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 29th 2019. Afternoon at Roxham Road, USA.
A damp grey day at the border. A total of 8 people crossed while we were there: 7 adults and one child. We arrived at about 3.20 pm and at 3.40 pm a taxi brought a man of about 30 years old from Libya who spoke only Arabic. He accepted some warm things from us. Because of the language barrier, the taxi driver had not been able to explain the process to him. The man stood at the border but did not understand what the RCMP said. He was perplexed and hesitated for a few moments. We indicated to him that it was ok to cross and he eventually did so.
Not long afterwards a taxi brought a very young woman who appeared to be about 18 years old, not that warmly dressed. She did not want to talk and went straight to the edge and crossed quickly into Canada. The third taxi brought a very tall young man in his twenties from Rwanda who seemed quite confident. He accepted a scarf from us and told the RCMP officer that he understood he would be arrested and wanted to seek asylum.
The next taxi brought four people - a family of three from Angola and a woman on her own.
The Angolan family consisted of parents and a small boy about five years old. They spoke French. The single woman spoke English and was of African origin but we were not sure which country she was from. They all accepted hats, scarves, gloves and mittens. They crossed without incident. Although the officer did say to them that if they went to the Lacolle border they could ''fill in the papers legally'' which is of course incorrect since going to the Lacolle border carries the risk of being refused entry into Canada because of the Safe Third Country Agreement with the USA.
The last person to come was a small man about fourty years of age. He may have been from South Asia. He spoke no English or French and the taxi driver said he had been unable to communicate with him. The man was very distraught and appeared terrified. Several times he made the hand gesture of cutting across his throat which we understood to mean he was afraid for his life in his home country. He literally ran across the border and the RCMP officer yelled at him to stop, but he attempted to run past the officer. The officer grappled him to the ground and kept gesturing him to calm down. As he handcuffed him, the man cried out several times, a sort of moaning sound. The officer (on his own as it was shift change and the only other officer was in the building with the other refugees) kept trying to calm him down in a kind way and led him into the building. Shortly afterwards the RCMP officer came out and spoke to us for a while, explaining that they are not supposed to handcuff people and that he did not like to do so, but that in this case he had no choice. He said that once the man was inside the building and saw the other refugees sitting calmly inside, that he too calmed down. Hopefully the man was able to speak to an interpreter once he was taken to Lacolle and will receive the help he needs in Montreal. It was clear to us that this man had suffered a great deal and had likely been traumatized by whatever events had caused him to seek asylum in Canada. The three of us, including the taxi driver were all upset by the incident, and our inability to communicate with the man and reassure him.
The border visit reports are written by the volunteers who were at the border on that day.