Tags: Haiti | US | Canada | illegal

Haitians Attempt Illegal U.S. Entry Through Canada

Tuesday, 06 Apr 2010 09:47 AM

TORONTO - In the dark of night recently, a Haitian named Wisly Bejean was walking on an isolated farming road just south of the Canadian border when his journey into the United States abruptly ended.

Mr. Bejean was picked up by U.S. border agents and detained. He is charged with trying to enter the United States illegally, and he is one of many.

Since the Jan. 12 earthquake laid waste to their homeland, more than 120 Haitians, some of them women and children, have been caught trying to cross into Vermont from Quebec. Eight were apprehended this weekend.

U.S. officials said some of the Haitians were being abetted by traffickers.

“We believe some were being smuggled into the U.S. through organized rings,” said Mark Henry, operations officer for U.S. Customs and Border Protection for the Swanton sector, which covers the main illegal entry points.

Their illicit passage is driven in part by organized smugglers and fuelled by a desire to reunite with family in the United States, according to officials and Haitian community members in Canada and the United States.

The surge also coincides with a decision after the earthquake by the Obama administration to grant temporary protected status to Haitians living in the country illegally. The status applies only to those who were already there – a fact that traffickers in Canada may not have told the would-be immigrants.

“When people are desperate, they’ll believe rumours,” said Marjorie Villefranche of La Maison d’Haiti in Montreal, which has been helping settle Haitians. “And there are people taking advantage of that desperation.”

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TORONTO - In the dark of night recently, a Haitian named Wisly Bejean was walking on an isolated farming road just south of the Canadian border when his journey into the United States abruptly ended.
Haiti,US,Canada,illegal
272
2010-47-06
Tuesday, 06 Apr 2010 09:47 AM
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