Toronto Mayor Rob Ford intends to be at the NHL Winter Classic in Michigan.
The Toronto Sun is reporting that Ford will attend the January 1 outdoor extravaganza — which will feature the Maple Leafs and the Red Wings — on his own dime.
But according to a Toronto-based immigration lawyer, Ford could be denied entry into the United states even though he hasn't been formally charged with any offence.
"His public admission of illegal drug use could be enough to prevent him from admission by US border officials," Michael Niren, an expert in both Canadian and U.S. immigration issues, told Yahoo Canada News.
"[U.S.] Immigration is very strict when it comes to offences considered as "Crimes of Moral Turpitude" or CMTs. And illegal drug use squarely falls into that category.
"If Ford is denied entry he will likely be required to apply for a U.S. waiver, which could take months. There is, however, discretion for border officials to 'parole' him on humanitarian grounds, but that happens usually only in extreme cases. Not sure the Winter Classic event would cut it."
This issue of drug-use admissions leading to bans at the border, was also raised last summer after Liberal leader Justin Trudeau admitted to smoking marijuana after becoming a member of Parliament.
At the time, news outlets across the country featured many regular Canadians who were denied entry into the United States for admitting to smoking marijuana when queried by border guards.
Niren contends that Ford could have even a tougher time because his high profile — thanks to all the Rob Ford coverage on American talk shows, border guards are going to know who he is and could be more inclined to ask him about his past drug use.
[ Related: Rob Ford on ongoing controversy: 'I'm loving this' ]
His other disadvantage is that he admitted to smoking a hard drug.
"Allegations of use of so-called 'hard drugs' would be more likely to trigger a denial than would marijuana," Niren says.
"However, there are many entry denials because of marijuana use as well."
Incidentally, Ford was also once arrested for marijuana possession in Florida in 1999. But those charges were dropped.
(Photo courtesy of the Canadian Press)
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