Reopening of unofficial border crossing draws asylum-seekers to Northern NY

Published: Jan. 26, 2022 at 6:15 PM EST
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CHAMPLAIN, N.Y. (WCAX) - Migrants are back at an unofficial North Country border crossing.

Roxham Road in Champlain, New York, offers a loophole for those seeking asylum. It was closed down during the pandemic but reopened in November. Since then, thousands of asylum-seekers have crossed through.

Roxham Road may look like a dead-end street to some but for others, it’s the start of a new life.

It offers a loophole to those looking to flee their home country and move to Canada for whatever reason that may be.

An agreement between the U.S. and Canada from 2002 says any migrant who enters Canada through a location that is not a port of entry is allowed to stay and request asylum.

Roxham Road is the most-used unofficial entry point on the northern border. Nearly 60,000 people have crossed through since February 2017.

Just last month after it reopened from the pandemic, 2,800 crossed.

Once arriving at Roxham Road, migrants are greeted with a warm welcome from Plattsburgh Cares, a nonprofit that offers warm clothes and kindness to those making the decision to cross the border.

“It’s the simple things and really that’s what it’s about; it’s a humanitarian mission,” said Diana Wardell of Plattsburgh Cares.

Plattsburgh Cares has teamed up with the Joint Council for Economic Opportunity to collect warm winter gear and stuffed animals to hand out.

They will take community donations, too. Donations can be dropped off at JCEO Outreach offices. Click here for more information.

After crossing into Canada, migrants are arrested for illegally crossing. They are then released and pursue asylum, working and living until the court makes its decision on whether they can stay.

More than 45,000 claims have been filed since February 2017 with 54% approved to stay in Canada.

Some of those nonprofits are concerned the Roxham Road loophole could close. As any updates happen with that, we will be sure to update you.

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Illegal border crossings jump in Northern New York

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