The number of irregular border crossings from US to Canada via Roxham road increased in 2022 after the “Open border” announcement was made by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Some Canadians think it is totally unfair to them, as they can not travel internationally even no domestic travel is allowed (by plane or train) without Covid-19 Vaccinations. Whereas the irregular migrants crossing into Canada from US can enter the country unvaccinated.
Irregular and unauthorized border crossings were closed due to travel ban in Canada since Covid-19 started. But on 22nd Nov. 2021 Prime Minister Justin Trudeau allowed border crossers to enter the country through irregular border crossing points like Roxham Road.
Before this announcement to Open the borders was made, there were limited number of irregular border crossings every month. In October 2021 there were 96 people who crossed the border from US in to Canada through Roxham Road. In November, after the decision to open the borders we saw a large number of crossers entering into Canada. In December 2021 almost 2,800 irregular immigrants crossed the border from Us through Roxham Road in to Canada.
Roxham Road is one of the unauthorized border crossing point and most famous among the immigrants seeking asylum in Canada. Since November, Canada has seen the highest number of irregular entries in past few years, more than 2,000 each month.
Where is Roxham Road?
It is no more a mystery. Quebec’s Roxham road is an easy access for many in USA. Usually people take a bus from New York city bus terminal to Plattsburgh, NY. The bus stops by Albany, NY and reaches Plattsburgh in around 8 hours. There is no proper bus terminal in Plattsburg to drop off the bus passengers. The bus stops at a gas station, and once the passengers are out, they can hear the sounds of taxi drivers shouting for “Roxham road” or “Canada Border“.
Our team visited that place to see the actual situation and was surprised to see how people were getting into Taxis and rental vans to reach the Canadian Border. The amount charged by the taxi drivers is huge. When we asked a taxi driver about the fare to Canadian Border Roxham road, he told approx. US$50 for each passenger.
Its a 30 to 40 min ride from that gas station to Roxham road. We saw how people are crossing into Canada. Royal Canadian mounted Police RCMP setup a small office at that irregular entry point, and RCMP officers are on duty 24hours. Looks like, they are not there to stop anyone from entering Canada, they just inform the border crossers “not to enter from here, this is not a legal entry point“.
People listen to them, and walk through the bushes towards RCMP. Once they reach the other side (means Canada), RCMP officers take the irregular migrants into their office hall, do the necessary documentation and after initial background checks they are taken to nearest Lacolle, QC legal Check-post to Enter Canada from USA.
People claim asylum when they step in Canada.
Why people use Roxham Road to enter from US to Canada?
The answer to this question is “Safe third country agreement”.
What is Safe Third Country Agreement
This agreement between US and Canada restrict asylum seekers to claim asylum in the first country they land, either USA or Canada. If they land in USA, then they can not come to a Canadian Border check point and claim asylum, and same if someone land in Canada first, he/she can not claim asylum to enter USA.
But there is a loophole in this safe third country agreement. There is no restriction on claiming asylum in Canada for people coming from US if they enter Canada irregularly. Means if they are not showing up on an official check-point border, and are crossing the border from an unauthorized crossing point like Roxham road, they can claim asylum, and get entry into Canada.
Canadian government is the most welcoming government for asylum seekers around the globe. The officials are planning to review the Safe third country agreement to stop irregular crossings into the country.
Until then, people are pouring in. And will continue as long as some strict actions will be taken from both sides of the border.
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