Love deferred at border

On Thursday, Janeane Ardiel will pack a lunch to eat with her newhusband at a picnic table surrounded by shrubs and flowers. The picnicspot, located at Peace Arch International Park on the U.S.-Canadianborder, is the only place the couple can legally meet and feel eachother’s touch.

On Thursday, Janeane Ardiel will pack a lunch to eat with her new husband at a picnic table surrounded by shrubs and flowers. The picnic spot, located at Peace Arch International Park on the U.S.-Canadian border, is the only place the couple can legally meet and feel each other’s touch.

Ardiel lives in Port Coquitlam and her husband, David Williams, lives in Bellingham, Wash.

He can’t enter Canada because of a six-year-old DUI conviction, so for the three years they’ve dated — and four months they’ve been married — Ardiel visited him in the U.S.

On July 22, a U.S. border guard noticed her almost-weekly trips and denied her entry, saying they believed she intended on living in the U.S. and not just visiting. After being photographed and fingerprinted, Ardiel was sent home to Port Coquitlam, with directions not to cross the border for at least six months.

“It has been absolutely horrible,” said Ardiel. “David and I had been inseparable for the last year and a half. He’s like my lifeline, and I feel like my lifeline’s been severed.”

In the meantime, the two can meet at the picnic table without technically leaving either country.

It’s a spot recommended by their immigration lawyer, Len Saunders, who said the issue rests on an unfortunate technicality.

“If you’re American and you have a DUI, it’s very difficult to get into Canada,” he explained.

“If you’re Canadian, like Premier (Gordon) Campbell, and you’ve got a DUI, you have no crossing issues going south.”

Ardiel was introduced to Williams by her sister, who met Williams through a friend in Florida, where he lived at the time. Ardiel and Williams spoke on the phone for three months and fell in love without even exchanging a photo.

“We never knew what each other looked like,” said Ardiel. “He said, ‘I am just so in love with you, just from talking with you.’ He would have gotten married in January (2007), the first time I met him. We fell in love talking to each other on the phone.”

Williams moved to Bellingham from Florida to be closer to Ardiel.

Saunders said that by showing customs officials Ardiel has a pending application for a green card, and good ties and equities to Canada, she should be able to resume temporary visits within a few weeks.

“She’ll have a happy ending,” he said. “It’s just unfortunate right now because they can’t be together other than for their weekly meetings for an hour or two.”

 
 
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