On this blog, 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.
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.
Sunday, January 21st, 2018. 3.45pm - 5 pm. Roxham Road, Champlain, USA.
A mild day. A total of eleven people crossed today. First came a young woman, Nigerian, with her baby who had been born in the USA. She was able to cross quickly into Canada. Then came a van with two families, 4 adults and three children. Finally there arrived a woman and her teenage son from Columbia who spoke very little English. During the second and third crossings, the RCMP officer asked people a number of questions including whether they have family in Canada and encouraged people to go to the Lacolle border crossing. The taxi driver had confirmed to the officer that the woman from Columbia spoke very little English but the officer continued to ask her questions. Afterwards the taxi driver told us that he had been threatened with arrest by an RCMP officer recently.
Sunday, January 14th, 2018. 3.45pm - 5 pm. Roxham Road, Champlain, USA.
A cold clear day about -20C. In total 9 people crossed over today. First was a family of three, a mother and two young children about 5 and 6 years old. Next came a Mother and young child. They are Haitian and the mother told us they were crossing over to join her husband. Then came two men in their 30`s of Sri Lankan origin. They are friends who have been living in New York City for some time. They were afraid of being arrested and sent back to Sri Lanka and so have come to Roxham Road. Finally a young Nigerian couple in their 20's arrived. They had been living in New York City for 6 months and were also worried about their situation in the US. Today the RCMP told the asylum seekers that they would be arrested if they crossed into Canada but they were not trying to re-direct them to the Lacolle border crossing.
Sunday, January 7th 2018, 3.45 pm. Roxham Road, Champlain, USA.
About -13 C. When we arrived an RCMP officer came to the edge of the border to talk to us and we had a friendly exchange. Later a single Francophone man of sub-saharan African origin arrived. The RCMP officer simply explained he would be arrested and could consider going to Lacolle to avoid arrest but there was no coercion. The man crossed over quickly. Next a family of four from a Middle Eastern country arrived. They intended to cross the border tomorrow and were coming to see it for themselves. They asked us what would happen to them once they crossed into Canada and explained to us the dangers they had faced and why they wanted to seek asylum in Canada. Then a large taxi van arrived with two families of four each: a family from South Sudan with two young children and a Nigerian family consisting of a mother, two teenagers and a girl. A second RCMP officer told them if they entered Canada and were refused asylum they would be deported back to their home countries (not necessarily true) but that if they went to the official crossing at Lacolle they could be sent back to the USA and this was a better option for them. His tone was aggressive and the little girl started to cry.
Another taxi arrived with a Nigerian family of parents, 2 teenagers and two young children. They were happy and grateful to accept coats, scarves and mittens as they were not that warmly dressed. They had been living in the USA for sometime and the mother said to me : They no longer want us here. The same RCMP officer gave them the same message about being deported back to their home country post refusal of asylum in Canada and encouraging them to go to Lacolle border.
Sunday, December 31, 2017, 3.45 pm. Roxham Road, Champlain, USA. A bitterly cold day. First came a shuttle bus from the airport carrying 7 adults and 6 children - some of them toddlers and all under ten years of age - in four family groups. One family was from Nigeria. Some people had no gloves or hats but most were ok. An RCMP officer insisted they look at the sign (regarding seeking asylum in Canada) before crossing but he did not detain them long before they crossed over. Later there came a single man in his 40's from Nigeria, not dressed very warmly. He was happy to take some gloves, hat and scarf and went as quickly as possible to the crossing. As he waited, two RCMP officers spoke to him, the second on in a particularly aggressive tone asking him all kinds of questions: why are you here in the snow trying to cross into Canada, where are you from, why do you want to claim asylum? The officer also asked him whether he had a visa and the man looked confused and said he did (we assumed it was a visa for the USA). Several times he was told to go to the Lacolle border. He was kept standing in the cold that was at least -25C with the windchill. The refugee was extremely polite saying 'yes sir' frequently. Finally he crossed into Canada.
Sunday December 24, 2017, 4pm. Roxham Road, Champlain USA. It's bitterly cold and we arrive a bit late. While we wait a US border police truck pulls up and we have an amicable exchange with the officer. We may not see eye to eye but he makes no effort to deter us from coming here in future. During our wait only one asylum seeker arrives: a young Somali woman who has come all the way from a state in the midwest. A relative has helped her to get here. She is very stressed and afraid, as is everyone, and she has to face crossing into Canada on her own.
The border visit reports are written by the volunteers who were at the border on that day.