Students Can Expect Border Crossing Delays

1:42 PM, May 4, 2013   |    comments
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Buffalo, NY -- Starting Friday, it may take you more time to cross back over the U.S. border.

The Homeland Security Department is cracking down by ordering customs to pull over every international student to verify that they have a valid student visa. This move comes after the Obama administration revealed a student from Kazakhstan, accused of hiding evidence for one of the Boston bombing suspects, was allowed back into the U.S. without a valid student visa.

"First thing this morning, I had students entering my office already saying just to let you know, every single one of us has been pulled into secondary inspection," says D'Youville's Laryssa Petryshyn.

Petryshyn is the Director the International Student Office, and she started getting phone calls and visits from some of her 340 Canadian students Friday morning wondering why all of the sudden they were going through increased security as they commuted to class.

"A few of them were late for their exams, thankfully we do have professors here and an administration that understands about the border issues, so they were accommodating to them," she says.

Petryshyn called the Peace Bridge Port Supervisor who told her Washington did not take border commuter students into consideration when issuing this latest security measure. She added that he also told her that D'Youville commuter students will be given priority over others pulled into secondary inspection.

This all prompted Petryshyn to send out a campus-wide urgent email about the situation.

Friday night, NITTEC even tweeted about delays entering the United States on the Peace Bridge saying they were 1 to 2 Hours. A few hours later, NITTEC reported border crossings of 30 minutes or less.

"There is frustration when things happen, but they do understand if there is a directive from Washington and Homeland Security is saying that maybe there is a security threat, I don't know what's going on, because they're not saying what it is, but that they understand," says Petryshyn of the delays.

For now, Petryshyn is telling her students to leave two hours earlier than normal to get through security.

"They're doing their job. Everybody needs to be doing their job that's working with international students, and I think we understand that and the students understand that as well," she says.

She will check with the Port Supervisor again on Monday to see if any progress has been made over the weekend.

We contacted our Congressmen and Senator Schumer to see if they are working on anything to ease the situation, but did not get responses as of Friday night.

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