UBC Student, SDS Activist Banned from Canada

UBC student and activist Brian Gehring has been banned from entering Canada. Brian was one of the 19 people arrested in the Knoll Aid 2.0 protest that happened on campus last spring in response to the widely opposed construction of the underground bus loop and destruction of the Grassy Knoll.

Brian, an American citizen, had been spending the summer in Bellingham and was attempting to return to UBC to inquire about outstanding academic issues and find information on applying to grad school. Canadian immigration officials detained him at the border and interrogated him at length about his involvement with SDS and Knoll Aid. Officials searched his car and confiscated his cell phone and downloaded its contents. Brian does not have a criminal record and has not even gone to trial yet regarding his involvement with Knoll Aid.

The RCMP cited that he had broken the law by trying to enter Canada without a study permit. Brian mentioned that this reason was superficial and contrived as his interrogation focussed solely on his student activism. In addition, American citizens are normally permitted to enter Canada for up to 6 months without a permit. Officials often deny entry to people with criminal records (which Brian does not have), but they went beyond this measure in Brian’s case. They outright banned him from Canada for a year and told him that he would never be eligible to receive a study permit to study in Canada again. He has not yet graduated from UBC.

There was no word on Brian’s plans to appeal this decision.


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