Recent months saw an increase in illegal crossing into Canada, as reported by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. According to officials, the province of Quebec has seen the highest inflow of people seeking asylum, many of which are crossing in remote areas in northern New York.
A popular illegal crossing area in in Champlain, N.Y., located in the northeast edge of the state.
Roxham Road ends with a dead and and “Road closed” sign, however, there’s a trampled road through the snow that goes over into Canada, the Canadian border is 15 feet away from the ditch. The Canadian police, the Mounties, wait on the Canadian side for those crossing the border.
Matthew Turner, along with his family, moved into a trailer on Roxham Road last October. He says that since then he has seen a steady stream of people walking past his trailer as well as taxis driving by. “They’ll be walking, you’ll see whole families, like two adults and like three children most of the time,” he says. “They’ll be walking down the road with suitcases and backpacks.”
At the end of the road, a young woman gets out of one of the taxis, she has an infant with her. She hugs her baby to her chest and pulls a black suitcase towards the ditch. Several Canadian police officers approach her from their side, one officer tells her that she has to go through the customs, and if she crosses from the ditch, she will be arrested.
The woman nods and continues moving towards them. The Canadian policeman offers to hold her baby while she moves through the slippery ice, she agrees, another officers holds her hand helping her to the Canadian side. The woman is arrested, her child is placed in a car seat and they’re both driven away from the border.
People working with immigrants in Canada say that people who cross the border illegally would rather be arrested in Canada than stay in the US under the mercy of how American officials will handle their cases.
Cpl. Camille Habel, spokeswoman with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police said that there’s an increase in people walking to Canada illegally.
She added that after the Mounties arrest those who cross the border illegally, the police can detain them for up to 24 hours only before either releasing them or presenting them in front of a judge.
“Once that we do all our checks and that we can confirm that they’re not a threat to national security, we hand them over to [the Canadian Border Service Agency] who then start the immigration process,” Habel says.