• U.S.

National Affairs: North of the Border

2 minute read
TIME

Last week, by order of the State Department, the line between the U. S. and Canada suddenly became a fence. Put into force July 1, the order stopped any alien from entering the U. S. unless he had a passport and visa, or a “workers’ commuter” card. U. S. citizens needed no passport to enter Canada, did need documentary proof of their citizenship to get back.

Immigration offices, consulates were unprepared to handle the sudden rush of border migrants. Mrs. Emma R. Anderson, of Windsor, argued hopelessly that she had to get across to Detroit, where she owned a furnished apartment. Only in the most desperate cases were regulations relaxed. Seventy-year-old Mrs. Mary Stables, of Toronto, was allowed to pass because her son was dying in South Bend, Ind. By week’s end confusion was relieved somewhat by the issuance of “alien identification” cards to Canadians with permanent U. S. addresses.

Canadian golfers who played on the International Golf Club course across from Portal, N. Dak. had to omit the ninth hole; it was in the U. S. The greenskeeper also dared not venture past the eighth, because he was a Canadian.

To one man, international relations in a war-torn world were not only bewildering but disillusioning. Young Philip Stegerer of Washington, D. C., who enlisted last February in the Canadian Active Service Force, was honorably discharged because of old injuries and was preparing to return home. But a U. S. board of inquiry decided that, since he had pledged allegiance to George VI, he was no longer a U. S. citizen. He could not re-enter his country.

Said Stegerer: “We have been residents of the U. S. since before the Revolutionary War. I come to Canada to fight for democracy and I wind up a guy without a country, without a job and without a dime. Oh, gosh!”

More Must-Reads from TIME

Contact us at letters@time.com