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.
I had quite a long wait at the small Lacolle border (Route 221). There were 2 cars ahead of me that both took a long time. It seems that the border guard on duty was in quite a chatty mood. When it was finally my turn, the guard, a fellow in his late 30's or early 40's, didn't so much interrogate me as "inform" me of his opinions on refugees. After I told him that I was a member of a volunteer group concerned with the welfare of refugees entering Canada at Roxham Road, his first comment was something like "don't you know those people are at the bottom of the barrel? They have no education, no job skills and all they want is a free ride from the government. Most of them are criminals and pedophiles. If they can't get what they want in Canada they'll just come back here." Stunned by what he was saying and aware that I'd better not start a fight with him, I gently reminded him that anyone not deemed acceptable by the Canadian refugee revue board would be returned to their home country. He said, "I prefer the word 'deportation'. That sounds right to me. They all say they're leaving some kind of war. There's no war. You and I, we work for our living. Why should those people expect us to support them?". Then he told me of a case he knew about where an Olympic athlete had raped a child. I was getting anxious to leave, so I agreed that it was a horrible thing (relevance not withstanding). There was more to his rant but that's about the gist of it. Finally he handed me my passport and cheerfully wished me a good afternoon.
I got a little bit lost in Champlain village which delayed me again but I did make it to the border by 4:00. Unfortunately the bus had arrived early in Plattsburgh so I just missed the arrivals of people who wanted to cross. Paula, a freelance journalist was there as well as 2 Radio Canada journalists who are preparing a piece for Enquête. They told me that there were only about half a dozen people who crossed -- a Haitian, 2 Colombians and several people from different African countries. No children. A volunteer from Plattsburgh Cares arrived just as I was getting ready to leave so I had a nice chat with her.
Next time I will leave earlier to allow for early buses and obnoxious border guards. At least I know the route now!!
On my way back, the young Canadian border guard was very interested in what was going on at Roxham. He wondered what nationalities were coming through. He surely had a different take on refugees than the American guard did!
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.