What was supposed to be a regular entry into the United States turned into a trip of frustration.
"One of three things was going to happen; that I was either going to get let through, get sent back, or be barred for five years," Kyle Kachirka said.
On his way to the Sh-Bang music festival in Bellingham, Wash. Kachirka arrived at the Sumas American border crossing. Kachirka was set to work as a volunteer and stage hand for the event but the American border patrol took Kachirka aside and brought him in for extensive questioning.
"I was just telling the truth, being completely compliant and nothing was enough," said Kachirka. "When you’re in there, I didn’t really know what I could do or say. There was a point where I just wanted to go back to Canada and figure this out, but that opportunity never came up. Eventually we went into an interrogation room. And then the border patrol officer sent his paperwork up to the superior and then he came back to me with a five year bar."
Kachirka said he does not have a criminal record. He was told he was denied entry because he was stealing American jobs, he said.
"But I don't see how I was doing that. It was volunteer work. It's just this reckless use of power and just being so absolute with everything and not recognizing or willing to do the work with complicated matters."
After meeting with an American lawyer Kachirka was told he had two options. He could get a waiver which would take about six to eight months and would cost around $1,000 USD or he could try for a reconsideration at the same border crossing which would cost nearly $2,500. Kachirka chose neither based on affordability.
"I was in complete disbelief, I couldn't stop laughing at it, I thought this was ridiculous," said Kachirka. "Of course this is where we’re at right now, It made me think that they were very paranoid, that there was this fear that people wanted to come in and take American jobs.
"It’s as if they were saying the rest of the world isn’t as good as America, everybody wants us. They call themselves the land of the brave, and there not really showing much courage or bravery."
US Customs and Border Protection did not respond to a request for comment as of Tuesday evening.