Canada Border Services responds to HFP: CBSA officers deployed at Budapest Airport

Following an incident that raised concerns surrounding possible discrimination at the Budapest Airport, on the part of Canadian officials who have been reportedly hindering Hungarian passport-holders from boarding Air Transat and SkyGreece flights to Montreal and Toronto, the Hungarian Free Press contacted the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) for comment. Spokesperson Wendy Atkins responded to the HFP’s questions below. Ms. Atkins confirmed that CBSA officials have, indeed, been screening passengers at Liszt Ferenc International Airport since June 2015.

Canada Border Services Agency.

Canada Border Services Agency.

HFP: Is it standard practice for officials or staff of Canadian embassies, consulates or other missions, or the CBSA, to be present at major airports around the world, such as Liszt Ferenc Airport in Budapest, and question or deny boarding to travelers who have tickets purchased for flights to Canada?

CBSA: Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) Liaison Officers (LOs) have been present to assist passenger screening agents in Budapest a number of times since June 2015. This is common; LOs work at airports in key locations across the globe, including in Hungary, to provide advice and guidance to screening agents on the identification of improperly-documented travellers (passengers intending to live in Canada permanently without an immigrant visa, passengers who have previously been removed from Canada who do not have the authorization to return to Canada, passengers with expired or fraudulent documents, etc).

CBSA LOs work with airlines to protect the integrity of Canada’s immigration system and the security of the Canadian border to assist airlines in ensuring that the passengers which they intend to carry to Canada are properly documented.

HFP: What is the number of Hungarian passengers who have been denied boarding by Canadian embassy officials or CBSA officials at the Budapest Airport, since the launch of direct flights between Hungary and Canada?

CBSA: The CBSA does not have this data, as the decision to allow or deny boarding rests with the airlines. 

HFP: Are Canadian embassy or CBSA officials engaging in racial or ethnic profiling of passengers at the Budapest Airport?

CBSA: All persons, including Canadian citizens, seeking entry to Canada are subject to the same rules and regulations regardless of nationality, race and/or gender.

6 Comments

  1. There is something fishy with this as the writer of the letter in the previous post seems to know what their visitors need to come for a visit. She had a letter of invitation, and would likely stay with her mother. So they denied her from boarding the plane because she didn’t have $3000, but why would you need $3000 if you are coming to see family for a couple of weeks? It doesn’t sound like she had expired or fraudulent documents either. This excuse they are giving is bogus.

  2. Canada needs to be exposed for this! This is a discriminatory act, these conservatives have ruined our good reputation and now we are treating people wanting to come for a visit like criminals? Like people have thousands they can afford to lose, just because the Canadian government wants to show its bigotry! I have a friend coming in September, I swear to god……if he gets turned away, I will be screaming all the way to the house of commons!

  3. Miklos Banfi says:

    Not to criticize the article, and I don’t want to pretend that I am any expert on this issue, but since when are we supposed to believe what is said in any security, foreign affair etc. issues. These spokepersons are hardly different from Zoltan Kovacs, who probably never pronounced a true word from his mouth.

  4. Visa-free visitors can, in principle, be expected to prove their ability to cover their expenses: a letter of invitation, or recent bank statement for non-invited tourists. The 3K cash requirement at the airport is revolting, if true. (still hard to believe) The CBSA’s expectations should be listed online. The USA’s ESTA is a more civilized, cheaper and normative solution.
    Any developments regarding racially-profiled Researcher Eva?
    http://hungarianfreepress.com/2015/05/11/canadian-authorities-ban-hungarian-roma-researcher-from-boarding-flight-to-toronto/
    Reimbursement? Compensation? Apologies? Any further similar cases? These should be documented in both English and Hungarian. (Eva’s was.)
    We still do not know if the same goes on in Budapest and elsewhere in Europe.
    Mr. Marton should be asked to re-publish his wife’s and her daughter’s, the soccer team’s, the sick boy’s story *in Hungarian*, possibly in KMH, with more details so that the appropriate Hungarian and European fora can be alerted. (Judith mentioned Helsinki. There are others.) More victims may speak up. This practice harms Hungarians, but also their Canadian relatives/friends, who can effectively denounce it in their country. (Canada’s reputation is also tarnished.) It affects, indirectly, EU citizens and democratically-minded (anti-racist) Canadians too.

  5. Who may be admitted to Canada, and using what documents, is entirely at the discretion of Canada. Period.

  6. Rawinder, I understand that concept, however, us CANADIANS were promised by our government to be for family unity and claim they want families to have access to each other, it is entirely unfair, if someone meets the requirements, has all their ducks in a row, to be turned back losing the cost of their airfare. This in my opinion is nothing more than our government flexing its muscles. Why aren’t they doing that to those who come in from Asia, Africa, and India, being part of organized crime? Really, what have Hungarians done?

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