Baxter Reid and his girlfriend Heather Kancso were trying to cross the US border into Canada after a long, “exhausting” day.
However, their bad luck with car trouble turned into a nightmare when the Australian man was arrested for overstaying his visa for about an hour.
Kancso has told News.com.au for her anguish as the 26-year-old remains in a US detention centre more than a week after he was arrested on April 24.
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“It’s been 10 days and this is ridiculous,” the American hair stylist told News.com.au.
“The whole situation feels very surreal. I want this nightmare to be over.”
She told ABC Reid’s first court appearance has been scheduled for 10 May.
Kancso, who has returned to New York for work, said this is the longest time the pair have been apart after six months of living and travelling together.
“I would trade places with him in a heartbeat,” she told the news site.
“Baxter is one of the most amazing human beings. He’s happy and positive, and always there to help and always has a smile on his face.”
Kancso has raised more than $9000 after setting up an online fundraising campaign to help cover legal bills for her boyfriend, who has served in the Australian army and is reportedly being held at the Buffalo Federal Detention Centre.
She says Reid, originally from Sydney and Canberra, had only been in the US for a few months and the couple planned to make regular trips out of the country so his visa would remain valid.