I'm a EU citizen living in Canada. I'm taking a road trip to the US next week. According to the CBP website, I don't need to renew my ESTA to do so.
In hopes of slightly accelerating the paperwork at the border, I just tried to fill out and pay for the I94 form ahead of time. However, the slick new online form doesn't let me do so, because I don't have a valid ESTA anymore.
Given that ESTA is a transparent money grab rather than a security measure (of the $14 fee, $10 goes to fund tourism ads and $4 goes to fund CBP), this seems like CBP is actively trying to con visitors into paying for something they don't need. Am I missing something?