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 December 17th, 2017 3.45 – 4.45 pm. Roxham Road, Champlain, NYS
A very cold day. It's at least -15C. 13 people crossed into Canada: a single woman, a French speaking woman - likely Haitian - with four children, an older Afghan man with his daughter and a child, three people from Nigeria and finally a single man. We witnessed a disturbing incident as RCMP/police attempted to handcuff a young teenage boy from the Haitian family of five. He was pushed up against a truck and they tried to handcuff him. He broke away and was then pushed to the ground, restrained by 3 officers and handcuffed. His mother was pushed onto the ground after she appeared to be attempting to go to her son and, with an officer’s knee in her back while her face was pushed on the icy road, was handcuffed by three officers. The other three children stood looking with shock on their faces. Because we were on the USA side of the border we could not hear the exchange between the boy and the officers and do not know what prompted these actions. He had appeared to be cooperating as they patted him down.
Our friends from Plattsburgh Cares have never witnessed any incident like this: they have been going about 4-5 times a week since the spring. Also as per the observations of Plattsburgh Cares (and ourselves during 4 previous visits) no one has been seen being handcuffed for some time, since the tents were first installed at Roxham Road and more recently the heated trailer (roulotte). After being patted down people usually go into the trailer. We are going to try to set up a meeting with the RCMP to discuss this incident and ask about their protocols and officer training regarding their work at the border.
Additional info (September 2019):
Since this disturbing incident, we have met with the RCMP a number of times and established a good connection with them. They now do train the officers that will work at Roxham Road, and they are also very good at following up observations that we report to them. We do feel that on the whole, the treatment of refugees by the RCMP has changed to the better.
The border visit reports are written by the volunteers who were at the border on that day.