CTV video shows Yemeni man, Sudanese family illegally crossing into Quebec from U.S.
Published Friday, February 17, 2017 7:22PM EST
Last Updated Friday, February 17, 2017 7:55PM EST
As a growing wave of asylum seekers brave frigid temperatures to illegally enter Canada, CTV Montreal positioned itself on the American side of the border that divides New York State and the province of Quebec.
There, early Friday morning in the small border town of Champlain, N.Y., the crew met a young Yemeni man who identified himself as Abdullah.
“It’s so cold,” he told CTV Montreal as he trudged north through snow and ice on picturesque Roxham Road, wearing only a hoodie, light jacket, jogging pants and running shoes. Travelling alone and carrying a small backpack, he said he had been walking for nearly half an hour.
“There are problems now,” he said of the situation facing Muslim migrants like him in the United States.
Despite warnings from RCMP officers, the man soon crossed the border in knee-deep snow. He was promptly arrested.
Asylum seekers like Abdullah are travelling by bus to Plattsburgh, a city in Upstate New York, from where they are hiring taxis to take them to the U.S.-Canada border. Many are from the seven Muslim-majority countries targeted by U.S. President Donald Trump’s much-maligned travel ban.
Later Friday morning, CTV Montreal witnessed a taxi brimming with people arriving at the same border road.
As CTV’s camera rolled, a U.S. Border Patrol officer asked the vehicle’s inhabitants for proof that they were in the United States legally. After several tense minutes, four children and three adults, including a pregnant woman, emerged from the taxi and illegally crossed into Canada, despite warnings that they would be arrested.
The remaining man offered an expired Sudanese passport as proof of his identity and told the officer why he is fleeing the U.S.
“Because we are Muslim,” he said. “Just that.”
After paying the taxi driver over $200 for the trip, the man began throwing the family’s luggage into the snowy ditch that divides the two countries here. Ignoring repeated warnings from the American officer that he cannot legally cross into Canada, the man soon made a frantic dash north where he was apprehended by the RCMP, which loaded the asylum seekers and their luggage into a fleet of waiting vehicles.
With files from CTV Montreal