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.
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.
Between 4:00 and 4:30 pm four groups arrived. It was a cold, blustery day with no sun to provide a little cheer but everyone smiled as we greeted them and most were glad to accept a hat and some took mittens.
The first taxi brought a Haitian family of 4, closely followed by a Colombian couple with 2 young children. A couple from Sierra Leone arrived soon after. Finally a family from Turkey, 2 adults and 2 adolescents were brought by a Turkish speaking driver.
Eight adults, four young children and two teenagers crossed while we were present.
The RCMP officer was heard telling the first family that they should go to the legal port of entry. When they didn’t budge he continued to tell them that they would be arrested and then waved them forward. The other groups were only asked if they understood that they were police and not immigration officers. Everyone crossed calmly and were taken inside without incident.
It was a relatively quiet day, all things considered. Around 4:00 pm the first taxi arrived with a young Haitian couple, soon to be new parents. The sun was shining when they arrived so they declined our offer of hats and gloves. They seemed to be quite relaxed and crossed without any trouble.
Soon a second taxi pulled up with a young Honduran father, and his six year old son. It was only when the taxi driver opened the trunk to give him his luggage that he realized that he had taken the wrong suitcase from the bus when they got off in Plattsburgh. He was remarkably calm about it and his son was in a very cheery mood. While we tried to figure out what we could do about the suitcase mix-up, the last group of the afternoon arrived. An Angolan couple and their three children also seemed very calm and crossed easily.
After doing our best to reassure our new Honduran friend that we would do our best to try to locate his suitcase, he finally crossed empty-handed except for a hat for the boy and mittens for himself that they had accepted from us.
The RCMP were telling people that 'anything they said could be used against them'. Prior to the Covid 19 border closure this had not been part of the RCMP protocol. Officers did not say this last week so it seems probable it is not. Otherwise nothing in the RCMP behavior was problematic. A total of 9 people crossed while we were there - 5 adults and 4 children.
Our trip across the border was very smooth both ways.
Update: On April 11th the Honduran man's bag was located and should be brought to him by our contact in Montreal.
This was our first visit to Roxham Road on the US side since the lifting of the testing requirements to return to Canada.
It was a grey, damp and cold day. When we arrived two taxis were already at the border bringing two families. The first had already crossed and we could see them in the tent. The second family was likely from Haiti: mother, father and three children under 10 years of age. They took a few warm items and then entered Canada without incident. The RCMP officer did insist on directing them to the "official border crossing'' at Lacolle but no one showed any signs of being deterred to cross at Roxham Road. He also told them as he did subsequent people that they had a right to the services of a lawyer. This information is not part of the RCMP protocol and it is not clear why he told them this.
After a few minutes a taxi arrived bringing a young woman with her two daughters aged about 3 and 7 years. She spoke French and it turned out she was from Djibouti in east Africa. She took some things for the little girls and then crossed into Canada without incident.
We then spotted someone walking down Roxham Road towards us. They had obviously been dropped off further up the road. As he approached we saw a tall young man in his mid-20s. We spoke briefly. He was very polite and very nervous and just wanted to get across. He didn't take anything. He listened to the officer and then crossed over.
Finally a private car arrived with three men in their late 20's or early 30's. They told us they were from Turkey but they spoke virtually no English. We persuaded them to take some gloves and hats and they went to the border, crossing immediately as the RCMP officer did not tell them to stop to listen to his speech. One of the men had his hands in his pockets and the officer told him in an angry tone to take his hands out of his pockets. He repeated it as the young man did not understand. We were concerned that something might happen, but he seems to have taken his hands out of his pockets and they were ushered inside the tent.
Including the first family that we did not interact with, a total of some 15 people crossed into Canada this afternoon.
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.