There was a dead calm on Saturday morning south of the US border. Apparently, the word got out: since midnight, Roxham Road has been closed to asylum seekers hoping to find refuge in Canada.
The scene contrasted with the race against the clock which started the day before to cross the famous breach before it closed at midnight sharp.
“You’re under arrest,” the border agent thundered at a small family dropped off by a taxi that had just crossed the dirt road that separates Canada and the United States.
A little girl in a pink coat hugged a stuffed animal, while her long-faced mother pulled a heavy suitcase behind her. Was she aware that passage was now prohibited? Escorted by the authorities, the family stormed into a building without saying a word.
Within an hour, they were the only migrants to have crossed the path, now barred to irregular asylum seekers. The day before, there were still dozens of them rushing there to find refuge in Canada.
Under the new agreement between the United States and Canada, the Safe Third Country Agreement now applies to all land border entry points between the two countries.
People trying to enter Canada are now arrested and can be sent back to the United States. Certain exceptions are provided for, in particular for people who have family in Canada or for unaccompanied minors.