On this blog page, we are posting information about our visits to the border at Roxham Road, USA side.
For more information about the purpose of these visits go to the news page.
We have also started to post our newsletters on the blog.
Sur ce blogue, nous affichons des informations sur nos visites à la frontière, Roxham Road, États Unis.
Pour plus d'info sur le but de ces visites allez sur la page nouvelles.
Aussi, nous avons commencé à poster nos infolettres sur le blogue.
Sunday May 12, 2019. Afternoon at Roxham Road, USA.
A pleasant spring afternoon. Only three people crossed when we were there. The shuttle bus brought a French speaking Haitian woman with her son aged about 10 years old who is disabled and in a wheelchair. The other person was a young woman of African origin who spoke English.
We helped the Haitian mother move her luggage to the edge of the border. The RCMP officer told them the standard speech and waited. The woman with the boy in a wheelchair just stood there unsure of what to do. She did not seem to understand that she could now cross. One of us said to her ''Tu peux traverser maintenant'' and a second officer told us ''You can't say that.'' Another few minutes passed and the second woman decided to cross at which point the Haitian woman also moved ahead with her son in the wheelchair and their luggage. The officers did not help her.
Sunday May 5th 2019. Afternoon at Roxham Road, USA.
It was a busier afternoon than we had seen in a long time. In total 15 people crossed today (five children and 10 adults). We got there about 3:20, but a taxi was ahead of us already bringing five adults. They were of African origin speaking French but they preferred not to say where they were from. One woman in the group was quite upset. The RCMP stuck to the protocol of what to say. This group of people seemed completely prepared to hear that they would be arrested and crossed into Canada without difficulty. They were followed by a young man on his own from Columbia and who crossed quickly
A next taxi arrived with a family of four from Columbia who spoke only Spanish. They were anxious to go across as soon as possible. The last taxi brought a very young family also from Columbia with three very small children. The Mom was crying and the father was struggling with the luggage for the whole family. An older RCMP officer, who had been unfriendly so far, saw the weeping woman and called to her, "Don't worry, you're safe here," which was nice. They were told they cannot make two trips back and forth with the luggage (this is the case with everyone). The taxi driver helped the father load up all the luggage and stagger over the border. They crossed without incident.
We found a baby car seat that had been abandoned at the border and brought it back with us to give away.
Spotlight on Columbia: ''The 52-year armed conflict between the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the government officially ended with a peace accord in 2016, but violence associated with armed groups increased again in 2018 after initial declines the 2015 FARC ceasefire. Civilians have suffered serious abuses at the hands of the National Liberation Army (ELN) guerrillas, FARC dissidents, and paramilitary successor groups. Human rights defenders, journalists, indigenous and Afro-Colombian leaders, and other community activists have faced death threats and violence. Violence associated with the conflict has forcibly displaced more than 8.1 million Colombians since 1985.'' Many people have simply disappeared but the government does not help their families to find out the truth about the disappearances.
Sunday, April 28th 2019. Afternoon at Roxham Road, USA.
A fresh sunny spring day. Six people crossed into Canada while we were there this afternoon. At the border we met a photographer doing a documentary on refugees in Canada. She was accompanied by a teacher of sociology at SUNY.
We waited quite a while until the shuttle bus arrived from the Pittsburgh bus station. There were 6 people aboard, a youngish couple with two young children aged about two and five years old, along with two adult men. We believe they were all from Haiti. They all crossed at the border without incident.
Sunday, April 21st 2019. Afternoon at Roxham Road, USA.
Three people and a dog crossed into Canada today.
After about 20 minutes a taxi brought two young men from Yemen* each carrying a small backpack.
They were anxious to cross as quickly as possible and entered Canada without incident.
Not long after a second taxi brought a slender young woman with a backpack, a small dog and carrying case for the dog. She spoke very little English and told us she was from Russia. She crossed over with the dog without problem. The little dog was tied up outside, while she was interviewed by the RCMP in their building.
* Spotlight on Yemen: "The UN considers Yemen to be the world’s largest humanitarian crisis with 14 million people at risk of starvation and repeated outbreaks of deadly diseases like cholera. This crisis is linked to the armed conflict." See the 2019 Human Rights Watch Report on Yemen here:
Numbers of Asylum Seekers entering Canada at Roxham Road less than last year
Following the lower trends in January (871 people) and February (800 people), only 967 people crossed irregularly into Quebec in March 2019. In March 2018 a total of 1884 people entered.
For the first three months of this year, the number of people entering via Roxham Road is 46% less than in 2018.
Sunday April 14, 2019. Afternoon. Roxham Road, USA.
A crisp spring day - still quite chilly. Three people crossed into Canada today while we were there.
The first taxi brought a young woman from Zimbabwe. She was anxious and totally focused on crossing as quickly as possible. She acknowledged that she understood the RCMP officer's message and quickly crossed over.
A second taxi arrived with a mother and son (aged about 14) from Nicaragua, and not warmly dressed. They were very nervous but very friendly and were grateful to receive some warm things. The mom was a bit surprised to hear it could still be cold here in April. When we said that this was El Norte , she smiled to hear some Spanish. They entered Canada without incident.
RCMP officers stuck to their protocol and behaved appropriately.
Sunday April 7, 2019. Evening. Roxham Road, USA.
No one arrived while we were at the border today.
Sunday March 31, 2019. Evening. Roxham Road, USA.
When we were entering the US at a local border crossing there was a delay. We said we were going to greet refugees at Roxham Road and the custom's officer decided to call someone to ask if it was OK for us to enter. The call took a while and he must have been reassured, because he let us enter.
At 6:15 a taxi pulled up with a lone passenger: a tall black man who looked about 40 years old. He was not dressed for the weather but did not take any warm things. He was very anxious to cross: hurriedly getting his luggage and going to the border. He answered the RCMP in English and entered Canada without incident.
Sunday, March 24 2019. Afternoon. Roxham Road, USA.
Four people crossed into Canada while we were at Roxham Road. The first taxi brought a young man in his twenties from India. He had been some time in the USA but was afraid to return home. He
seemed hopeful when he crossed over, after saying he understood he would be arrested.
A bit later a second taxi brought a young family of African origin. The man accepted a hat and thanked us, but was afraid to say where he was from. He was trembling with fear. His wife seemed less afraid. She was carrying their young child (about two years old) who pointed to her father and said ''My Daddy'' . The little girl smiled at us as her mother walked into Canada.
The RCMP officers were low-key and respectful.
Sunday March 10th in the evening and Sunday March 17th in the afternoon. Roxham Road, USA.
No one came to Roxham Road when we were there on these two dates. This reflects the decrease in the arrivals of people at Roxham Road in 2019.
So far this year, 871 refugees arrived in January and 800 in February. This is 48% less than the numbers from 2018: in January 2018 1,458 people entered through Roxham Road and in February the number was 1,486 people.
The border visit reports are written by the volunteers who were at the border on that day. There are about 15 active volunteers in our border visit committee.