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.
We arrived at Roxham shortly after 3:00 PM. After waiting in the car for about 15 minutes, several RCMP officers came out of their building and gestured for us to come forward. Addressing us in a very aggressive tone, the older officer wondered what we were doing. I said we were waiting for refugees to arrive. He continued to quiz us about our nationality, our intentions etc.. I explained that we were Canadian volunteers with Bridges not Borders who were only there to observe and offer best wishes to the asylum seekers. He expressed total ignorance of our group. His tone and demeanor changed considerably when I mentioned that we had recently met with the Staff Sargent in charge of Roxham Road installation. There were no further questions and we returned to our car. While we waited we wondered what authority the RCMP has over people sitting quietly on the US side of the border.
At 3:40 a private car carrying a young Haitian couple arrived. Six RCMP exited the building but they stuck to protocol and were polite.
A couple minutes later a taxi arrived with a man and woman, their two children about ages 8 and 3 and another young couple in their twenties, all from Haiti. They crossed without any trouble.
Finally, shortly before 4:00, a large taxi bearing several Colombian families pulled up. We greeted a young woman with her two young children, a man and woman in their 30's, a teenage girl and another woman with 2 young children. They spoke very little English and were uncertain of what they should do at the border. Fortunately one of us had enough Spanish vocabulary to explain that they would be arrested and to wait until the officer addressed them before crossing. One of the six RCMP was able to speak some Spanish. They had a lot of baggage and we were afraid that they might not be able to manage in one trip. We explained that they would not be able to return for their bags. It was a bit of a struggle but all crossed calmly and the RCMP were not aggressive.
It was a very hot day. One of us had the foresight to bring some bottled water to offer. As much as we try to avoid using bottled water, it was appreciated by several people.
Upon our return to Canada the border guard obliged us to pull up to the building for further scrutiny. The trunk and back seat were searched and we were asked if we ever transported items or documents for refugee claimants. We don't, and said so, and expressed once again the purpose of our visit to Roxham. Had the RCMP called Border Services to check up on us? I guess we'll never know.
The border visit reports are written by the volunteers who were at the border on that day.