Feature: Canadian Mom Searching for Missing Daughter Denied Entry to US Over 21-Year-Old Drug Conviction

Glendene Grant, a 49-year-old resident of Kamloops, British Columbia, never had any interest in visiting the United States. That changed a little more than a year ago, when her daughter, then 21-year-old Jessie Foster went missing in Las Vegas in March 2006. Since then, she has made three trips to the US to talk with investigators and publicize her daughter's case on TV talk shows.

Jessie Foster traveled to Las Vegas in 2005, and became a prostitute working for an escort service -- a fact her mother did not know until she began investigating her disappearance. For more than a year, there has been no sign of her. Her case had been declared "cold" by the North Las Vegas Police Department, but on the suggestion of a US journalist, Grant contacted a new unit in the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department dedicated to human trafficking cases, the ATLAS (Anti-Trafficking League Against Slavery). ATLAS agreed to take on the Foster case, saying it had the earmarks of a sex slavery case.

Jessie Foster
Grant was set to travel to Las Vegas again last week to meet with investigators and local media about the case, but this time she was turned back by US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at the Vancouver airport. The reason? She had a 1986 conviction for marijuana and cocaine possession.

As Drug War Chronicle reported just two weeks ago, both the US and Canada bar people who admit past drug use or have drug convictions from entering the country. Glendene Grant found that out the hard way, and she can't believe her ancient conviction even matters.

"I was supposed to fly last Monday night, but when I got to the airport, they told me to come back the next day," Grant told Drug War Chronicle. "I went early and spent three hours talking to one of the agents, and he finally said I would be denied and that I would have to get a waiver -- the same form they had given me the night before. I asked to speak to CBP supervisor Patricia Lundy, but I could tell she was not going to listen to anything I had to say. She asked if my daughter had chosen to go to Las Vegas, and when I said yes, she said 'Then I guess she made her own choices, didn't she?' When I asked 'Are you telling me my daughter chose to be kidnapped?' she threw me out of the office and called the RCMP to escort me away. It was the most unprofessional behavior I've seen in my life."

"They tried to say I couldn't cross because of that old drug conviction," Grant said. "I have never hid it, I had a valid passport, then, for some reason, it became an issue."

It was always an issue, according to the CBP. "She is automatically inadmissible for life because of the drug conviction," said CBP spokeswoman Cherise Miles. "We let her in before because it was an extreme circumstance. If she was coming on vacation, she would have been denied admission," she told the Chronicle.

Grant's only recourse is to seek a waiver allowing her to enter the US, said Miles. "A waiver is not automatic, but perhaps her circumstances would help turn it in her favor." The waiver fee is a non-refundable $265. The process takes "perhaps four to six weeks, maybe longer," said Miles.

"I don't have $265," Grant protested. "We have to fundraise for everything we do. I can't work very much, we can't afford to keep going, but we do. But I don't have $265." [Ed: There is a donation form at the Jessie Foster web site linked to above.]

CBP's Miles said that Grant had been allowed in on a humanitarian "parole," but that she had been warned she would have to apply for a waiver. Grant said that the first she heard about a waiver was when CBP officers at the Vancouver airport refused her entry and handed her a waiver form.

Now, Grant is pondering her options. "I don't know what to do," she said. "I've contacted my Canadian representatives, but it doesn't look like there is any way around this. Maybe the provincial governor can give me a pardon."

In the meantime, Jessie Foster remains missing and a harsh and unyielding US immigration law is keeping her mother from trying to find her. "I just sit here and think about it," she said. "What happens if they do find Jessie or her body and I can't go get her?"

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Waiver of inadmissability

I had the same situation many yrs ago. I'm 48 with a ancient pot charge from 1980.1/10th of a gram of tobbacco and hash.
So I have a "Narcotics" charge. Got stopped going over to Blaine Wa for some shopping on a routine stop at the border. Of course back then it was $85 for the waiver plus whatever it cost to get the RCMP to fingerprint you on one of their regulation cards.I photocopied everything as I knew every yr you're gonna have to do the same over again. 3 yrs in a row and I applied for a permanent border crossing card ( Now not available) and got it , thankfully. Now many yrs clean and sober but pro choice I have to show this card at the border everytime or risk it being pulled. Adios for now. T

is it the Canadian govt

is it the Canadian govt stopping entry to the US, or US Customs? So that means my drug convictions will keep me from vacationing abroad?

psmith's picture

In this case, it was the US government barring a Canadian.,..

...at the Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) office at the Vancouver airport.

But it works both ways. Both countries will bar you from entering if you admit to past drug use--not to mention current drug use!--or have a drug conviction.

That does not mean you are stuck in the US, however. The US and Canada seem to be among the toughest on this issue. Nobody in Mexico, Central America, or South America seems to care. I don't know what the actual policies of the EU are, but I do not hear such tales from travelers to Europe.

If you are especially notorious, you could run into problems. Snoop Dog has been barred from Sweden and Australia. But if you keep your shizzle on the quizzle, you can probably skate through.

the longest unmanned border...

No matter what the reason for your visit, if you aren't snowy white and totally noncriminal, or criminal and able to pay who ever requires a fee for "processing" whatever flimsy piece of paper is required now, count on the bureaucrats stretching out the process until you break under the strain.
Don't forget, all this is supposed to keep us safer in this post- 9/11 world.
Thee fact that it doesn't is moot.
I sincerely hope this lady gets some real help and finds her daughter alive and well.


Definitely don't try to drive a vehicle over the border without your registration. They might confiscate your vehicle and force you to walk home. Thanks Canada! Oh and that $3000 we had to pay to get it out? Why don't you guys use that to buy some goddamn Glocks so you can stop running away from the mere RUMOR of an armed criminal and leave your country hanging. Also, FYI, in the case of some sort of denial of entrance, try the other border crossing a few blocks away. It's worked for me before during cases of retarded border guards.

Yay for Team America and/or Canada, spending million on horrible border staff inconveniencing honest citizens while hundreds of miles of border is uncontrolled. Why do past criminal convictions stand as a ground to deny entrance to a country? Doesn't ANYONE believe in our so-called rehabilitation programs?

psmith's picture

Whoa! The immigration lawyers I speak to DO NOT RECOMMEND

trying another border crossing if you've been denied entry. These days, it's unlikely to work, and you're going to get into deeper trouble with the Canadians.


I was told on the day that they took me in for booking and put me in their "SYSTEM" that if I got caught trying to cross at another border I would be arrested and that it would take a while and a huge cost to get out and get back to Canada.

Gina in Ontario

Drug use and such

That is so ridiculous!

Glendene was convicted with drugs over 20 years ago... AGAIN, OVER 20 YEARS AGO!! Yet, these terrorists and illegal immigrants enter to the USA/Canada all the time! Raise up some money for a good lawyer Glendene

-Lynne in Kamloops

The world is so messed up

For god's sake - this is her daughter she's looking for. She's not trying to smuggle any damn dope across any border. Do these people that are stopping her have no compassion at all. Give me a break, a 20 year old charge.
But I understand where Glendene is coming from with the border crap, I got denied on Mothers Day with my 2 girls and a granddaughter in the car with me to go across, just to site see and maybe do a little shopping.
Got denied for an obstruction of a police officer from when I was 17, at the time of crossing I was 43 - a 26 year difference.
In the same year a guy I know went to New York for a weekend, he had a record longer than his arm. Included in that record was an involentary manslaughter charge. And he got across.
Go figure - where and what are the guidlines. Is it what you look like? Is it the mood the crossing guard is in at the time? Or is it just that your picked out of a line and your number came up?
I wish you all the best and luck Glendene in getting across. And from all the media this has drawn. I'm sure you will be closer to Jessie sooner than later.
Gina from Ontario

time to vote em out

if they are in office and its re-election time dont vote for em...we keep putting them back in office, stop voting for them. thats the only way to change the laws..vote em out...both in the us and canada...I also have a 20 yr old pot conviction, love to go skiing up at whistler...but since right after 911 its been sorry go home...sorry for you and your daughter and we hope you find her alive and well.

American HOLOCAUST. Make no mistake about it!

``God bless America?''

What the phuque? Does anybody ACTUALLY believe the Almighty would bless an evil and UNHOLY union of fully-militarized, quasi-totalitarian POLICE STATES?

Canadian Mom Denied Entry to US to Search for Daughter

I am the father of the missing girl, Jessie. One thing that wasn't mentioned, just to add a little Tabasco to the cut, was that it was Jessie's birthday, May 27 when Jessie's Mom was refused entry. This was obviously disregared by the border guards. It is a sad time for peaceful, caring, loving human beings/parents/sisters & brothers as the darkness and viciousness of humanity wears a uniform and badge. The comments by Officer Social Conscience were probably recorded, if I know security in this day and age. It was one thing to deny Glendene entry. It enters a totally different realm when this individual sits in judgement of my daughter, regardless of her knowledge of the circumstances surrounding the disappearance of my daughter or not. The actions and comments of these individuals need to be investigated; disciplinary action should be handed out, particularly, CBP supervisor Patricia Lundy should the record show her comments were a matter of fact. Despite what these people think, the girls that go missing as the result of human trafficking do not share common demographics, i.e., dropouts, trouble with the law, broken homes, etc. My daughter was an A student, graduated from high school at 17, held three jobs after graduation, and had her own apartment prior to her getting involved with these vampires and subsequently vanishing from our lives. The bizarre thing is, these officers probably hold themselves in high regard. I wonder how they would feel to have the world find out about the skeletons in their closets? How dare they judge me and my daughter. I think we'll do fine in the Right Hand of the Father. Our family's nightmare has been forced out of any semblance of privacy. This has been indescribably devastating to my life, and has deeply affected every single person that has come to know and love Jessie. If Officer Lundy has decided to procreate, I hope she never has to feel this kind of pain, and pray her progeny grow up with a better sence of decency and empathy for their fellow man in spite of the mother. Stopping a mother at a border, who has never committed a violent crime in her life, who was carrying neither explosives nor weapons, but only clothes missing person posters does not make this world a better place. I'm willing to bet it wasn't a group of pot smokers that crashed those planes into the WTC. Do you think Dalmer smoked a joint, got the munchies, and ate his victims? You have no idea who the enemies to peace and freedom are, do you? I'll give you a hint - it involves a mirror. What feeds the animal is fear - intolerance, hatred, and prejudice are the bowel movements. Don't be a bowel movement all your life.
D. Foster

Not Unbelievable

My Husband of 16 yrs, with a 15 year old daughter cannot come into the states legally because of 1/4 gram of cocaine over 25 yrs ago. He was 19.
He lives with us on waivers, but that doesnt mean he can cross the border, the guy at the border has the last say so even after you have paid all that money, they can say no. I work for the Feds so I cant move to his country just rightr now. Crazy, huh?

denied entry

i am from georgia and my fiancee is from ontario.just today she was supposed to get on the bus and come back to georgia she was denied entry.she had her grandmother and my 1 and a half year old son with her..and she is 8 months pregnant..the kicker is she just crossed into the states twice in the past year with no problem.so now i have to go to can to see my son born.i called the airport i will be flying into to make sure the same didnt happen to me..wonder what will happen...by the way she was given the paper to fill out for the waiver and on the paper in big black letters it says that there is a minimum of 6 months to process...is this really so?

happened to me also

As the article points out, this is not a new law. The US obviously has the right to deny persons with criminal records. Canada does the same (I recall that Martha Stewart was almost refused entry because of her conviction). What bothers me about these laws are the way they are interpreted - com' on people - an age old criminal conviction with no history of re-offense? You think there could be some room for latitude, especially in this womans case.

I was denied entry for the first time about 2 years ago on a routine trip for business. I was banned for almost a year until I got a waiver of inadmissibility. If you are interested, I keep an account of my experience on my blog: http://uswaiver.blogspot.com/

Good luck to others.

Speedster Denied Entry...

A friend of mine had a speeding ticket in 1965. Kids racing. Was processed (fingerprinted and paid a fine) as were the two others who were racing on Manitoba back roads.

He is now 63 years old. Been to the US so many time he can't remember. (its been over fourty years) Almost like two complete life sentences... Last week he was denied entry !!! by an over agressive 26 year old girl border agent... Now has to do the due dilligence thing of wavers and such.

Parinoia and rediculous behaviour will help destroy them from within....

Canadian Gov Snitches...

I can't beleive the Canadian Gov is "ratting out" their own citizens for such minor infractions.

Glendene Grant...denied border crossing, AGAIN

I did try to get into the USA again, this was in Nov. '07. But they caught me and told me not to try again, or the car would be taken...WHAT? It was a rental car...can they do that?
Anyways, just to let everyone know we are still looking for Jessie. We have a possible match (DNA needed to be sure) with a Jane Doe found in Kilgore, Gregg County, Texas in October '06. Please pray it is not Jessie, but we will know soon, we hope. I still do not believe Jessie is dead, I just don't. So it will take DNA to prove it to me.
Thank you all for your support. Glendene Grant.

It has nothing to do with the crimes sometimes

I got stopped at the US/Canada border on a random "check"... they (US Border Patrol) put me in a room for 3 hours and took my passport... the room was being freshly painted and made me sick to my stomach and I got sick and they got mad at me... they then asked me if I had any charges against me, I said that I was pardoned by a conviction (actually conditionally disharged after a 2 week probation for a $6 fraud charge... postdated check issue...long story)...

I was removed from the US border patrol and then sent back to Canadian side and the American border patrol told them I was a "wanted criminal" ... Canadian customs arrested (detained me) like I was a murder suspect... they then came back told me they didnt understand why US customs sent me back the way they did and appologized and gave me a small dinner since I was held in US for 6 hours. (I think it was one of the Canadian border patrols lunch, cause it was in tuberware)

I then went to start the process of the waiver, but cannot submit it cause I do not have a criminal record as far as Canada is concerned, so you cannot submit the waiver without a report (that doesnt exist)... and $265 is a load of crap.. Im at over 1200$ Canadian and have been waiting for 3 years now... US needs to be a federal agency not a third party company running their borders.


I am planning to go on a bus trip with my friends to Niagra Falls in a month. I have a 5 year old drug conviction. Listening to what you are all saying, Iwould be denied access. I guess I am unclear here, do they actually check anything, or on good faith you tell them yes you have been conviceted of a crime? Help, as I really do not want a bus load of my friends sitting as I get stopped.

so what happened on your bus

so what happened on your bus trip. i plan on doing the same. i have a non criminal conviction. my lawyer says i should be fine and nothing will show up on the passport scan. i plan on traveling from the us to toronto. i'm gonna keep my fingers crossed.

Just happened to my

Just happened to my fiance...he was coming to Canada to visit me. He was pulled off the bus and checked out. A cocaine conviction from 1993 showed up on his record so he wasn't allowed into Canada. He never ever had a cocaine convicition..I contacted the court house where his supposably happened they said it was a mistake that was made in his file and had been corrected later that same year. That there was no reason why this ever should have showed up on a check. He was made to sign a paper that if he ever attempted to cross the border again he would be arrested. It's all a big mess over a mistake that was made on his record. We are both devastated and heartbroken.

it's not the Governments fault...

did the United States government make you do drugs 20 years ago? NO. You made the choice to do something illegal and now you are all going to cry because you are being treated like what you all were...criminals. Guess you should've thought twice before you broke the law.


I went through the same ordeal with these idiots two years ago
$545 and 14 months to process my application and it is only good for one year!
They say I need to do the entire process again and it will likey only be a year again This over a minor possession charge in 1979
No thanks I"ll spend my money in a country that is't afraid of it's own shadow.
Under U.S law Bill Clinton would be denied entry into the States if he wasn't American

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