living outside Afghanistan, and moved to the US after winning the prestigious Fullbright scholarship. In 2007 he relocated to Canada where he set up a medical practice in Ontario and gained citizenship.
The 43-year-old was en route to his Nexus office in Michigan when the incident happened. A few days prior to the incident, he received a notice that his Nexus card – a pass that allows for expedited border-crossing – has been revoked. Ahmad wanted to visit his office to sort out the issue.
After five hours at the border, the doctor was finally allowed to call his clinic and given entry into the US. However, he refused to travel into the country and said that he had no interest in entering America after his stressful experience.
Ahmed's case comes on the heels of another incident at the Philipsburg border, where a Moroccan-born Canadian citizen was detained and questioned about her religion and views on Donald Trump. Fadwa Alaoui was travelling with her two children and an adult cousin for a day of shopping in Burlington, Vermont. After four hours, Alaoui and her family were denied entry into the US.