Border Patrol: RCMP officers searching out illegal migrants
Published Tuesday, February 21, 2017 6:38PM EST
Last Updated Tuesday, February 21, 2017 9:50PM EST
Mounties say there have always been people crossing the border illegally, but in the past six months the profile of those coming into Canada has changed from drug and gun smugglers to those looking to be found by police.
Staff Sergeant Brian Byrne of the RCMP Integrated Border Enforcement Team has been patrolling Quebec's border with the United States for 30 years, long enough to have caught multiple repeat offenders.
"Guys you've arrested a couple of times, they'll say 'Oh no, not you again,'" said Byrne.
In the past few months Byrne has arrested more people who are willing to be caught because they are fleeing persecution.
"We have people without documents, we have people with as you say fake documents, we have people with legitimate documents," said Byrne.
By crossing somewhere other than a legitimate border crossing, people can make a refugee application to Canada instead of in the United States under the provisions of a 15-year-old treaty between the two countries.
Those people get brought to the Lacolle border crossing where they are processed by the Canada Border Services Agency.
Conservative leadership candidate Steven Blaney said Tuesday that Canada must act immediately to stop illegal migrants from entering the country, including allowing Canadian authorities to immediately turn people over to U.S. officials.
Byrne said many of the border crossers rely on criminal organizations, or people from foreign countries, to figure out the best place to cross.
Those who are truly desperate are willing to fork over large sums, "up to $10,000," for the chance to make it across.
In the past two weeks photos and video of migrants crossing the border at Roxham Rd. have been seen around the world, but in addition to that road to New York, there are dozens of spots where the border is blocked by trees, concrete blocks, or under surveillance.
The line between Canada and the United States a reputation as being the the world's longest undefended border, but cameras and motion sensors monitor vast swathes of the border, and Canadian agents work hand-in-hand with their American counterparts.
Running people across the border is a crime, and there are people who are caught and charged.
"I can't share details of investigations with you. We have passengers, we have people who have assisted others, and they're facing trials as we speak," said Byrne.
Among those on trial is a smuggler accused of carrying two dozen handguns into Canada, which gives Byrne yet another reason to maintain diligence.
"Knowing I would have missed a single person, it would be terrible."