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Migrants race to cross US-Canada border before Safe Third Party Agreement starts

WPTZ Plattsburgh-Burlington 3/25/2023
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Changes are coming at the U.S.-Canadian border following a meeting with President Biden and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. The two announced the Safe Third Party Agreement in effect since midnight on Saturday.

Anticipation of the announcement had already prompted an influx of crossings, especially at one of the most popular spots for asylum seekers in Northern New York.

For tens of thousands of migrants, Roxham Road in Champlain, New York, had been a symbol of new starts for some and a journey necessary for survival for others. One migrant from Pakistan shared, "Canada is a kind country to welcoming the immigrants. So that is why I also try to move somewhere like to make a proper life with all the human rights."

Meanwhile, another migrant shared his harrowing experience of having to flee from Nigeria. He said his father was preaching religion back home, but people in his country tried to kill him and his father for it. He became overwhelmed with emotion when asked about his next move once in Canada.

But for Americans and Canadians alike, the illegal border crossings had been the root of concerns for nearby residents. Vermont Sen. Peter Welch spoke on what Biden and Trudeau's agreement meant for both countries: "We have to be able to control this. Mutual cooperation, which has always been solid between Canada and the U.S., we’re cooperating again.”

Welch also affirmed that both countries will continue to help refugees get asylum.

Northern New York Assemblyman Billy Jones added that he doesn't expect the migrants to be discouraged from passing through Roxham Road right away. In a statement to NBC5, he said, "This is not a faucet you can just turn off. Asylum seekers will still travel to the North Country in the coming weeks, and we need federal resources and personnel to handle the situation short-term." Migrants who attempt to cross will now be stopped and told they are illegally entering Canada.

Regardless of Border Patrol's presence at the end of Roxham Road and other border crossing locations along the U.S. and Canada, refugees still expressed gratitude for the humanity both countries provided over the past several years.

READ MORE:Migrants race to cross US-Canada border before Safe Third Party Agreement starts

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