Illegal border crossings into Canada increase from dead-end road in NY

Posted at 8:01 AM, Aug 01, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-01 08:01:17-04

CHAMPLAIN, NY (WCAX/CNN) - U.S. Border Patrol agents said they're dealing with an unusual increase of illegal border crossings into Canada - in particular, via one dead-end road.

With their lives packed in luggage, people from across the world are coming down Roxham Road and crossing illegally into Canada.

Haiti, the Dominican Republic and several countries in Africa were represented among those trying to cross over.

"I will say the traffic has increased significantly," said Patrol Agent In Charge Norman Lague of the U.S. Border Patrol.

U.S. Border Patrol said at the start of the year, about 20 people a day crossed here. Now that number is typically more than 100.

Canadian border authorities wouldn't give specific numbers for crossers at this spot, but they said it brings the highest number of illegal entries of the entire Quebec province.

Data for that area shows Canadian police interceptions at the border since January of this year have more than tripled.

"I'm doing about 10 (routes) a day," said Mike Martineau of Town Taxi.

"They're willing to risk being arrested. They're risking going across and not knowing where they're headed," said Melissa Beshaw, who lives on Roxham Road.

On Monday, nearly half a dozen groups got dropped off, including children, some still in strollers.

A significant amount of trash has added up at the end of the road. It's a symbol as to just how many people are crossing north. 

It's also a sign as to just how far they've come. 

A bus ticket shows that a likely crosser started in Miami and came all the way to Plattsburgh.

Last week, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police put up a tent and table. It looks more like a customs checkpoint at a port of entry than it does the end of a road.

Bags are inspected on site, and rather than handcuffs, people are offered water and a seat before they're taken away in a large van.

Still, stress can often run high.

"There's a lot of tension with these people," Beshaw said. "You know what? I can imagine, you know, being in their spot and having to leave what we had."

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