Church visits net $10K fine
Man enters U.S. illegally
TOWNSHIP 15 RANGE 15, Maine -- A resident in this remote northern Maine outpost along the Quebec border says he is being fined $10,000 US for doing something he has done most his life: going to church. Richard Albert, 52, said the U.S. Bureau of Customs and Border Protection recently notified him he faces two $5,000 fines for twice crossing from Quebec into Maine on a Sunday when the local border crossing station is closed.
Albert's home is 30 metres on the Maine side of the border. But the church is on the Canadian side of the border, which means he has to cross the boundary illegally to attend church services.
Albert, a U.S. citizen, said he has been crossing the U.S.-Canada border at his own discretion for more than 40 years. But security has been tightened since last May when the Bureau of Customs ended its Form 1 program.
That program allowed pre-approved people to cross the border when certain border stations -- including the one between Township 15 Range 15 and St-Pamphile, Que. -- were closed.
"It was never an issue to cross before May 1, 2003, when they put a gate on the boundary and locked it up," Albert said.
Story from Winnipeg Sun