On this blog, we used to post information about our visits to the border at Roxham Road, USA side.
Since the closure of Roxham Road on Friday 24 March 2023, we're attempting to keep a log of the info we have about refugees who have been returned to the US.
Sur ce blogue, nous avons affiché des informations sur nos visites à la frontière, Roxham Road, États Unis. Depuis la fermeture de Roxham Road le vendredi 24 mars 2023, nous essayons de tenir un répertoire des informations que nous avons cueillies sur les réfugiés qui ont été renvoyés aux États-Unis.
We arrived at 3.15pm on a warm, sunny afternoon. A family, who had arrived before us, was being ‘processed’ in the tent outside the RCMP building. We noticed that two portable toilets had recently been installed outside the tent, presumably for people waiting to go inside.
There were also two technicians on the US side carrying out an upgrade to the surveillance equipment – video, lighting, radar etc. One of them told us that this new technology is the same as has been in use on the US- Mexico border and is now being installed on the northern border. He said it had paid ‘big dividends’ on the southern border, meaning it enabled Border Police to catch more desperate people trying to enter the US, to detain and then send many of them back to Mexico. It seems pointless to do this at Roxham Road, a place where people are openly crossing and presenting themselves to Canadian police! US border police are not looking to ‘capture’ them.
We met four taxis who arrived this afternoon. The first taxi brought five people: a family of three (with one small child) from Haiti, a Haitian woman and a Nigerian man. The RCMP officer spoke to them in an aggressive way asking “where are you from?’’ and getting angry because some people did not have masks. We gave them some masks. Asking where people come from is not part of the RCMP protocol and is not relevant since it does not in any way affect whether someone can cross at Roxham or not. It is however, intimidating to people who are seeking protection in Canada and may fear that their nationality might affect their ability to cross.
The second taxi brought a Nigerian woman and her little girl aged about 6 years old. They had four pieces of luggage, including two large heavy cases. The same officer spoke to her harshly and again asked ‘where are you from’ and made a fuss about masks (we gave her one). One of us brought one of her heavy cases to the edge of the border and the officer told us to stop since ‘she has to make up her mind (about crossing)’. The RCMP continue to give people the misleading information that ''If you want to cross ‘legally’ you can go to the official border crossing at Lacolle.” The police know there is a high likelihood, if they were to do so, that they will be excluded from Canada under the Safe Third Country Agreement. Since 2018 we have met several times with RCMP representatives and raised this issue amongst others. See information HERE that explains why none crossing at Roxham is illegal.
The third taxi brought three young men from Yemen, Haiti and Venezuela. A second officer spoke to them in a straightforward manner and waved them across. No unnecessary questions were asked.
The final taxi brought a family of four from Jordan (with two young children). The father was struggling with their luggage and again we helped to bring it to the edge of the border. The first RCMP officer spoke to them with the same harsh approach.
In total we greeted 14 people today – four children and ten adults.
The earlier border visit reports were written by the volunteers who were at the border on that day, the later updates about the situation in the US are an attempt to keep a log of what we find out through our own visits in the US, or through contacts in the US.