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Old 01-07-2010, 09:22 PM
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Red face US Border Patrol Question

I am a US citizen, currently on probation. I applied for a passport and thought I could get one for the purpose of identification and not necessarily for travel. I'm still waiting for the passport to come in. In any event, I have a question about travel.

Suppose I travel to southern California and walk across the border, into Mexico, for dining and shopping. If I have a US passport, will the US border patrol stop me when coming back into the US? I guess what I'm asking is if anyone has done this and, if so, I am wondering if all of my probation and legal information is on the passport chip? Has anyone with a current probation restriction for travel, gone across the border and then come back into the US? If so, what was your experience with the US border patrol? I'm just trying to avoid having a bunch of problems coming back into the US as a US citizen and would like to hear from people who have done this and what the experience was like.

Last edited by convictedfelons; 01-07-2010 at 09:23 PM..
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Old 01-07-2010, 09:32 PM
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I can help you with this. First you will definitely be detained. And if you're crossing by foot at Otero or San Ysidro (San Diego-Tijuana border) you'll be detained while you're investigated. I imagine that could take upwards of 24 hours where you'll be locked in a detention cell at the port of entry. This is only because you're on probation and if it's a federal crime, you'd be in violation and then headed over to county jail while you wait for your revocation hearing. If it's a state crime as long as you haven't violated the conditions of probation you should have no problems getting back into the country after a delay. But here's a suggestion:

Go to your PO and tell him/her what you want to do. Ask for permission in writing. Then when you cross you give your passport, your written travel permit, and your PO's card with cell number on it and hopefully you're tied up for 20-30 minutes while they verify instead of for God knows how long while they're investigating your whole criminal history.
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Old 01-07-2010, 10:15 PM
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Default Thanks for the reply Alba

Perfect! Thanks for your reply. That is exactly the information I was looking for. I was going to call the border patrol and ask them what I needed but I wanted to hear from someone who was not associated with border patrol. Of course, I'm a non-violent offender so, you would think, the US border patrol would have more important people to worry about.. But, I certainly understand that sometimes they make choices that we can't control.

Thanks again for your quick reply!
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Old 01-07-2010, 11:45 PM
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If you are walking across you dont need a passport just a valid ID and Birth Certificate. I definitly wouldnt cross if its going to get you in trouble and I agree if you are going to go if your State or Federal get the note from your P.O. just in case they run your info. If your state and its okay for you to cross and you have no Passport restrictions nothing will come up when your passport is scanned when you go to pass. Did you order the Passport Card or Paper Passport? I suggest the Paper Passport.
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Old 01-08-2010, 06:53 PM
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Originally Posted by 760tothe619 View Post
If you are walking across you dont need a passport just a valid ID and Birth Certificate. I definitly wouldnt cross if its going to get you in trouble and I agree if you are going to go if your State or Federal get the note from your P.O. just in case they run your info. If your state and its okay for you to cross and you have no Passport restrictions nothing will come up when your passport is scanned when you go to pass. Did you order the Passport Card or Paper Passport? I suggest the Paper Passport.
I ordered the Passport card which means I can only travel to Canada and Mexico and that would only be by land. So, I couldn't fly anywhere anyway with that card. But, my goal is only to travel to a border town and, from what I understand, I do have to have a passport of some kind as they no longer accept just ID,etc.

Anyway, they have my money because they cashed my check so now I'm just waiting to hear back on the passport card approval or denial. I guess, once that is determined, then I'll talk to my PO about going over the border for a few days on vacation. Or maybe not. At this point, I'm feeling rather discouraged and, for some reason, I don't even want to ask.

I'm not concerned about getting into Mexico cause they will let anyone in. My concern is what will happen when I come back across the border, into the US, and I have to present my passport card to the border patrol for the US. I wonder how much slack I will get from them, or will they just wave me right on thru since I'm a US citizen and they aren't concerned about me. In other words, are they really concerned about US citizens who want to come back in, or are they more concerned about people they want to keep out?
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Old 01-12-2010, 12:41 AM
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Originally Posted by convictedfelons View Post
I ordered the Passport card which means I can only travel to Canada and Mexico and that would only be by land. So, I couldn't fly anywhere anyway with that card. But, my goal is only to travel to a border town and, from what I understand, I do have to have a passport of some kind as they no longer accept just ID,etc.

Anyway, they have my money because they cashed my check so now I'm just waiting to hear back on the passport card approval or denial. I guess, once that is determined, then I'll talk to my PO about going over the border for a few days on vacation. Or maybe not. At this point, I'm feeling rather discouraged and, for some reason, I don't even want to ask.

I'm not concerned about getting into Mexico cause they will let anyone in. My concern is what will happen when I come back across the border, into the US, and I have to present my passport card to the border patrol for the US. I wonder how much slack I will get from them, or will they just wave me right on thru since I'm a US citizen and they aren't concerned about me. In other words, are they really concerned about US citizens who want to come back in, or are they more concerned about people they want to keep out?
Go read the 2nd paragraph http://www.getyouhome.gov/html/esp_placeholder.html it says in the last line "A passport is not required for entry into the United States."

The process is so damn confusing. It is seriously made to confuse everyone. I cross to TJ twice a month to take my friend food and clothes. I cross back via foot with my Birth Certificate and ID only.
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Old 09-13-2011, 10:40 PM
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Default Dont travel over borders on probation

Border Patrol and the Passport agency have a full run down on your life. A trucker who passes into Canada regularly had a border patrol friend once show him the screen on the computer where they see all that. Just wait until you are off probation to try international travel. They could put out a warrant. Travel can come later. Hopefully you havent tried this since posting. You can seek written permission at least for state to state travel I know.

Last edited by justinr11; 09-13-2011 at 10:41 PM..
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Old 05-17-2019, 10:08 PM
GTOGuera GTOGuera is offline
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Default No More BS - This is how it IS

OK, I am going to set the record straight on all of this nonsense, once and for all. I get so weary of sanctimonious know-it-alls who seem bent on making the life of the person inquiring more difficult than it perhaps already is.
And 99.9999% of the time the blow-hard who is 'answering' the question hasn't the first clue what they are talking about. I am willing to bet that every single poster who took the time to try to scare the guy asking the question or to wax holier than thou, has never left this country. I would take that bet.
Now, on the the shit that matters. I am an American living in Guanajuato, Mexico. I have lived here for 10 years. I have crossed the border every which way possible.
I PROMISE you that if you are on STATE parole or probation, whether felony or misdemeanor, you can cross that border on foot (always much much less scrutiny on foot) with no problem ever. Now, if you are wanted you may have a problem. It would be prudent to make 100% certain that you do not have a warrant before you go.
That said, warrants are strange animals. You would be well advised to call a bail bondsman in your area and politely inquire as to whether or not you have a warrant. If you do have one ask him to please tell you what the extradition range is. Many warrants, including felonies, are not extraditable.
So, for example, you have a warrant out of Texas, but it is a no extradite. All you do to avoid trouble is cross the border in another state. I know this is fact because I have done it my self. You will likely get taken to what is called secondary.
But, you will be out of there quickly. Don't be rude, don't have anything illegal and once they determine that it is a no extradite, you will be sent on your way.
Some warrants are in-state only. Some have an actual mileage range. For example, a warrant my stipulate that the inquiring agency is only willing to come 500 miles or less to get you. In that case get brushed up on your geography and do not go anywhere near the border within your extradition range.
All of this is easy to deal with. Knowledge is power. Bailbondsmen are a wealth of information. You may get the occassional asshole, but that can happen in any aspect of life. Just move on to the next one. Some clerks of court will tell you. Though they generally only disclose misdemeanor stuff, felony warrants not so much.
If anyone has any questions regarding any of what I have touched on, feel free to contact me. I judge not, so should everyone else on this site. Be smart, be polite, get informed.
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Old 05-17-2019, 11:35 PM
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Originally Posted by GTOGuera View Post
OK, I am going to set the record straight on all of this nonsense, once and for all.
Thank you for sharing your recent experience. I see that the last post in this thread was roughly 8 years ago. Holy heck has a lot changed in eight years around border security!

I live in a border town and in the three years I've been crossing, it went from walk on through to MEX, slide back through to US with a few "what was the purpose of your visit" questions. Now? I have to request a permit where there was once absolutely no MEX military. I used to go for lunch, but the lines are so long for return it's making it hard to justify the time. I'm a white woman in her early 40's with a fairly middle-class looking appearance but a completely Latino name. I get a double look at my ID, but that's about it. My friend who is Mexican and a legal resident in the US gets yanked into secondary every single time he drives through and about half the time returning on foot. More if I'm with him.

So adding in parole/probation or felony-specific restrictions, you can draw a bit more hassle than the average Joe. Or, Jane, in my case. But unless you've violated your terms, are trying to cross in either direction with prohibited goods or are a smartass to the folks in green, you should be OK. Worst case scenario is you get held a bit longer in secondary.

However-- if you have anything other than a squeaky clean record and zero immigration conflicts, you'd be wise to carry a copy of the ACLU's wallet guide to your rights and the number to an immigration assistance/legal group in the US.
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