Canada and the US are shutting their borders tonight except for essential services.One of the ports of entry that has attracted a lot of controversy is the Roxham Road irregular border crossing in Lacolle, Quebec. The borders are being closed after joint agreement was reached between the two countries. Irregular border crossers arrested henceforth would be turned to US authorities.
Asylum seekers had used the irregular border crossing to come to Canada following changes to immigration laws in the US.
The borders are temporarily shut to deal with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Closing the irregular crossing in Lacolle is applauded by some who have constantly berated the immigration policy of the present administration for allowing refugee claimants to use the irregular point of entry.
Roxham Road border crossing is a political football. It has been used to evoke anti-immigration sentiments. There are politicians who have used irregular border crossing as a wedge issue to elevate their clout. While some elected leaders have made reasonable suggestions on how to manage Canada’s immigration policy, others have exploited Roxham Road to provoke hatred towards immigrants. The current closure of Canada’s borders with the US is temporary. The question that would be answered down the road is whether Roxham Road border crossing would eventually be opened after COVID-19 is eradicated.
Commentary and photo by Edward Akinwunmi.