Canadian woman denied entry to U.S. because of suicide attempt

And people wonder why a lot of times folks don’t get help for mental health issues ….–canadian-woman-denied-entry-to-u-s-because-of-suicide-attempt?bn=1

The 64 year-old Toronto woman was fingerprinted and photographed. She questioned the U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer about how he accessed her medical records. He said he didn’t. Instead, he knew police had attended her Toronto home in 2006 because she had done “violence to self.”

“Why would Canada disclose health information? I think it’s the political and digital climate we’re living in,” said Kamenitz, a former teacher and librarian who struggles with anxiety and depression. “There’s been a shift in our democracy. Suddenly people have access to our information that impacts on our civil liberties.”

It’s not an isolated incident, says Ryan Fritsch, legal counsel for the Psychiatric Patient Advocate Office. He has heard of about eight similar cases in the past year, all involving non-criminal contact between police and people with mental health issues — records of contact that end up at the Department of Homeland Security.

Under U.S. immigration law, applicants for admission must prove they are eligible to enter and overcome more than 60 grounds of inadmissibility, which include health-related issues, prior criminal convictions and security reasons.

Among the health-related reasons for inadmissibility is a foreigner who has a physical or mental disorder and behaviour associated with the disorder that may pose, or has posed, a threat to the property, safety, or welfare of the individual or others.

He suspects Kamenitz’s suicide attempt was entered by Toronto officers into the Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC), a central police database that also includes non-criminal matters, such as suicide attempts and missing persons.