Canadian Man Enters U.S. With Scanned Passport on iPad


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This certainly isn't going to sit well with the border hawks who want to fence off the borders of the United States: a man successfully crossed the Canadian/U.S. border without presenting his passport. It starts out sounding like a bad joke but it's completely real.

After arriving at the border, Martin Reisch realized that he had forgotten his passport at home. Living somewhere in Canada that isn't exactly close to the border, he didn't feel like driving all the way back to retrieve the passport and instead gave the problem the old Jack Burton "What the hell" solution and decided to try to cross the border anyways. Instead of offering up a passport, though, Reisch produced the scanned image of his passport he had on his iPad to the border patrol guard. You gotta give the guy credit for trying to pull a fast one on the U.S. border patrol especially since much has been argued in the post-9/11 era about the security of the U.S. borders.

Ah well. Better luck next time, Martin Reisch. Ballsy doesn't get you across the border.

Er, oh. Wait?

"I figured I'd try, and in the worst case, I would have to go home," he said Tuesday.

Reisch, 33, said he explained his situation to the customs agent, who seemed mildly annoyed when he handed him the iPad.

"He kind of gave me a stare, like neither impressed nor amused," Reisch said of their exchange last Friday in southern Quebec.

The officer took the iPad into the border office for five minutes before coming back out to give Reisch the green light and wish him happy holidays.

"He was very nice about it," he said of the officer.

"I think a good part of it had to do with the fact that it was the holidays and I seem like a nice-enough person."

That's what he told CTV, Canada's largest news channel.

Are you kidding me? Wham bam thankyouma'am and Martin Reisch is enjoying the good old U.S. of A. thanks to his trusty iPad! What the hell does that even mean? We U.S. citizens have to pay $140 for fancy, techno-coding passports with computery parts in them so that people won't make counterfeits of them and yet a scan on an iPad blows all that precaution away. And honestly, who keeps a scan of their passport on their iPad in the first place?

CTV didn't receive any response from the U.S. Customers and Border Protection when they asked about the incident but they did cite the department's policy for accepting other forms of identification other than a passport such as a Nexus pass or an enhanced driver's license. Still, no mention of a scan of a passport on there. Would it still have worked, I wonder, if Reisch would've simply had a dot matrix print-out of his passport that he rendered on his iPad? Maybe I'll just draw a chalky facsimile of my passport on a brick the next time I accidentally leave the real one at home. Should work, right?

As if that one slip-up wasn't enough, Reisch decided to double-dip the U.S. border patrol and used the iPad scan of his passport again when he returned to Canada later that same day. You are the winner, Martin Reisch. Indeed.

Something tells me that Apple's market shares in Mexico and Central America are about to explode.

So what do you think, did the Customs Department screw the pooch on this one or should a scan of a passport on an iPad be an acceptable substitute for a required country border-crossing identification?