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.
Bridges not Borders volunteers went to the Plattsburgh bus station from 2pm-5pm. On arrival, we saw a young woman on her own, sitting outside with her bags, clearly exhausted and demoralized. We found out that she had earlier been returned from Canada after seeking asylum and despite having a qualifying anchor family member in Montreal who has Canadian citizenship. She was waiting for an acquaintance to pick her up. Only 24 years old, she was from the Democratic Republic of Congo from which she fled in 2021. She kindly consented to being interviewed by a CBC journalist and we heard many details of her harrowing experiences some of which we include here.
Before arriving at the Canadian border she had traveled through many countries. She first spent time in neighboring Angola and then went to Brazil. In January she left Brazil and began the arduous journey northward through many countries and passed through the dangerous Darien pass from Columbia to Panama. After being detained in the US, she found her way to Maine where there are many refugees from the DRC. Conditions in Portland were challenging as there were no shelter places. She discovered that because of her relative in Canada she could qualify to enter under STCA rules. She decided to try to get to Canada.
She presented at Lacolle POE without having been advised how to prove the relationship with her family member or having the necessary documentation. Her relative had left DRC to go to Canada in the year of her birth so they had no knowledge of each other’s lives. She told us that CBSA had spoken with the family member and according to CBSA he had not been able to answer certain questions correctly (likely because he had no way of knowing about her life).
No one who was seeking asylum in Canada arrived on the 3pm bus from Albany and NYC. We spoke with a taxi driver who was due to meet someone on the bus, but she did not arrive.
Later, we heard from the journalist who had stayed a further two hours at the bus station after we left. Only one other person arrived who had been excluded from Canada. She was another woman from the DRC who was able to purchase a bus ticket and left Plattsburgh.
We were able to find a refugee lawyer in Montreal to contest the decision to exclude the woman who has a relative in Canada.
At this stage it’s not possible to know if the fact of meeting only one person at the bus station, reflects a downward trend in the numbers of people going to Lacolle port of entry.
4/24/2023 03:42:00 pm
Thank you so much for these reports - and for being so ready to meet asylum seekers turned back from Lacolle - or those arriving in Plattsburgh hoping to find their way to safety in Canada.
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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.