RCMP make multiple arrests at U.S. border
Published Tuesday, February 14, 2017 2:07PM EST
Last Updated Tuesday, February 14, 2017 9:21PM EST
Refugees crossing the border illegally into Canada has been a common occurrence for years but the numbers have steadily increased over the past five months.
Because of an agreement between the U.S. and Canada refugees who show up at border crossings are regularly refused, but if they cross the border unlawfully they have a better chance of making a successful application.
Early Tuesday morning, on Roxton Rd. in Hemmingford, Quebec, the RCMP arrested two men from Yemen, then arrested two more men and two women minutes later.
People are choosing to cross at Hemmingford because there is no physical barrier between the two countries except a ditch.
The border crossing in town is, however, under constant surveillance, and people who live on Roxton Rd. are getting increasingly used to seeing illegal migrants.
"They're carrying suitcases, pushing strollers with babies in it. It's unusual to see these people walking by since it's a remote area," said Francois Doré.
"They want to be arrested. They want to be taken in."
RCMP officer Francois Gagnon confirmed that unlawful crossings have increased throughout the country.
"We've been seeing an increase 2016 in Quebec. as well as Manitoba and BC, but highest has been in Quebec," said Gagnon.
RCMP officers deal with the illegal immigrants respectfully, knowing that many of them are afraid.
"There's a police part of it -- we need to make the arrest and do our investigation -- but a humanitarian side of it as well," said Gagnon.
Officers also know that many of the border crossers were brought to this point by smugglers who charged them large amounts of money -- and that will be investigated.
But that will come later, after the illegal immigrants are brought to Canada Customs and Border Agency offices.
"There's also background checks, fingerprinting that takes place, so want to make sure we're not allowing someone into the country that we should not," said Domenic McNeely, CBSA.
The Canada Border Services Agency says 452 people made a refugee claim at Quebec land border crossings in January.