B.C. actor credits media attention for overturning border ban
CTV British Columbia
Published Thursday, January 9, 2014 4:02PM PST
Last Updated Thursday, January 9, 2014 4:27PM PST
A Vancouver-based actor banned from entering the United States for five years has successfully challenged the decision, and is crediting media attention for the sudden change of heart by American authorities.
Chad Rook, who has appeared in TV shows like “Supernatural,” was on his way to Hollywood in January 2013 looking to make contacts for acting jobs during the busy pilot season when he was stopped by U.S. border guards and accused of planning to work illegally.
The 31-year-old actor said despite having paperwork to show he was in the middle of legally obtaining a U.S. work visa he was detained at the Peace Arch Border Crossing and interrogated for nine hours. He said officers accused him of changing his story and attempting to work in the U.S. without a permit. Rook said border officers went through his text messages, call logs and Twitter posts so that they could determine if he was really going to Los Angeles for employment.
Rook was turned away from the border, but not before being slapped with an expedited removal and a five-year ban from entering the U.S. He called the ban “devastating” to his acting career.
Rook’s friend who was travelling in the same car, another actor going down to make work contacts, was allowed to cross the border.
CTV first reported Rook's ban last year, and his story gained exposure with local media.
Rook quickly appealed the ban by sending a letter to the director of field operations, but said it was met with silence until last month.
In late December, he received an unexpected letter from the field director saying the ban would be rescinded because it was “falsely given.”
He believes media attention put pressure on U.S. officials to back down.
“Being an actor I have access to certain types of media and social networking outlets and it generated enough attention that I think forced the border patrol to look at it a second time,” Rook told CTV News.
Rook says he feels fortunate because other people who are hit with a border ban don’t have the resources to hire a lawyer – or have access to media – in order to help their case.
“Without you bringing it to that type of level they overlook it very quickly and you’re stuck with a five-year ban with no recourse whatsoever,” he said.
The letter notifying Rook of his change of status does not say why the ban was overturned, only that it was part of a periodic review of border patrol conduct.
“I’m just happy it’s over,” he said.