(Plattsburgh, New York State) There was a dead calm on Saturday south of the US border. The day after Roxham Road was closed, word spread among migrants hoping to find refuge in Canada. But he did not surrender to all. In Plattsburgh, families continued to arrive with their suitcases, oblivious to having missed their chance by a few hours.

Between the announcement of the closure of the famous passage and its entry into force, the information did not have time to reach everyone.

In the middle of the afternoon, around fifteen migrants, including families and children, arrived with their small suitcases in Plattsburgh, a few kilometers from Roxham Road.

Leaving from New York, they got off the bus in the snow, in shoes and a little jacket. “We can’t pass anymore?” asked a young Colombian father, appalled.

For many of them, the crossing was long. With his daughter, Lackys traveled nine countries, from Angola to the United States before ending his journey in Canada, he hoped.

“We went through some dangerous places. There were mountains, water, rivers, ”says the father with sunken eyes, beach sandals on his feet. “I’m amazed, I didn’t know,” he blurts out.

Further, Herman recounts having fled the Democratic Republic of Congo because of political tensions, leaving behind his wife and four children.

He didn’t come all the way to give up so close to the goal. “I will try [to cross]. I have brothers who are in Canada,” he says.

One after another, the migrants jumped into a taxi, suggesting that they would try their luck at the border.

“Drivers pick them up knowing they will be rejected and will call them to pick them up again. They’re just doing it for the money,” condemned Terry Provost, a Plattsburgh citizen who watched the scene from afar.

A little earlier on Saturday, the scene that played out in front of Roxham Road contrasted with the rush observed the day before.

“Stop! Stop! Stop! repeated the agent at the Canadian border to a small family who walked wearily towards the dirt road.

A little girl in a pink coat clutched a stuffed animal, while her long-faced mother pulled a heavy suitcase behind her.

“You’re under arrest,” the officer thundered once they set foot in Canadian territory.

Did the newcomers know that the breach was now closed? Escorted by the authorities, the family rushed without saying a word into a building where a dozen migrants who arrived during the night were waiting.

Garbage was strewn across the ground frozen by the cold, the only witnesses of the crush that had taken place there the day before. Until one to midnight, dozens of migrants rushed to the entry point at the end of a dusty cul-de-sac, hoping to reach it in time.

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 who try to enter Canada are now arrested and will be sent back to the United States, the first “safe” country they arrived in. However, certain exceptions are provided, including for people who have family in Canada or for unaccompanied minors.

On the spot, a member of the New York State Assembly, Billy Jones, expressed his concerns about the new agreement, of which he was informed – like everyone else – a few hours before it came into effect.

“I’m sure a lot of people don’t have [social media] and won’t know it’s closed. We could have a huge problem,” he lamented in front of the cameras.

The elected Democrat is convinced of this: migrants will continue to attempt to cross the border, only in more dangerous conditions.

“We are concerned to see them arrive here unprepared, in sneakers, without jackets, without mittens […], with children too,” he said.

“If vans full of immigrants show up here hoping to get through and they realize they’re not allowed in, what do we do?” How do we host them? “raised a supervisor from the city of Champlain, Thomas Tremblay, who also came for a walk on Saturday morning.

In the past year, congestion due to the constant ballet of taxis carrying migrants has become an issue for the citizens of the small American municipality.

“Some people are really against it, while others are concerned and want to try to help them if they can,” said Mr. Tremblay.