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CBP bats down iPad border crosser claims


U.S. Customs and Border Protection on Jan. 4 called a Canadian man’s claims to have entered the U.S. using only a scanned image of his passport on an iPad “categorically false.”

News reports on Jan. 4 said Martin Reisch, 33, a resident of Montreal, claimed he entered the United States across the northern border from Canada without a passport, after showing U.S. border agents only a scanned version of the document on his Apple iPad.

According to news reports, Reisch claimed he had driven from Montreal before realizing half an hour from the border he didn’t have his passport. He then told a U.S. Customs and Border Protection agent at the border he was dropping off Christmas gifts for his friend's children in the U.S., before presenting the scanned passport and driver's license on the electronic tablet.

The reports were only hours old, when CPB responded in a statement that the claims were “categorically false.” The agency asserted that Reisch had both a valid driver’s license and birth certificate, which the CBP officer used to determine identity and citizenship before he was allowed into the U.S.

The agency said for the last two years U.S. and Canadian citizens entering the U.S. by land or sea from within the Western Hemisphere are required to present a valid, Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI)-compliant document, which includes a passport, U.S. Passport card, Trusted Traveler card (NEXUS, SENTRI, FAST/EXPRES, or Global Entry), or enhanced driver's license/enhanced identification card.

It said scanned or digital images of WHTI-compliant documents aren’t accepted forms of identification. “If a traveler does not present WHTI-compliant documents, CBP officers must determine identity and citizenship using a variety of other means, or deny entry,” said the CBP statement.