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PostPosted: Fri Aug 03, 2018 7:40 am    Post subject: Canadians against "Irregular" border crossings ... Reply with quote

It looks like the media are deciding that the "irregular" border crossings are a problem.

Two-thirds call irregular border crossings a ‘crisis,’ more trust Scheer to handle issue than Trudeau
Two-thirds call irregular border crossings a ‘crisis,’ more trust Scheer to handle issue than Trudeau.

August 3, 2018 – Weeks of questions and criticism from opposition politicians and provincial leaders about asylum-seekers crossing the border – an issue already the source of heightened anxiety and concern for Canadians – have taken a further toll on the Trudeau government’s perceived ability to manage the situation.

In the wake of emergency meetings of the Parliamentary Immigration Committee, and as Ontario Premier Doug Ford demands compensation from Ottawa for the cost of caring for those who cross the border irregularly, Canadians are growing increasingly concerned about the country’s ability to handle the flow.

Despite the recent addition of Bill Blair to cabinet as Minister of Border Security, the latest survey from the Angus Reid Institute finds two-thirds of Canadians (67%) call the current situation a “crisis”.

Further, about the same number (65%) are of the view that Canada has received “too many” irregular crossers for the country’s authorities and service providers to handle.

These views are held not only by conservative-minded individuals, but also by more than half of those who voted for the Liberal and New Democratic parties in 2015, suggesting that asylum-seekers and border security are areas of vulnerability for the Liberal Party – and a potential effective wedge for the Conservative Party in next year’s anticipated election.

Indeed, a plurality of Canadians, including sizeable segments of past left-leaning voters, say they trust CPC leader Andrew Scheer more than the other main party leaders to deal with this file.

More Key Findings:Migrants

* Canadians are paying a great deal of attention to this issue. It scores higher on the ARI Awareness Index than any other topic ARI has polled on so far in 2018 (see notes on methodology at the end of this report)
* Six-in-ten (58%) say Canada is “too generous” to those crossing the border irregularly. This is a slight increase since the last time ARI asked this question last year (when it was 53%)
* Most Canadians would rather focus on border monitoring and security than on accommodating these new arrivals. Roughly half (50%) say assisting asylum-seekers is “important” or a “major priority,” compared to 78 per cent who say this of increasing border security
* Roughly three-in-ten Canadians (30%) say the country should suspend its Safe Third Country Agreement (STCA) with the United States, which would allow asylum-seekers to cross at official border-crossings. A larger number (43%) say the STCA should remain in place [....]

It's being echoed in the media.

Justin Trudeau is losing the argument on border crossings, poll suggests
{i}More Canadians trust Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer than Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on border crossings{/i}
Éric Grenier · CBC News · Posted: Aug 03, 2018 3:00 AM ET | Last Updated: 5 hours ago

A new poll suggests Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's Liberals are losing the political debate over the issue of irregular border crossings.

A majority of Canadians polled by the Angus Reid Institute say that the number of asylum seekers crossing into the country is too high, while a plurality point to Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer as the best major party leader to handle the issue.

The survey comes as the federal Conservatives and provincial governments put pressure on the Liberals to take control of what they've call a "crisis" — a sentiment that the poll suggests is also shared by a majority of respondents. [....]

And here ...

Bill Blair, John Tory to meet Friday to discuss housing of asylum seekers in Toronto
Aug 3 2018 — Global News
Bill Blair, the federal minister of Border Security and Organized Crime Reduction, and Toronto Mayor John Tory are meeting Friday morning at city hall to discuss the situation of irregular border crossers and the housing of asylum seekers.

Officials estimate there are currently more than 3,000 refugees and asylum seekers living in the city.

Dormitories at Centennial College and Humber College are temporarily being used to house 344 asylum seekers, including 96 families, but the accommodations must be vacated by Aug. 9 to make way for students entering the fall school session.

Apparently when they leave, the premises they lefr are in bad shape. Not the best tenanta.

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 04, 2018 11:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It looks as if Americans are getting organized to deliver thousands of illegals to our shores. It's obviously increasing in scale rapidly. If we had 25,000 asylum seekers in 2016, and 50,000 in 2017, why wouldn't we expect 75,000 this year? And more the following year?

Easing the journey north
A group of Americans is assisting immigrants as they illegally cross the Canadian border. Are they guardian angels or part of the problem?
Story by Tim Craig
AUGUST 3, 2018


Omer Malik knew he had to slip into Canada to avoid President Trump’s crackdown on undocumented immigrants.

But the 19-year-old native of Afghanistan needed a friend to help guide him. He found that friend in a 66-year-old former French teacher, one of a number of people here in the Adirondack region who believe it’s their duty to comfort and support those fleeing Trump’s vision for America.

As Malik dragged his suitcase toward the Canadian border, Janet McFetridge gave him two bags of potato chips, a knit hat and — what she considers her most important gift — a hug. Then she yelled across the thicket of cattails and flowering grasses that separated them from Quebec.

“Hello,” she called, alerting a Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer that Malik was about to illegally cross the border to claim asylum. “We got someone here.”

McFetridge is part of a loosely assembled network of progressive activists, faith leaders and taxi drivers who have mobilized to help undocumented immigrants cross the northern border. To some, they’re selfless do-gooders ushering people to better lives. To others, they’re perpetuating a problem that has debilitated Canada’s immigration system.

For centuries, residents note, towns in the Champlain Valley have been a path to security, serving as an escape route for people fleeing slavery, the Vietnam War draft and Central American wars. Now, when it comes to immigration, this GOP-friendly part of New York has become a hub of the resistance.

“We view this as our Underground Railroad,” said Carole Slatkin, an advocate who has helped immigrants traveling through Essex, N.Y., a town that was part of a major route for enslaved people. “While no one is being flogged, and no one is being sold, there is this sort of modern-day equivalent of feeling like people are in danger.”

Janet McFetridge, 66, explains to a family of Palestinian asylum seekers what will happen when they try to cross the border. McFetridge waits at this waypoint year-round, offering snacks, clothes and toys for children on the journey to Canada. (Andre Malerba for The Washington Post)
Advocates say they try not to give direct advice to the immigrants, instead helping them find a place to rest or supplies to ease their journey. But the image of U.S. citizens supporting immigrants who make the trip is controversial in Canada, threatening long-standing, cross-border camaraderie.

“To me, it’s just being abusive,” said Paul Viau, mayor of the township of Hemmingford, a Canadian farming community along the border. “There are people who sympathize with [the immigrants] and people who have a harder time with it. But no one appreciates that someone would pack them up and bring them to the border at an illegal crossing.”

Last year, as the Trump administration began enacting stricter policies against undocumented immigrants, Canada processed more than 50,000 asylum claims. That is more than double the claims made in 2016, according to Canadian government statistics.

Many of those immigrants have been crossing at unauthorized locations, such as here on Roxham Road.

Although the flow of asylum seekers into many Canadian provinces has slowed this year, there has been no letup into Quebec. From January through June, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police apprehended 10,261 people crossing the border illegally there. Last year, the police apprehended 18,836 people.

The arrivals have sparked a backlash from segments of Canada’s political system. In late June, Toronto Mayor John Tory warned that the influx of asylum seekers had overwhelmed that city’s ability to care for them.

“We have a problem, and we need help,” Tory told Canadian reporters in a plea for more emergency housing.

In Quebec, the leader of its nationalist party, Jean-François Lisée, has suggested constructing a wall along the southern border of the province.

Asylum seekers enter a shelter on the Canadian side of Roxham Road, which starts near Champlain, N.Y. The outpost was built to help process the recent surge of refugees and asylum seekers, which can total about 50 people a day. (Andre Malerba for The Washington Post)
Roxham Road, a narrow paved road lined by horse farms and marshes, has served as a path recently for Palestinians, Colombians, Ghanaians, Nigerians, Haitians, Zimbabweans and Pakistanis, among others.

After one taxi pulled up here, Fiyori Mesfin struggled to carry a car seat, stroller and two backpacks as she crossed the border with her two children, ages 1 and 3.

Mesfin, 32, is a single mother from Eritrea who had been living for the past four years in Las Vegas. Her children are U.S. citizens.

After she was recently denied asylum in the United States, Mesfin began to fear she could be deported or even separated from her children. So she flew to John F. Kennedy Airport in New York and then boarded a Greyhound bus for Plattsburgh, N.Y.

“So now I am here just hoping it gets better,” Mesfin said as she pushed the stroller, while trying to manage her toddler, toward Canada.

At the end of Roxham Road in Champlain, Fiyori Mesfin, 32, crosses into Canada with her 3-year-old son and 1-year-old daughter, both U.S. citizens. She had been living in Las Vegas for four years but was denied asylum status. (Andre Malerba for The Washington Post)
Saman Modarage also had taken the bus.

Modarage is a Sri Lankan native who fled his country in 2005 during a civil war. He had settled in suburban Washington and worked at a liquor store in Prince George’s County.

But Modarage, 51, decided to try to flee Maryland for Canada after he heard that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement was raiding and auditing Maryland convenience stores searching for undocumented employees.

In a recent statement, ICE noted that it has opened nearly 6,100 worksite investigations and made more than 1,500 arrests from October through July — more than five times the number of arrests made in the previous fiscal year.

“Donald Trump’s administration has pushed me here,” said Modarage, who arrived in Plattsburgh with two sets of clothing and $300. “All immigrants are under threat. . . . If I got deported, it would kill me.”

The flow of people illegally crossing into Canada from the United States has continued despite an agreement in 2002 between the countries that is designed to manage refugee movements.

The Canada-U.S. Safe Third Country Agreement requires migrants to make an asylum claim in the first safe country they reach, unless they are minors or have family ties at their next destination. The agreement means many of those who try to cross from the United States into Canada at an official border station are turned away.

But a loophole permits asylum claims to be made by individuals who enter Canada covertly, such as here on Roxham Road, about five miles west of the interstate. Crossing illegally at out-of-the-way sites has become the preferred method for undocumented immigrants in the United States as well as those in the country legally who see their chance of getting asylum or permanent residency dimming.

LEFT: Saman Modarage, 51, a native Sri Lankan who has lived in Oxon Hill, Md., since 2005, decided to seek asylum in Canada after ICE agents raided a 7-Eleven near the convenience store he owned. RIGHT: Janet McFetridge has been collecting items discarded by asylum seekers crossing illegally into Canada. She has found small toys, an iPhone X, bus tickets, credit cards and driver’s licenses. (Andre Malerba for The Washington Post)
Many take a bus from New York City to Plattsburgh, where waiting taxis transport them about 30 miles to the end of Roxham Road, a 100-yard dirt path into Canada.

Federal officers stationed on the other side of the border immediately arrest those who cross illegally. But if the crossers have proper identification, no criminal history and are not otherwise considered a security threat, most are released within 72 hours, said Sylvain Thibault, a coordinator at Project Refugee, a Montreal-based humanitarian group.

They then stay in a shelter, or with family or friends, while they await their hearing. They are also eligible for public assistance, health care and an opportunity to apply for a Canadian work permit.

Canadian law dictates asylum hearings should be held within 60 days.

But Paul Clarke, executive director of the Action Refugees Montreal, an advocacy group, said the government is so overwhelmed, it’s now taking up to two years for cases to be heard.

Last year, Canadian courts granted asylum in about 60 percent of cases, Clarke said. Canadian authorities have warned that far fewer of the most recent arrivals are expected to qualify.

The beginning of Roxham Road, in Champlain, N.Y., where it intersects with the famous North Star Road — said to have been a guiding light to slaves on the run nearly two centuries ago. (Andre Malerba for The Washington Post)
McFetridge, the teacher turned activist, has lived in Champlain about five miles from the border for three decades. But she never paid much attention to it until after Trump’s election, when she was looking for ways to convert her agony over his win into meaningful action.

In March 2017, when she began hearing about an influx of immigrants into Canada, she decided to drive up to Roxham Road. The sight of people dragging luggage — and children — down “an isolated, lonely, country road” shook her.

“I was just horrified that people were leaving the United States, where we have this idea of being a beacon of hope, for another country,” she recalled. “At that point, I said, we can do something here, and I can at least give them a kind word, and recognize them as people by saying, ‘I am sorry you feel you have to do this.’ ”

McFetridge began showing up almost daily.

Last winter, after realizing many asylum seekers were arriving without warm clothes, she began handing out coats and gloves.

As the weather warmed, she transitioned her efforts to handing out snacks and toys to the children. McFetridge said she tries to avoid giving direct advice or material support to the refugees to avoid conflict with Canadian immigration authorities. But, she said, it’s important for her to be there so people know they are not alone and can cross with a sense of safety.

“I can tell them they are not going to be shot,” she said. “They’ve asked me: ‘Do I have to run? Are the police going to shoot me?’ ”

McFetridge, who said she encounters dozens of asylum seekers on some days, keeps a log of those she encounters.

“. . . Woman arrived by plane. 25 years in the US. Leaving son behind, degree in finance . . . Father stayed in taxi, sobbing as family left . . . Young adult — said she was bisexual & would be killed if returned to home country . . .”

Although McFetridge is the most visible advocate, a broad array of community and faith organizations have also mobilized throughout the Champlain Valley to assist people who pass through.

One organization that was formed to support refugees, Plattsburgh Cares, prints informational pamphlets about how to safely reach Roxham Road. Amid complaints from Canadian officials, the group stopped distributing the pamphlets this spring. It now relies on “word of mouth” to get information out, said Slatkin, 73, the woman in Essex.

As they continue their efforts, the advocates draw comparisons to the stealth network of abolitionists used to help guide people who escaped to Canada in the 19th century.

Of the estimated 100,000 enslaved people who fled the American South between 1810 and 1850, about 40,000 made it to Canada after being hidden in houses and churches along the way, said Don Papson, president of the North Country Underground Railroad Museum in Keeseville, N.Y.

One of the major routes there ran through Champlain, about two blocks from McFetridge’s house, he noted. Today, before asylum seekers arrive on Roxham Road, they must travel down North Star Road, believed to be named after the star that people who escaped slavery used to guide them toward freedom.

Martha Swan, executive director of John Brown Lives, a humanitarian group based in Westport, N.Y., and named after the 19th-century abolitionist, said the region’s “inspiring history” is what is causing more people to “summon the courage” to support refugees. She said interest in helping the refugees has grown considerably this summer because of outrage over Trump administration’s policy of separating detained undocumented immigrants from their children at the U.S.-Mexico border.

“You don’t have to do anything extraordinary, necessarily, but you do have to bear witness and help where you can,” said Swann, who recently helped a Nigerian woman make the trip from Los Angeles to the northern border.

At the First Presbyterian Church in Plattsburgh, the congregation decided to convert a Sunday school room into a temporary shelter for use by asylum seekers who may become stranded.

Stuart Voss, chairman of the church’s refugee committee, said the church is reviving a role it played in the late 1980s when thousands of migrants from Central America traveled through Upstate New York to reach Canada.

Many spent an extended period of time in Plattsburgh — where they were fed, counseled and housed by local churches — while they waited for Canada to consider their asylum requests.

But Voss, 75, said church members now believe they must be far more discreet in their efforts than they were 30 years ago.

Separated, then reunited, immigrant families face what comes next
“We decided it wasn’t the same situation as in 1986 to 1987 because there was no ICE back then, and it was just Border Patrol,” said Voss, referring to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, which was created in 2003 in wake of 9/11. “Customs used to tell us, ‘Okay, as long as they are staying with you, you can help them out.’ ”

In a statement, the Canadian police declined to comment on Americans’ role in helping the refugees but said it added resources to the border and is confident it can meet the security and humanitarian challenge.

In a separate statement, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency said it is “working to identify trends and patterns” of cross-border movement into Canada.

Here along the border, the taxi drivers say they will continue transporting asylum seekers to the border.

Although the drivers say they got into the business to make money — they charge $50 to $75 in fares for a one-way trip from the bus station — they say they now see it as their duty to give advice and to comfort and calm passengers.

“They are scared. . . . They will ask me if American Border Patrol is going to be here, and how far they have to walk,” driver Troy Gelwicks said after he recently dropped a Haitian family off at Roxham Road. “I say, ‘You just have to walk 10 steps, and Canadian Border Patrol is very friendly.’ ”

As she waved goodbye to Malik, McFetridge said she is also banking that Canada’s government will continue to be more sympathetic than the Trump administration.

“But you have to be realistic,” McFetridge added. “It’s not going to work out for everybody.”
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Canadians against "Irregular" border crossings ...

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