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Thousands of Immigrants Fleeing US For Canada

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(9 Aug 2017) They have come from all over the United States, piling out of taxis, pushing strollers and pulling luggage, to the end of a country road in the north woods. Where the pavement stops, they pick up small children and lead older ones around a "road closed" sign, threading bushes, and crossing a ditch. Then they are arrested. Seven days a week, 24 hours a day, migrants who came to the U.S. from across the globe _ Syria, Congo, Haiti, elsewhere _ arrive here where Roxham Road dead-ends so they can walk into Canada, hoping its policies will give them the security they believe the political climate in the United States does not. Erloune Jean was born in Haiti, but has been living without legal status in New Jersey for last 17 years. Both her children are American citizens. She says since the election she's been living with terrible anxiety. "This is all I know- U.S. – from my young age to now, so I don't know what is waiting for me over there," said Jean. Jean's husband is remaining the U.S. for now. Her children are unsure how to feel about their new life. "I kinda wanted to stay there because I lived there for my whole life," said Erkin Jean, Erloune's 11-year-old son. The passage has become so crowded this summer that Canadian police set up a reception center on their side of the border in the Quebec community of Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle, about 30 miles (50 kilometers) south of Montreal, or almost 300 miles (480 kilometers) north of New York City. It includes tents, which have popped up in the past few weeks, where migrants are processed before they are turned over to the Canada Border Services Agency, which handles their applications for refuge. How this spot, not even an official border crossing, became the favored place to cross into Canada is anyone's guess. But once migrants started going there, word spread on social media. "In Trump's country he wants to put us back to our country, so we don't want that to happen to us, so we actually want a good life for us and my mother wants a good life for me," said Lena Gunja, a 10-year-old from Congo who is making the crossing with her mother. Under the 2002 Safe Country Agreement between the United States and Canada, migrants seeking asylum must apply to the first country they arrive in. If they were to go to a legal port of entry, they would be returned to the United States and told to apply there. But, in a quirk in the application of the law, if migrants arrive in Canada at a location other than a port of entry, such as Roxham Road, they are allowed to request refugee status there. Many take buses to Plattsburgh, New York, about 20 miles (32 kilometers) south. Some fly there, and others take Amtrak. Sometimes taxis carry people right up to the border. Others are let off up the road and have to walk, pulling their luggage behind them. One Syrian family said they flew into New York City on tourist visas and then went to Plattsburgh, where they took a taxi to the border. The migrants say they are driven by the perception that the age of Republican President Donald Trump, with his calls for bans on people from certain majority-Muslim countries, means the United States is no longer the destination of the world's dispossessed. Taking its place in their minds is the Canada of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, a member of his country's Liberal Party. Most of the people making the crossing are originally from Haiti. The Trump administration said this year it planned to end in January a special humanitarian program enacted after the 2010 earthquake that gave about 58,000 Haitians permission to stay temporarily in the U.S. Canada is housing some migrants in Montreal's Olympic Stadium. "It's not a free ticket for refugee status, not at all," Shanahan said. You can license this story through AP Archive: http://www.aparchive.com/metadata/you... Find out more about AP Archive: http://www.aparchive.com/HowWeWork

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AP Archive apus081646 479d126e6a18fe3e7ecfa54530bf8ef6 US Canada Crossing (CR) Donald Trump Jean Montreal Quebec Canada New York United States Haiti Caribbean Latin America and Caribbean New York City Plattsburgh Government and politics Social affairs General news United States presidential election European mass migration crisis
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