A Canberra man has been imprisoned by immigration officials in the United States for overstaying his US visa by less than two hours, after being denied entry to Canada.
Baxter Reid, 26, and his American girlfriend, Heather Kancso, travelled to the Canadian border in upstate New York before Mr Reid was arrested by US border police on Monday, April 24 local time.
Mr Reid is now imprisoned at Buffalo Federal Detention Centre where he could face six months in jail before his case is heard by a judge.
Ms Kancso has started a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for Mr Reid's legal costs.
Baxter's father, Tom Reid, said the pair arrived at the Canadian border at 10:00pm on Sunday, April 23, with Baxter's visa set to expire at midnight, April 24.
"For some reason the Canadians kept them until 1:30am and then they refused them entry," he said.
"They returned them to the United States and by then they were an hour and a half over the visa, and [he] got locked up."
Mr Reid's five-year visa required him to leave the US every six months before renewing it.
Ms Kancso said Canadian police feared Mr Reid's visa would be rejected if he tried to return to the US, making him Canada's "problem".
Ms Kancso said Baxter was calm when US officials arrested him for overstaying his visa.
"He just kept asking them if I could sit with him," she said.
"I held it together until they put the handcuffs on him. I kind of haven't been able to stop crying.
"I don't know if there's really a word to describe what I'm feeling right now, I'm almost ashamed to say I'm American.
"It just makes no sense to me."
Tom said the experience was surreal and frustrating, with Baxter yet to receive an appearance date.
"He's got to wait two to three weeks before he gets a date to appear," Tom said.
Even with an appearance date, Baxter might not be able to stand before a judge for six months.
"He seems to be in good spirits," Tom said.
"He's a kid with a sense of adventure; travelling overseas and living life so he doesn't deserve this."
Tom said they had sent money to Baxter's defence but were hoping to do everything they could by raising money through crowdsourcing.
He hoped US officials would allow his son to return to Australia voluntarily, as Baxter wanted to be able to return to continue seeing Ms Kancso.
"This has been the longest we've been apart," Ms Kancso said.
"I'm more than willing to go back to [Australia] as soon as he gets out."
Ms Kancso said they had planned to get to the border earlier but their car kept breaking down, with the usually seven hour drive from New York City taking 15.
She feared Mr Reid would be criminally charged and barred from re-entering the US.
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade confirmed they were providing consular assistance to an Australian man detained in the US, but couldn't provide further details due to privacy reasons.