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.
We spent a good few minutes talking with the US Customs officer who had never heard of people going to Roxham Road to give out mittens. He was polite and curious and did not show any signs of wanting to take us in for further questioning (as has happened in the past). He also did not want to see our proof of vaccination. He said that people could self-confirm that they were vaccinated and, only if he had doubts about their truthfulness, would he ask to see their proof.
We arrived at Roxham at 3.30 pm and spoke for quite a while with a very friendly RCMP officer who told us that since midnight, some 95 people had already crossed. He also told us he was on his first rotation at Roxham and that his parents were from Haiti. We hung around, chatted in the car and picked up garbage (someone has actually put garbage bags inside the big blue garbage cans). The bus was due to arrive in Plattsburgh at 3.25 pm so we were beginning to think that no one had arrived on the bus, when at 4.30 pm, a mini van drove along Roxham but stopped a good 100 or so yards up the road. The van sat there for about 10 minutes with its lights on and then drove off. In the dusk, we could see a group of people walking towards us - it was a bit surreal as they emerged from the darkness. We walked up to meet them. They were a family of 7 from Angola and the father spoke some Spanish and a bit of English. They were mother, father, two small children and three teenage girls.
They took some hats and scarves and then went to the edge to listen to the RCMP. I don't think they understood what the officer said, but they crossed and were led into the big tent that is attached to the building. At the same time another taxi arrived with a woman and her small son, from Columbia. She was stressed but calmly listened to the RCMP and crossed confidently. So in total, we saw 9 people.
I wish we had asked the Angolan family who had driven them and how much they had paid for the taxi/Uber. It felt suspicious that the driver had let them off up the road rather than coming right to the border. I wondered if the person did not want to be identified.
While this was happening we noticed on the Canadian side, a woman with a man who was filming the arrivals. We chatted with her for a bit. Turns out she is Emilie Beaulieu Guérette, a documentary film maker in Montreal who was waiting for some friends to arrive at Roxham: a family from Angola who had been staying briefly in Maine. Prior to that they had spent a long period in Brazil and had made the dangerous journey up to Mexico where eventually they had been allowed to enter into the US in Texas. From there they had flown to Maine where they had friends. She is someone who is very involved with refugees. http://www.emiliebg.com/
When we returned to Canada, it was smooth going. We did not need to show our ArriveCan receipts to the customs officer at Hemmingford, because he already had them in his system.
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.