Refugees Fleeing into Canada from the United States

Reuters photographer Christinne Muschi recently spent time at the end of a small country road in Hemmingford, Quebec, that dead-ends at the U.S.-Canada border, just across from another dead-end road near Champlain, New York. She was photographing refugees, traveling alone, or in small groups, who had taken taxis to the end of the road in the U.S., then walked across the border into Canada, into the custody of the RCMP. While the location is not an official border crossing, it is one of several spots that have become informal gateways to an increasing number of refugees choosing to leave the United States. Muschi reports that “in Quebec, 1,280 refugee claimants irregularly entered between April 2016 and January 2017, triple the previous year’s total.” and that “the Canada Border Services Agency said in January that 452 people made a refugee claim at Quebec land border crossings.” Canadian advocacy groups say they are preparing for even more asylum-seekers, following increased anti-Muslim rhetoric in the U.S., and public expressions of welcome made by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

A woman who told police that she and her family were from Sudan is taken into custody by an RCMP officer just over the U.S.-Canada border, in Hemmingford, Quebec, on February 12, 2017. A Sudanese family is taken into custody by RCMP officers in Hemmingford, Quebec, on February 12, 2017. # A Sudanese family is taken into custody by RCMP officers in Hemmingford, Quebec, after crossing into Canada on February 12, 2017. # Luggage sits on the United States side of the border after a Sudanese family was taken into custody on February 12, 2017. Later, a A U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer who was present passed the luggage over the border to RCMP officers. A man who told police he was from Mauritania drops on his knees, asking for asylum, as he arrives at the U.S.-Canada border on February 13, 2017. A man who told police that he was from Mauritania is helped up a hill and taken into custody by RCMP officers after walking across the U.S.-Canada border on February 13, 2017. A man who told police he was from Mauritania is taken into custody by RCMP officers on February 13, 2017. # A border marker is seen at the U.S.-Canada border into Hemmingford, Quebec, on February 14, 2017. # An RCMP officer talks to a man exiting a taxi, who said he was from Yemen, as he walks towards the U.S.-Canada border on February 14, 2017. A man from Yemen is taken into custody by RCMP officers after walking across the U.S.-Canada border on February 14, 2017. The Yemeni man was shaking so badly that the officer asked if he was cold and he replied "I am scared." A man from Yemen is taken into custody by RCMP officers on February 14, 2017. The man had his arms up as he crossed the border. The officer said he didn’t have to do that here, he could put his arms down. A family from Yemen crosses the U.S.-Canada border into Hemmingford, Quebec, on February 14, 2017. # A family from Yemen is taken into custody by RCMP officers after walking across the U.S.-Canada border into Hemmingford, Quebec, on February 14, 2017. A man who told police he was from Sudan is confronted by an RCMP officer as he attempts to cross the U.S.-Canada border on February 13, 2017. A man who told police that he was from Sudan is taken into custody by an RCMP officer on February 13, 2017. # Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers stand on a hill looking over the U.S.-Canada border in Hemmingford, Quebec, on February 14, 2017.

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