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Thursday, February 23, 2017


by Wendy Taylor Carlisle

A woman traveling alone with her infant, seeming to understand that she will be arrested, walks toward Canadian police on the far side of the border from Champlain, NY.  Photo by Kathleen Masterson/VPR via NPR, February 17, 2017
Members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police help a family from Somalia on Feb. 17, 2017 along the U.S.-Canada border near Hemmingford, Quebec. (The Canadian Press/AP) —The Washington Post, February 23, 2017

While some refugees are also crossing into Manitoba and British Columbia, according to the Canada Border Services Agency, some 452 people made refugee claims in Quebec in January alone, after being arrested for illegally crossing the border on foot with their strollers and suitcases in tow. Paradoxically, since the Safe Third Country Agreement between Canada and the U.S. came into force in 2004, people entering from the U.S. can only claim refugee status in Canada if they cross outside the designated ports of entry—in other words, illegally. —Montreal Gazette, February 16, 2017

Trudeau: Canada will continue to accept asylum seekers from US 
The Hill, February 21, 2017

She stands at end of Roxham Road
At the unmarked Canadian border
A Road Closed sign, then
15 feet along a well-walked path

border/ no border

The woman clutches
the handle of a rolling suitcase
Her baby wrapped
in the other arm

Across the border/ no border

Mounties in uniforms
Ma’am they say, ma’am
she does not understand
she is holding her son

border/no border

ma’am they say
we have to arrest you
if you walk across
at this here

border/no border

the men do not pull their guns
the guns gleam
in their leather holsters
car seat in a Mountie cruiser

Guns/ no guns

The woman steps into the cruiser
a border-jumper choosing not to live
in fear of what comes next
in crazy country, still she hesitates

border/no border

before she hands the baby
to a Mountie. In Canada
after 24 hours she’ll be released
or seen by a judge.

Wendy Taylor Carlisle lives and writes in the Arkansas Ozarks.