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Jailed British tourists entered US ‘deliberately’

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Jailed British tourists entered US 'deliberately'

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Image caption Parts of the US-Canada border are extremely remote

A British family detained in the US after crossing the border from Canada intentionally entered the country illegally, officials have said.

They said the vehicle was captured on video "slowly and deliberately" driving through a ditch to enter the US.

Two adults in the vehicle had previously been denied travel authorisation to the US, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) said.

One couple involved claimed the group had crossed the border accidentally.

David Connors, 30, and his wife Eileen, 24, said they were travelling with their young baby and family members – two more adults and young twins – on 3 October when, to avoid an animal, they veered on to a small road.

But CBP said that remote video surveillance captured the vehicle crossing a ditch before pulling back on to a road in Lynden, Washington state, and continuing west. The group was pulled over by a border patrol agent shortly after.

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The occupants were arrested for illegally entering the US without inspection. During processing, records revealed the two adults that had previously been denied access to the US, CBP said on Tuesday.

After their arrest, the family was moved across the country from Washington state to Pennsylvania, to be housed in a family migration detention centre.

The Connors said they had been "traumatised", detailing the "scariest experience of our entire lives", in a sworn statement that was provided to BBC News by their lawyer.

The family statement is the basis for a legal complaint lodged by their lawyer with the US Department of Homeland Security inspector general.

US immigration authorities have confirmed that the couple were being held, but denied their allegations of mistreatment.

The family expects to be released and sent back to the UK on Wednesday.

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In June last year, a French woman spent two weeks in US immigration detention after accidentally straying across the border from Canada during an evening jog.

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