US Denies Woman Entry Over Her Depression

Toronto vacationer was turned back at Pearson airport
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 30, 2013 3:46 PM CST
Woman Too Depressed to Enter the US: Customs

(Newser) – So much for that $6,000 vacation: A Canadian woman was denied entry into the US this week due to her history of mental illness, the CBC reports. Ellen Richardson had planned to fly to New York and from there go on a 10-day cruise, but US customs officials at Toronto's Pearson International Airport said no way. "I was so aghast," Richardson tells the Toronto Star. "I was saying, 'I don’t understand this. What is the problem?' I was so looking forward to getting away. ... I’d even brought a little string of Christmas lights I was going to string up in the cabin."

US officials cited an immigration law that allows them to deny entry to anyone with a physical or mental disorder who might pose a threat to others or themselves. And they somehow knew about her hospitalization for clinical depression last year (but didn't mention the attempted suicide that left her paralyzed from the waist down in 2001). Richardson, who can't get a refund for the vacation, has hired a lawyer and turned to her member of Parliament for help. "It really hit me later—that it's quite stunning they have that information" about her hospital stay, Richardson said. (Read more depression stories.)

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