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Marie-Anne DAYÉ

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Roxham, the path where the dream begins and ends

It is no longer possible to claim asylum in Canada bypassing official border crossings with the United States.

Text : Francisco Salazar

As of March 25, 2023, this irregular crossing in upstate New York, which ends in Quebec’s Montérégie region, permanently closed its doors to migrants trying to come to Canada to seek asylum. Two days earlier, the two countries updated the Safe Third Country Agreement: people coming from the U.S. must now make their asylum claims in the U.S. – and those coming from Canada, in Canada.

In 2022, nearly 40,000 people entered the province of Quebec alone illegally. However, the Quebec government had sounded the alarm that social services were stretched to the limit and that there was not enough housing to meet the needs of these migrants.

A tightening border

Although the issue has been debated for several years, the sudden closure of Roxham Road has provoked numerous reactions from civil society, which insists that it represents a greater risk for migrants who will want to cross the border by new, more remote and dangerous routes.

Currently, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police protects the Roxham Road, and apprehends people who wish to enter Quebec territory. Other unofficial crossing points, this time to the United States, are beginning to attract the attention of authorities due to the increasing number of people attempting to cross. U.S. authorities have increased surveillance and staffing levels at the border.

Photo : Ryan / Unsplash.

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