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.
We have also started to post our newsletters on the blog.
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.Aussi, nous avons commencé à poster nos infolettres sur le blogue.
Sunday, January 26th 2020. Afternoon at Roxham Road, USA.
A mild January day. We arrived about 3.25pm to find a photo-documentalist at the border talking with the RCMP officer. She had driven four hours to visit Roxham Road. We stayed until 5.30 pm and only two people arrived at the border.
The first person to arrive was driven by an Uber driver. She was a tall woman from Rwanda probably in her late 30's and not that warmly dressed. She was very afraid and had difficulty speaking. She accepted mits and a scarf and some hugs. We explained to her she would be arrested and that it would be a temporary measure and she did not need to be afraid of that process. She was clearly alarmed to hear this and we did our best to reassure her. She seemed to understand and made her way tentatively to the edge of the border. The RCMP officer repeated the standard protocol and at the end said it was her choice to cross or not. She seemed to freeze on the spot and was clearly distressed to hear the suggestion she ''could enter Canada legally at the Port of Entry and it was her choice''. (This is untrue as the Safe Third Country Agreement means she may very well be refused entry and returned to the USA). She spoke in a very soft voice. The officer told her that he could not tell her what to do and that it was her choice. She turned and looked back at us and we indicated that it was ok to go ahead and cross. She remained frozen in place for several more minutes and turned to us again. We repeated our encouragement and she finally and very tentatively took those few steps over the border. We felt so badly that she had to go through what feels like a kind of game, but for her was clearly a terrifying step to take on her own.
After a while a taxi pulled up bringing a man on his own with very little baggage. The taxi driver told us he had been driven by a taxi from New York City. He was a man in his 30's who said he was from Turkey. He accepted a hat, scarf and mittens and in response to a hug from one of us gave each of us a hug . He stepped up to the border and put his hands up in the air. He told the RCMP officer he was Kurdish (from Turkey) and needed to seek asylum. He crossed quickly after hearing the officer's words and all went smoothly. In both instances the officers behaved appropriately and stuck to the protocol.
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.