The Gleaner

Dispelling misconceptions about Roxham Road crossing

le jeudi 22 mars 2018
Modifié à 15 h 56 min le 22 mars 2018
Par Mario Pitre

An information meeting on March 25, organized by Bridges not Borders, in collaboration with Solidarity across Borders, will aim to dispel some of the misconceptions that now abound over the irregular crossing of refugee claimants into Canada at Roxham Road, near Hemmingford. According to a recent Radio-Canada report, between 50 and 60 individuals cross into Canada irregularly at Roxham Road near Hemmingford every day, the majority now coming from a number of African countries, Turkey, Pakistan, Yemen and Syria. In an effort to break down why people are crossing irregularly at Roxham Road, the members of Bridges not Borders and Solidarity across Borders have invited a number of special guests to speak to the issue. To start the meeting, David Smith from Amnesty International will speak about the Safe Third Country Agreement, which is one cause of this irregular migration. Mr. Smith will be followed by a representative from Plattsburgh Cares, who will explain how the recent decisions taken by the Trump administration have left many people feeling unsafe in the USA. She will also talk about the work of Plattsburgh Cares in helping refugees. Finally, those in attendance will be able to hear the testimony of two people speaking about their experience as refugees. One crossed into Canada at Roxham Road with his children, after having transited through different countries. The other has been struggling for almost 10 years to obtain status for herself and her children here in Canada. An important opportunity Bridges not Borders is a Hemmingford-based citizen’s group concerned about the well-being of refugees crossing into Canada. The group is relatively new, having evolved out of a series of meetings last year before formally becoming a group following the July 1 protests at Roxham Road last summer. While raising awareness of the situation facing the refugees who cross near Hemmingford, members of the group also travel to the American side of the border crossing to distribute supplies to help prepare newcomers for a Canadian winter as the Canadian side is now completely closed off. “We don’t actually get to see people,” says Grace Bubeck of Bridges not Borders, who suggests there is still a great deal of misunderstanding surrounding what happens to refugee claimants after they are detained at Roxham Road and transported to Lacolle. “Because there is no contact, we felt it was important for people to see actual refugees speak about their actual experience,” she says of the upcoming meeting in Hemmingford. The afternoon is being co-organized by Solidarity across Borders, which is a migrant justice network out of Montreal that has been active since 2003. Composed of migrants and allies, the group works together to demand an end to deportations, an end to detention, and status for all. The information meeting will take place on Sunday, March 25, from 2 pm to 4 pm at the Forrest Figsby Hall of Hemmingford’s Anglican church. Coffee and desserts will be served. For more information, contact