Migrants flooding into Canada from US

  • A family from Haiti approach a tent in Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle, Quebec, stationed by Royal Canadian Mounted Police, as they haul their luggage down Roxham Road in Champlain, N.Y., Monday, Aug. 7, 2017. Officials on both sides of the border first began to notice last fall, around the time of the U.S. presidential election, that more people were crossing at Roxham Road. Since then the numbers have continued to climb. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa) Charles Krupa

  • A Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer, left, standing in Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle, Quebec, advises migrants that they are about to illegally cross from Champlain, N.Y., and will be arrested, Monday, Aug. 7, 2017. Officials on both sides of the border first began to notice last fall, around the time of the U.S. presidential election, that more people were crossing at Roxham Road. Since then the numbers have continued to climb. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa) Charles Krupa

  • Dulne Brutus, of Haiti, tows his luggage down Roxham Road in Champlain, N.Y., while heading to an unofficial border station across from Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle, Quebec, Monday, Aug. 7, 2017. Officials on both sides of the border first began to notice last fall, around the time of the U.S. presidential election, that more people were crossing at Roxham Road. Since then the numbers have continued to climb. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa) Charles Krupa

  • A Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer frisks a woman as she is processed before being are turned over to the Canada Border Services Agency at a tent in Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle, Quebec at an unofficial border station across from Roxham Road in Champlain, N.Y., early Tuesday, Aug. 8, 2017. Seven days a week, 24-hours a day people from across the globe are arriving at the end of a New York backroad so they can walk across a ditch into Canada knowing they will be instantly arrested, but with the hope the Canadian government will be kinder to them than the United States. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa) Charles Krupa

  • A Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer informs a migrant couple of the location of a legal border station, shortly before they illegally crossing from Champlain, N.Y., to Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle, Quebec, Monday, Aug. 7, 2017. Officials on both sides of the border first began to notice last fall, around the time of the U.S. presidential election, that more people were crossing at Roxham Road. Since then the numbers have continued to climb. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa) Charles Krupa

  • A taxi filled with women from many nations pay their fare as they arrive at an unofficial border station across from Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle, Quebec on Roxham Road in Champlain, N.Y., early Tuesday, Aug. 8, 2017. The migrants are being driven north by the perception, real or perceived, that the age of President Donald Trump means the United States is no longer the destination of the world's dispossessed. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa) Charles Krupa

  • A Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer standing in Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle, Quebec, advises migrants that they are about to illegally cross from Champlain, N.Y., and will be arrested, Monday. ap photo

  • A Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer touches the arm of Dulne Brutus, of Haiti, and places him under arrest after illegally crossing from Champlain, N.Y., to Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle, Quebec, Monday, Aug. 7, 2017. Officials on both sides of the border first began to notice last fall, around the time of the U.S. presidential election, that more people were crossing at Roxham Road. Since then the numbers have continued to climb. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa) Charles Krupa

  • Luggage from migrants fills a pathway at an illegally crossing point from Champlain, N.Y., to Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle, Quebec, Monday, Aug. 7, 2017. Officials on both sides of the border first began to notice last fall, around the time of the U.S. presidential election, that more people were crossing at Roxham Road. Since then the numbers have continued to climb. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa) Charles Krupa

  • Taxis unload passengers, who traveled from a bus station in Plattsburgh, N.Y., at an unofficial border station across from Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle, Quebec on Roxham Road in Champlain, N.Y., early Tuesday, Aug. 8, 2017. Officials on both sides of the border first began to notice last fall, around the time of the U.S. presidential election, that more people were crossing at Roxham Road. Since then the numbers have continued to climb. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa) Charles Krupa

  • As utility crews extend the power grid to a complex of tents, a Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer, right, stands on the Canadian side of pathway, that serves as an illegally crossing point from Champlain, N.Y., to Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle, Quebec, Monday, Aug. 7, 2017. Migrants crossing into Canada are processed by the RCMP in the tents before being turned over to the Canada Border Services Agency. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa) Charles Krupa

  • A Haitian woman hands passports to a Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer, who talks with her husband, after illegally crossing from Champlain, N.Y., to Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle, Quebec, Monday, Aug. 7, 2017. Officials on both sides of the border first began to notice last fall, around the time of the U.S. presidential election, that more people were crossing at Roxham Road. Since then the numbers have continued to climb. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa) Charles Krupa

  • A Haitian boy holds onto his father as they approach an illegally crossing point, staffed by Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers, from Champlain, N.Y., to Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle, Quebec, Monday, Aug. 7, 2017. Seven days a week, 24-hours a day people from across the globe are arriving at the end of a New York backroad so they can walk across a ditch into Canada knowing they will be instantly arrested, but with the hope the Canadian government will be kinder to them than the United States. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa) Charles Krupa

  • Wearing her gold high-stop sneakers, Lena Gunja, 10, originally from Congo and who had been living in Portland, Maine, follows her family as they approach an unofficial border crossing with Quebec while walking down Roxham Road in Champlain, N.Y., Monday, Aug. 7, 2017. "In Trump's country they want to put us back to our country," said Gunja. "So we don't want that to happen to us so. We want a good life for us. My mother, she wants a good life for us." (AP Photo/Charles Krupa) Charles Krupa

  • A woman yawns as she waits to be processed at an illegally crossing point, staffed by Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers, in Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle, Quebec, in the early morning hours of Tuesday, Aug. 8, 2017. Seven days a week, 24-hours a day people from across the globe are arriving at the end of a New York backroad so they can walk across a ditch into Canada knowing they will be instantly arrested, but with the hope the Canadian government will be kinder to them than the United States. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa) Charles Krupa

Associated Press
Published: 8/9/2017 10:05:11 PM

CHAMPLAIN, N.Y. — They have come from all over the United States, piling out of taxis, pushing strollers and pulling luggage, to the end of a country road in the woods.

Where the pavement stops, they pick up small children and lead older ones wearing Mickey Mouse backpacks around a “road closed” sign, threading bushes, crossing a ditch, and filing past another sign in French and English that says “No pedestrians.” Then they are arrested.

Seven days a week, 24 hours a day, migrants who came to the U.S. from across the globe — Syria, Congo, Haiti, elsewhere — arrive here where Roxham Road dead-ends so they can walk into Canada, hoping its policies will give them the security they believe the political climate in the United States does not.

“In Trump’s country, they want to put us back to our country,” said Lena Gunja, a 10-year-old from Congo, who until this week had been living in Portland, Maine. She was traveling with her mother, father and younger sister. “So we don’t want that to happen to us, so we want a good life for us. My mother, she wants a good life for us.”

The passage has become so crowded this summer that Canadian police set up a reception center on their side of the border in the Quebec community of Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle, about 30 miles south of Montreal, or almost 300 miles north of New York City.

It includes tents that have popped up in the past few weeks, where migrants are processed before they are turned over to the Canada Border Services Agency, which handles their applications for refuge.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police are adding electricity and portable toilets. A Canadian flag stands just inside the first tent, where the Mounties search the immigrants they’ve just arrested and check their travel documents. They are also offered food. Then shuttle buses take the processed migrants to their next destination. Trucks carry their luggage separately.

How this spot, not even an official border crossing, became the favored place to cross into Canada is anyone’s guess. But once migrants started going there, word spread on social media.

Under the 2002 Safe Country Agreement between the United States and Canada, migrants seeking asylum must apply to the first country they arrive in. If they were to go to a legal port of entry, they would be returned to the US and told to apply there.

But, in a quirk in the application of the law, if migrants arrive in Canada at a location other than a port of entry, such as Roxham Road, they are allowed to request refugee status there.




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