Stories of a surge of migrants crossing a U.S. border are usually focused on the frontier with Mexico.
But thousands of kilometers north, there’s growing concern about the number of migrants crossing from the U.S. into Canada.
CGTN’s Roee Ruttenberg has that story.
It was 6 a.m. and the bus from New York City is just pulling in to Plattsburgh. A few of the passengers get off. They get into taxis waiting to take them some 50 kilometers further north, to the border with Canada.
Half an hour later, just before sunrise, they begin arriving at Roxham Road.
A Canadian officer informs a Nigerian family they’ll be arrested if they cross. They proceed anyway. It’s a scene that gets repeated several times a day, several days a week.
Noticeably missing are U.S. law enforcement. That’s despite Ottawa’s request that Washington does something to help stop the thousands of migrants making what Canada calls “irregular crossings.”
Almost 20,000 in each of the past two years, spiking as the Trump administration began cracking down on undocumented migrants in the U.S. 2019 seems on-track to reach that level, too, according to official figures.
The legal crossing is minutes down the road, adjacent to Champlain.
“My understanding is that it would not be granted and they would be turned back to the United States and then there are the different consequences, but there’s I guess you would call it a loophole that allows you to go to a non-official crossing and ask for asylum. That’s what they’re doing at this point,” Janet McFetridge a local politician and activist said.
McFetridge is also a long-time activist. For months, she’s been coming to Roxham Road six days a week, to welcome would-be crossers.
“I believe that I can make a little bit of a positive difference in a difficult situation for some of them at that moment, and if it were me I think I would hope that somebody would be there to wish me well,” Janet McFetridge a local politician and activist said.
Those seeking asylum will not be penalized by Canada for crossing here. In fact, by the end of the day, most will end up in government housing in Montreal. Inevitably, some will be sent home. But others will find a new home, a new road that began where Roxham Road ends.