CBC News, September 9, 2011, By Sarah Bridge – Canadians with mental illnesses denied U.S. Entry – Data entered into national police database accessible to American authorities: WikiLeaks
Police had been called to a woman’s home because she attempted suicide with a pill overdose (she had been battling chronic pain, anxiety, & depression for years). This was 4 years prior to 2011. There were no charges as it was not a criminal matter but a medical emergency. Suicide (actual or attempted) is not illegal in Canada or the U.S. But when she went to the U.S border in 2011 she was denied access because the U.S. had the “dated” police information (it did not report her mental health recovery). More than a dozen others have reported similar stories about being refused entry to the U.S. because their records of mental illness was shared with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
“So far, the RCMP hasn’t provided the office (The Toronto Psychatric Advocate Office) with clear answers about how or why police records of non-violent mental health incidents are passed across the border.”
“According to diplomatic cables released earlier this year by WikiLeaks, any information entered into the national Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC) database is accessible to American authorities.”
Stanley Stylianos, program manager for the Psychiatric Patient Advocate Office says his organization is trying to get this information not included in CPIC. “Once that information gets into the American system, you can’t control it,” he says.
You may or may not agree whether the information should be included in CPRIC. I personally don’t see any reason why it should be. But that is another issue to be debated.
My questions are:
- Why do people have to go to a foreign country to find out that this information is being shared, or find out from Wiki-leaks or from brave people, like the lady in this article, who must share very personal information to raise awareness. People make plans and travel to a foreign border, usually with friends and/or family, only to find out they can’t cross a border. Their travel plans are ruined and how do they explain to family/friends what is extremely personal information, and perhaps no longer even relevant. What happens when you fly to a country, for example, France? After you have flown across the Atlantic, do they force you to get on another flight home, after all your flight/hotel, etc. expenses have been paid? Or is this an issue strictly with the U.S.? The point is that OUR GOVERNMENT should be telling its citizens that this information is being shared and what to do about it.
- “Brad Benson from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security says medical records aren’t shared between countries.” Yet, while I have been in front of St. Paul’s, several people, with AIDS, have told me about being refused entry to the U.S. And one person said no one but his doctor knew about his condition. So, if people with certain medical conditions are not allowed in the U.S., how does the U.S. know who they are? (Note: the restriction on people with AIDS entering the U.S. has been recently reversed but this does not change the question).
- Who else has access to CPIC?
The lady did get entry to the U.S. but first “she had to submit her medical records to the U.S. And get clearance from a Homeland Security-approved doctor in Toronto, who charged her $250 for the service.”
And the U.S. has been continually complaining that they don’t get enough of our personal information.
PRIME-BC and CPIC are different databases but are they linked?;
Does the U.S. and others have access to PRIME-BC as it does CPIC?