It is quickly becoming more difficult for Canadians to cross into the United States. As Trump and Trudeau continue to spar and the countries diverge on domestic policy, U.S. border regulations are becoming ever more strict.
News broke this week that not only does the U.S. border patrol agency set up checkpoints to stop foreigners well beyond the border, but also that border agents have broad power to search and confiscate Canadians' cellphones.
Agents can demand cellphone passwords and open phones indiscriminately. Once agents have access to the unlocked phones, however, they are unable to open password-portected apps like Instagram and Facebook.
But open apps and photostreams are subject to thorough searches.
So the next time you approach the border, you can expect that U.S. border agents will scour through your phone like a covetous lover. To ensure safe passage into the United States, here's a list of all items Canadians should delete from their phones:
1. Illegally downloaded music
This is a less obvious element that could get you into trouble at the border. If a phone is confiscated for a search, U.S. law enforcement has the ability to detect illegal downloads.
2. Prescription information
The U.S. and Canada have notoriously different drug regulations. While some drugs might seem innocuous in Canada, they are highly illicit in the United States. Photos or lists of medication are subject to inspection at the border. At least one Canadian was denied entry because agents found information about a heart medication on her phone.
3. Photos of marijuana
Current governments in the United States and Canada disagree perhaps most intensely on marijuana policy. The drug that is about to be legal in Canada is still the target of much scrutiny in the United States. The U.S. border patrol can deny entry to any Canadian who carries evidence of marijuana usage, including photos or mention of the drug in phone apps.
4. Marijuana apps
This is also worth pointing out explicitly. Social medias and dispensary maps for avid marijuana fans are enough evidence for U.S. border agents to turn back Canadian travelers.
5. Distasteful memes and other potentially incriminating photos
All Canadians should think critically about what photos could possibly be construed as evidence of illegal activity. Distasteful memes and photos of firearms, for example, are not explicitly banned, but could corroborate other evidence. Troubling patterns in your photo stream are definitely cause for expulsion.
The best way to pass into the U.S. without complication: leave your phone and computer at home.