Some refugees leaving through Derby Line

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copyright the Chronicle February 22, 2017



by Joseph Gresser


DERBY LINE — In the past few months an increasing number of foreigners have been crossing the U.S. border and seeking refuge in Canada. Canadian authorities say the trend is greatest in Quebec, but they are unwilling to talk about where individuals and families are entering the province.

Some, at least, are walking over the line in Derby Line and Beebe, according to Stephen Henesy, who was recently named Patrol Agent in Charge of the Border Patrol Station in Newport.

Agent Henesy said those crossing are not people who are in the U.S. illegally, but have entered the country on tourist and other visas. Once here, some have made their way north to seek “what Canada has to offer,” he said.

Many of the people he has seen at the border come from South America and Africa, Agent Henesy said Tuesday. At least one came from Eritrea, a multi-ethnic country in the Horn of Africa, he said.

Border Patrol Agents can stop someone heading for the border, he said, but only long enough to make sure the person is not in the U.S. illegally or wanted for criminal activity. If they find no problem, the person is free to go on his way, even if that means crossing into Canada.

The illegality only begins once the person goes over the border and is under Canadian jurisdiction, he explained.

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