The official motto of Pokémon Go – “gotta catch ‘em all!” – also happens to be the mandate of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection team.
While Pokémon refers to the collection of cute little anime monsters, United States border officers strive to catch anyone who attempts to enter the U.S. illegally, whether on purpose or by accident.
Similar to news headlines that show players driving into police cars while rushing to capture these pocket monsters, a pair of Canadian teens created an international incident by inadvertently crossing into Montana from Alberta to boost their own Pokémon collection.
As noted by the United States Central Intelligence Agency, Canada has the longest single-country border in the world, including an 8,893 kilometer line to the south and a 2,477 kilometer border with Alaska to the northwest. The United States increased the monitoring of these zones in response to the 9/11 tragedy and other ongoing terrorist threats.
During the previous century, crossing over into the U.S. from Canada was relatively easy because of the fantastic relationship between these two nations. Issues of national security have changed now. The United States allows Canadians to visit the country, creating strict regulations that force Canadian citizens to plan their stay.
Prior to the explosion of modern terrorism worldwide, Canadians were able to cross the border with a driver’s license or another piece of official, government-sanctioned identification. The biggest concern tended to be Canadians trying to hide their purchases after a cross-border shopping spree.
Current immigration and border laws require that Canadians possess a passport in order to cross legally into the United States. A U.S. border guard must allow you into the country after inspection. If you wander over the border without a passport, there’s a good chance you’ll be quickly scooped up by border officials and returned to Canadian soil.
The United States has beefed up their border over the past couple of decades, making it effective against most incursions, including overzealous trainers. However, if you plan on visiting the U.S. at any point in the future, it’s vital that you do so in a lawful manner, otherwise you may be pre-rejected for a prior illegal visit.
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