Phoenix Rappers Shining Soul Detained at Canadian Border -- Again

Phoenix hip-hop duo Shining Soul say Canadian Border Services Agency recently stopped, detained, and heavily questioned them at Montréal-Trudeau International Airport. The duo was trying to get to a concert scheduled as part of its "Hometown Foreigners Tour."

This is the second time the pair -- Franco Habre, a.k.a. Bronze Candidate, and Alex Soto, a.k.a. Liason -- has faced problems trying to cross into Canada. The first instance happened in May, when they tried to drive in through Washington.

See also: The Red-Brown Border Politics of Phoenix Hip-Hop Duo Shining Soul

In May, Shining Soul was detained until an emissary of the Secwepemc Nation came and confirmed that Shining Soul was to be a part of a cultural exchange with their nation -- even though they both had proper documentation of that fact.

This time, Soto says, CSBA agents separated the two from one another and then "drilled" them for two hours on their intentions in Canada. Then, before they were allowed to enter Canada, CBSA called their host, Amanda Lickers, and interrogated her for 20 minutes.

According to Soto, agents questioned both he and Habre about their arrest records, specifically misdemeanor arrests that happened due to their involvement with protests movements in Arizona. Neither Habre or Soto has been arrested since 2011, Soto has no convictions, and Habre has pled guilty to one count of blocking a thoroughfare.

If being "real" in hip-hop is still worth anything in the era of Rick Ross, then Shining Soul deserve some sort of award or commendation, since they are not backing down at all from what they talk about in their music.

"In a lot of ways it's validating," Soto says. "We are a threat to them. ... In one level it's like whatever, we aren't doing shit. But in another level, it says we are threatening to a state force like Canada. Well, technically, we were just deemed unfriendly by Canada, and this is going to happen every time we come in."

A CBSA spokeswoman, Vanessa Barrasa, gave the following response to New Times when asked about the incident:

Due to the Privacy Act, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) is unable to speak to specific individual cases. I can tell you that the CBSA takes its border and national security responsibilities very seriously. The safety and protection of Canadians are the CBSA's top priorities.

All persons, including Canadian citizens, seeking entry to Canada must present to the CBSA and may be subject to a more in-depth exam.

All goods and conveyances entering Canada must also be presented to the CBSA and may be subject to a more in-depth examinations


Any traveller [sic] coming into Canada could be referred for a secondary inspection; this includes both visitors and residents of Canada.

Secondary inspections are a part of the normal cross-border travel process and border services officers are trained to perform these examinations in a courteous, respectful and professional manner.

Referrals may be made for a number of reasons, and should not be viewed as an accusation of wrong-doing.

For more information on secondary referrals, please refer to the "What to Expect: Secondary Services and Inspections" pamphlet or access it online at www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/publications/pub/bsf5146-eng.html

Reasons for referral: An individual may be referred for a secondary inspection for a variety of reasons including: - Other government department regulations (Health Canada) - Document validation (ATA Carnet) - Declaration validation - Immigration secondary (validate work permits.) - Payment of duty and taxes

Correction: This blog originally stated that Shining Soul was previously stopped in Detroit, instead of Washington.

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