U.S. Denies Entry To Canadian Man “Looking For Loads” On Hookup App

Filed Under: Travel

Daily Xtra has the crazy story of a Canadian man who was denied entry to the U.S. after the Customs & Border Protection Agency searched his phone before boarding a flight. He was selected for a secondary screening, and the officer demanded the password for his phone. The officer went through his phone, including the gay hookup app Scruff, and gay sex site BBRT.

They found messages of the man saying he was “looking for loads,” which the officer interpreted to mean that he was soliciting cash in exchange for sex. Here’s what went down:

“I didn’t know what to do. I was scared, so I gave them the password and then I sat there for at least an hour or two. I missed my flight,” André says. “He came back and just started grilling me. ‘Is this your email?’ and it was an email attached to a Craigslist account for sex ads. He asked me, ‘Is this your account on Scruff? Is this you on BBRT?’ I was like, ‘Yes, this is me.’”

When the officer asked him what he meant by “looking for loads,” André says he tried to explain, but the officer kept grilling him.

“I could tell just by his nature that he had no intentions of letting me through. They were just going to keep asking me questions looking for something,” he says. “So I asked for the interrogation to stop. I asked if I go back to Canada am I barred for life? He said no, so I accepted that offer.”

It gets worse, because weeks later he tried to fly to the U.S. again, but had similar problems:

This time, he brought what he thought was ample proof that he was not a sex worker: letters from his employer, pay stubs, bank statements, a lease agreement and phone contracts to prove he intended to return to Canada.

When he went through secondary inspection at Vancouver airport, US Customs officers didn’t even need to ask for his passwords — they were saved in their own system. But André had wiped his phone of sex apps, browser history and messages, thinking that would dispel any suggestion he was looking for sex work. Instead, the border officers took that as suspicious.

“They went through my computer. They were looking through Word documents,” André says. “I had nude photos of myself on my phone, and they were questioning who this person was. It was really humiliating and embarrassing.”

“They said, ‘Next time you come through, don’t have a cleared phone,’ and that was it. I wasn’t let through. He said I’m a suspected escort. You can’t really argue with them because you’re trapped,” he says.

What a situation! Non-Americans don’t have an absolute right to visit the U.S., so there aren’t really limits to what they can demand to search at the border. This situation sounds especially humiliating…

  1. Why humiliating? If they have a right to search anything, why is being asked to show anything humiliating?

  2. This article is pretty innapropriate if you ask me. And I’m a gay man.

    This doesn’t belong on a blog like this.

  3. Surely you know what he meant by looking for loads? As does almost every reader on here. Guess the customs agent doesn’t read urban dictionary…

  4. You wonder was this man a suspected sex worker or a known homosexual? If he has tinder, chat convos with a bunch of woman and naked photos of woman on his phone would he have been denied entry?

    Clearly a terrorist threat, glad DHS kept him out. Really keeping America safe. Who knows what evils this man might have committed?

  5. Make america great again guys. Just read about a British teacher denied entry as his first name was mohammed, and the ex Norewgian prime minister held up as he had visited Iran.

    A great job is done to keep ur country safe. Be proud of it.

  6. On a different note, shouldn’t you be wring about the Qatar new Business Class that was revealed? It looks pretty good to me.

  7. @ron – the new QR J seat is being unveiled at ITB in Berlin in March. Where have you seen images of it already??

  8. Just to answer some concerns, canadian customs is annoying and ruthless at times and yes they will deny entry to straight people and have – if they feel the person can be a sex worker. Just watch Canadian Boarder Patrol!

  9. One of US requirements is no entry to sex workers. If this jerk had nude photos of himself on his phone and apps for Grinder and other gay hookup sites, why would they not suspect a male prostitute??

    If it looks like a prostiute, talks like a prostitute and walks like a prostiute, it probably is

    You are what you post online!

  10. Only this happens in that shit hole of a country with a horrendous minimum wage and wanky annual leave. God bless Australia

  11. Sounds like creepy and way-too-zealous local officials using the political situation as an opportunity to harass people.

  12. “One of US requirements is no entry to sex workers. If this jerk had nude photos of himself on his phone and apps for Grinder and other gay hookup sites, why would they not suspect a male prostitute??”

    Because there are plenty of people who have all those things on their phones, and they are not prostitutes.

    I’m ashamed and angry that US border agents are behaving this way.

  13. @david you might want to read the whole article. Guy provided pay stubs and bank statement second time around. Clearly has a real job and is not a sex worker.

    Looking into the story further on google it really seems he was banned either for being gay or because DHS thought any sexually active gay man had to be a sex worker.

  14. Welcome to the USA under Donald Trump. Non-Americans should stay home until we’ve rid ourselves of this horror. I certainly wish I could get the hell out.

  15. Trump is going to destroy tourism in your country. Even myself, a straight, white Canadian with a young family are reconsidering our yearly trips to NYC. We love visiting America and it costs us a lot of money due to the exchange rate. We feel safe and people have always been friendly. But who knows what your unhinged president has planned down the road. I’m sure we won’t have issues crossing the border but the possibility of any type of hassle means a rethink of our vacation plans. There are plenty of great countries to visit, including my own, that are welcoming of tourists. Border agents are on power trips now – imagine giving them more power to implement trump’s mission.

  16. @John

    Disturbing and fucked up as it’s this has been going on for a few years now.

    Customs & Border Protection Agency searched his phone

    And you will find mentions of this from 2015 and 2016 as well. Everything from people remotely connected to wikileaks, aka they were in the phone book of a real wikileak member who got stop and had his devices searched, to documentary film makers that make films on subject that the US Government don’t like, to computer security researchers whose devices the somebody in the US Government want access to and would never get an search warrant.

    So noting new.

    There might be some overly eager Feds ordering more of these stops seeing as the Pres is lets face it technological ignorant (aside from Twitter) same as much of the judiciary branch (sadly), or the mainstream press is going after it now that it has been a change in the White House and they need something to tar and feather Trump with

  17. Jonn and Brian, Seeing as this happened under the Obama administration, I fail to see how this is a Trump issue. But why should you allow the facts get in the way of your narrative. The internet can be your friend, look the story up and you will see that it was “former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and former President Barrack Obama who signed an agreement to greatly expand US Customs power to detain, question and search people in Canada trying to enter the United States”. I would also like to make it perfectly clear, I did not vote for President Trump…just getting tired of reading this blog and seeing comments from people like you…which is to say you are not truthful…just like President Trump.

  18. Stop the press one gay man out of thousand crossing the border everyday has been rejected, I am sure you also can find a bisexual or “GOSH” heterosexual man rejected at the border.

    But blame it on Trump because before him, everyone could just cross the border RIGHT.

    Kjell Magne Bondevik was processed as the rest of the boarder crossers – an extra screening because he hat a Iranian stam in his diplomatic passport, what a horrendous act of terror against an EX primeminister know an average Joe with diplomatic passport, as an ex minister he should be greeted as an god and people should bow for him.

  19. Oh, my link is caught in moderation. Anyway, the panda Bao Bao is leaving Washington for China to enter their captive breeding program.

  20. I doubt this story is true. The government workers at the airport cant find guns in carry-ons but they can spot gay apps and find one email among thousands? I can’t even find my own emails sometimes. I call shenanigans on this story. More anti-Trump hysteria.

  21. Nnice, now nobody should even try to go to murica! Why would anyone, this is way worse than coming into Russia or UAE. you voted there you have it!

  22. I agree with ChiGuy. You put out great information and stories. However, this is one story you should have not posted.

  23. These stories come out of the US yet Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the UAE get bashed for not being gay-friendly.

    One thing’s for sure, you won’t see people asking you to stop flying US carriers because of this, it’s a privilege only the gulf states have.

  24. With the price of smartphones plummeting, it probably makes sense for international travellers to the US to start carrying a “border phone”… maybe a basic Moto E or something, with only a handful of innocuous apps and an e-mail app linked to a throwaway address with a empty inbox. Access everything through the browser, in incognito mode.

  25. I am no fan of Trump, but people seem to have missed that the article says the first entry attempt was months ago. So that would be under the last Administration.

  26. Wow. The comments have just exploded. The fact of the matter is that while technically any nation’s border force may stop you and demand your passwords, the US is the only one that has begun doing this as a matter of routine policy for people sent to secondary.

    But before the Canadians out there get all hollier-than-thou, CBSA stopped my dad and his bf from crossing because the crusty old fart said there was too much of an age difference for them to be in a “normal relationship.” (whatever that was supposed to mean) No country has a monopoly on a-holes on a power trip.

  27. An episode this weekend on Border Security (the series about US CPB similar to the Canadian series referenced above) featured the interrogation of a Brit trying to enter the US (IIRC @ORD) who found himself in a similar situation after the officer found emails that referenced same gender, non-sex hook-ups for which he’d be paid. He was not let into the country. Being refused entry for not having work visas seems to be a feature of this series. There is currently a debate up in Canada over the extent of powers that US CPB officers have during the PreClearance process as Parliament debates an extension to the existing laws permitting this activity up here.

  28. Not sure I believe this story. If this really happened, they must have had reasons for sending him to secondary in the first place.

  29. As I have said before, I personally despise Trump and his “agenda” but really, this is not something new. Canada, US, Germany, etc have been pulling random travelers (me included upon entering into Canada four years ago) for years to inspect their emails and social media accounts. It’s only getting legs now as everyone (and in many ways I won’t argue) look for angles to make Trump into a villain (and he is). But, let’s stick to the real levels of horror and not nit-pick on issues that, in reality and while unjust, have been going on for some time and by far more countries than just the US.

  30. Not in favor of the current administration BUT how is this different from anything that has happened under previous presidents? Being from Canada or having a Visa has never given anyone the right to enter in the US. It is always by the discretion of an immigration officer if he/she will allow you in. There are several cases everyday of people being denied entry in the US simply because an immigration office did not like something about the person. Thus, nothing to do with the current administration but similar to the power that was given to flight attendants, immigration officers can make your life miserable if they want to.

  31. Agree that this is not a Trump era thing but has been a very topical in 4th amendment legal discussion for some time. In general, at the border they can search anything but there is a dispute as to whether you can be compelled to give your password or unlock you your phone with your fingerprint. There is a circuit split on this issue. There does not seen to be any evidence that this man was offering sex for money and in fact he brought proof to the contrary that he was a sex worker. CBP reasoning is pretty thin here and I’m pretty sure that you could find worse posts on craigslist than “looking for loads” none of which suggest than money is in the equation.

    No matter what, it is humiliating to have someone go through your phone and private photos especially if there are nude photos. This is not exclusive to gay men because we know that many people regardless of sexuality take and send nudes, including many celebrities (from hacked phones) and many minor teenagers. Most people do not want others to pry into their sex lives and that is a perfectly reasonable thing, especially when there doesn’t even seem to be a scintilla of evidence that this man is in fact a sex worker.

  32. The old rule still holds. Don’t do anything in (what you think is) private that you aren’t willing to have the world find out about.

  33. Why do people ridiculously think this has anything to do with Trump. USA Border Patrol has been doing this for DECADES. Heck, they hassle Asians at the Canadian border ALL THE TIME for being Asian! Questions like, “Where were you born?” and “Are you sure about that…you don’t look like you are from America?” and “Why is your English so good?” are COMMON.

  34. As @Cygnus pointed out, this crap was going on under Obama as well.

    It’s my company’s policy to issue people traveling abroad burner phones and clean laptops. When you get to your destination, you buy a local SIM and send the # back home. When you get to the hotel, you go to the company’s website, download the VPN software, enter your credentials, and let it run for an hour or so while it sets up the laptop. At the end of the trip, you click the big red button on the desktop and it wipes the HDD, putting it back to a factory-clean state.

    This policy was implemented at our company many years ago when someone we know at a different firm had their laptop seized by CBP and held for over a month. I’ve also heard stories of UK customs agents copying laptop hard drives and phone contents as well.

  35. I am a dual citizen of the United States and of Canada. It’s funny how there really ARE people like us. We got to US Immigration and border patrol and my was the agent cranky as hell. She made my spouse and I fill out separate customs forms. When she asked what I did for a living I guess that CPA or gaming industry regulator didn’t quite click. I actually had to produce my badge and my State of Nevada Gaming Control Board credential. I have to say, she changed her attitude REALLY fast and talked with me for about half an hour about what it was like working border patrol and LIVING in Canada. I soon realized the reason for her mood. Border Patrol agents put up with wIth a LOT of crap from people heading to the US and feel entitled to tell agents where to Stick it or flash “don’t you know who I think I used to be??” Working in Montreal, which is expensive as hell to begin with, and being the only person to bring in an income because her husband was not allowed to work in Canada, she was frustrated at dipsticks who passed her booth, making threats about her job security and living in Canada. I was absolutely blown away by the abuse some of these folks take from US Citizens who have no appreciation for how important the border patrol officers jobs are, and then to put up with the borderline abuse or be accused of brutality or something else involving “under color of law” and I had no idea what that meant. But for what she was being paid and living in Montreal as expensive as it is, I could well understand her frustration and her mood. Sometimes it just takes listening and commiserating to make their day a little better. Especially if they feel valued, appreciated, and work extremely hard at a thankless job that doesn’t pay enough to put up with the crap she and other agents deal with each day. I guess that is one of the only times I have ever really seen the vulnerability and unappreciated nature and effects of these agents tough jobs. I couldn’t do what these brave men and women do. Auditing systems and writing technical standards for the gaming industry just doesn’t compare. I can say without a doubt that I could not do that job. Lives on the line, single income and sometimes long hours. These guys really deserve a lot of respect and gratitude for the tough job they do. I think that agent made as big of an impact on me as I did on her and her colleagues. I usually never have need of my badge, but it can calm the waters when they understand they are speaking to one of their own. I tip my cap at these folks. They always deserve respect and absolute cooperation from the public.

  36. This article does absolutely belong here and only touches the surface of the life of border patrol agents.

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