With US President Joe Biden’s visit to Canada, the Roxham Road is back in the news. To better understand the presence of this key passage for many immigrants, here are some explanations.
The agreement signed in 2002 between Canada and the United States ensures that a potential refugee must apply for asylum in the first safe country where he sets foot. The agreement excludes crossings that are not at official entry points, such as Roxham Road.
The new pact would allow both countries to intercept and return anyone who tries to cross the roughly 9,000 kilometers of border between them, including entry points like Roxham Road.
La Presse tried to explain this opaque file in 10 questions.
It must be recognized that “Quebec has reached and even exceeded its reception capacity. So Roxham Road must be closed,” Premier François Legault insisted. Quebec has asked to send migrants passing through Roxham Road to other provinces. In March, this was the case for 58% of migrants, noted Mr. Legault. “It’s still not enough. »
Those involved with migrants fear that people seeking safety will find themselves in danger trying to cross the border. For Frantz André, member of the Action Committee for People Without Status, this announcement does not mean that asylum seekers will now stop crossing the border in both directions.
According to Frantz André, the new agreement could lead people to “find other entry points, elsewhere, which are less secure”. A drama like the death of Fritznel Richard, this asylum seeker of Haitian origin found dead near Roxham Road in the middle of December, could happen again, according to him.
La Presse spent 24 hours with an American who traded his job as a roofer for that of a “smuggler”. Five times a day, from 3 a.m. to 6 p.m., this man picks up migrants in Plattsburgh to bring them to the end of Roxham Road.