U.S.-Canada border tells different immigration story

Posted at 4:26 PM, Jun 18, 2018

Much attention is being given to the border between Mexico and the United States as policy that has separated immigrant families entering the country illegally comes under criticism.

But, those same federal laws and policies control the U.S. border with Canada. Immigration workers in Buffalo will tell you the story at the country's northern border is vastly different.

"Because of what's happening in the U.S. people are now flooding Canada," Mariah Walker, Canadian services manager at Vive, said. "People don't consider the U.S. a safe country anymore."

Vive is an immigration agency at Jericho Road Community Health Center. It helps those seeking asylum in the U.S. or Canada by scheduling appointments, offering legal services and providing transportation and temporary shelter.

Walker said it is rare to see families trying to cross illegally from Canada to the U.S., so family separation is not something they've seen. Vive is, however, coordinating with agencies near the southern border. It is trying to reunite families or offering shelter and assistance to immigrants as they are released from detention.

"We actually do have a case now where there is a parent who is [in Buffalo] and we are trying to unite them with their child," she explained.

A Customs and Border Protection spokesperson explained the agency has followed this policy in the past. CBP works to resolve these cases as quickly as possible, while still adhering to its top priority of preventing the entry of "dangerous people and materials".

You can read the full statement below:

As in the past, CBP in the Buffalo region has been referring all those apprehended in the U.S. illegally to the U.S Attorney’s office for prosecution. Those who enter the country illegally will be prosecuted in accordance with the Department of Justice (DOJ) zero-tolerance policy that directs U.S. Attorney’s to prosecute all DHS referrals for aliens who enter illegally consistent with 8 U.S.C. § 1325(a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act.  

Under the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008 (TVPRA) we must ensure that unaccompanied alien children in the United States are protected from traffickers and other persons seeking to victimize or otherwise engage such children in criminal, harmful, or exploitative activity.

CBP processes all aliens arriving without documents as expeditiously as possible without negatively affecting the agency's primary mission to protect the American public from dangerous people and materials while enhancing the nation’s economic competitiveness through facilitating legitimate trade and travel.

As the number of arriving aliens determined to be inadmissible at ports of entry continues to rise, CBP must prioritize its limited resources to ensure its primary mission is being executed.  Depending on port circumstances at the time of arrival, CBP officials will allocate the necessary resources to its primary mission and operate appropriate access controls and que management procedures for those arriving aliens without proper travel documents.