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  • A weekend welcome rally scheduled for Saturday will take place at Roxham Road, a notorious route worn smooth by thousands of immigrants.

    A weekend welcome rally scheduled for Saturday will take place at Roxham Road, a notorious route worn smooth by thousands of immigrants. | Photo: Reuters

Published 16 May 2018

Over 7,300 asylum seekers have crossed the border into the province of Quebec since January.

An army of Canadian activists is aligning along the U.S. border to support the thousands of refugees and migrants flowing into Canada.

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A weekend welcome rally scheduled for Saturday will take place at Roxham Road, a notorious route worn smooth by thousands of immigrants.

Aaron Lakoff, a member of Solidarity Across Borders, explained to local media that the event intends to protect asylum seekers from far-right groups.

"We believe that Quebec and Canada should be welcoming places for asylum seekers and that we have the resources to welcome them properly," Lakoff said during a Wednesday press conference.

Over 7,300 asylum seekers have crossed the border into the province of Quebec since January with refugees accounting for around 12 percent of the total and with family-class immigrants comprising an additional 27 percent.

According to a section of the US-Canada accord, known as the Safe Third Country Agreement (STCA), asylum seekers are permitted a safe location to reside while their refugee claims are being processed.

However, writer and activist Robyn Maynard says the agreement doesn’t come without its own setbacks.

"The Safe Third Country Agreement is dangerous; it has actually caused the loss of peoples' lives," Maynard said, recounting the health hazards immigrants face on their journey to access the terms of the bilateral agreement.

"This is the crisis of our time. This is the great injustice of our time, and it's very important for Canadians and the Canadian government to recognize this and to act," she said.

One of the main challenges migrants must endure is overcoming attacks along the border from right-wing groups. According to a 2017 report on "terrorism in Canada," the ministry of public safety cautioned the nation of the growing threat, which they described as "sporadic and opportunistic."

One of the most active groups along the U.S.-Canadian border is the Storm Alliance, a self-declared “ultra-nationalist” group which has been present in Quebec since 2016.

"We consider Storm Alliance to be a racist, far-right group… [They] will try to go to Roxham Road to sow fear and hatred against refugees," Lakoff said.

"We will be there, at Roxham Road, with a clear message to say that we want to open the border and that refugees are welcome."


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