Stunned faces and heartbreak for migrants heading to Roxham as they learn Canada will likely send them back
At 4 a.m. on Saturday morning, two buses from New York City arrived at a gas station in Plattsburgh, N.Y., where groups of migrants carrying luggage and determined to cross into Canada disembarked with no knowledge of the closure of Roxham Road.
Their faces were stunned as two taxi drivers, who had shown up only to give them the news, told them they could not drive them there.
They were four hours too late. They had boarded the buses unaware that by the time they arrived in the town of Plattsburgh, 30 km from the illegal border crossing, they wouldn’t be able to walk in the footsteps of the nearly 50,000 migrants who made it over in the last year and a half.
The temperature was –4 C and several of the migrants wore only hoodies. They shivered and looked at each other in disbelief, pleading with the drivers to take them to Roxham Road anyway. The drivers said a United States government directive had come down that they were not to drive them to the illegal crossing after midnight.
Olivier Nanfah, a 42-year-old Cameroonian man, said he had spent his entire savings crossing more than a dozen countries to flee persecution, then trying to find work in the U.S. before he decided to try his luck in Canada, only to be told his last hope, Roxham Road, was closed.
“It’s awful. I have nowhere else to go,” he said.
Nanfah and a dozen other migrants from countries including Ecuador, Haiti and the Democratic Republic of the Congo gathered in another gas station next door to warm up and try to understand their predicament.
Eventually, at around 6 a.m., some taxi drivers agreed to take most of the migrants who arrived by bus to Roxham. Nanfah and several others crossed Saturday morning, but, according to the details of the modified Safe Third Country Agreement (STCA), announced Friday, they could be brought back to the U.S.
Nanfah said he wanted his story to be told so people could understand the hardships asylum seekers crossing at Roxham have faced.
After Nanfah’s father was killed in a nearby village, he said it became clear he and his family would be targeted. Nanfah walked from Cameroon to Equatorial Guinea in two weeks, then got a visa to fly to Brazil. He then made his way north on foot and by bus to the United States. He crossed the Darien jungle, where three of the 25 people in his group died because of how taxing the trek was.
“I saw people die in front of me,” Nanfah said, people who were younger than him — 28, 35, around those ages, he said.
His wife and 11 kids are home in Cameroon, hoping they can come join him once he finds a safe place for them all. The couple’s eldest, a daughter, is 18, their youngest: twins barely a year old.
Nanfah hasn’t seen them in nearly two years.
“No one should have to not see their family like this, no one,” he said.
The last hours of Roxham Road
Earlier in the evening, shortly after the changes to STCA were announced and scheduled to take effect at midnight, Roxham Road was quiet.
Groups of people continued to arrive as they had for the past weeks, months and years. Few knew then that the crossing would be barred off by midnight and how lucky they were to arrive when they did.
At 6 p.m., a black SUV with New Jersey plates came speeding down Roxham Road on the United States side of the border. A group of 11 Turkish men got out and rushed down the dirt path where an RCMP officer informed them they would be arrested for crossing illegally. They nodded and were led to a ramp outside a warehouse building where they’d be processed before being driven to a shelter by bus.
A man named Kenny Gas, a mechanic and Uber driver who lives on Staten Island, had driven them from an airport outside of New York City.
“It’s not right, what they do,” Gas said of the deal between Canada and the U.S. to effectively close the popular illegal border crossing for migrants south of Montreal.
Originally from Turkey, Gas has been driving Turkish migrants to Roxham Road from New York, who hear about him through word of mouth.
“They spent all that money to get here. Now, all of a sudden they’re closing their doors,” he said.
After that, the trickle of cars became a stream. People from Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Botswana, Malaysia, Venezuela, Sri Lanka, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Chad, Colombia and Haiti — families, single men, mothers alone with their young children.
One woman, Pamela Memengi Maiala, arrived carrying her four-month-old baby in a car seat and her five-year-old, Jefte, at her side. Jefte waited with the baby as she went to get their roughly 10 suitcases and bags.
Several people scrambled to help carry them the rest of the way, but once she got to the little dirt path, Maiala stopped.
One group of migrants passed her by, walking onto the path without hesitating, but Maiala stayed put with the baby and Jefte at her feet. She didn’t move forward for about 30 minutes. She stared at the RCMP agent on the other side, at the people waiting outside to be processed, rubbed Jefte’s back and adjusted his jacket hood. Every once in a while she drew deep sighs, answered questions from journalists, but her expression stayed the same — as if playing back her and her children’s journey up to this point.
Maiala’s responses were brief. She spoke a bit of French and some Portuguese she had picked up in Brazil, the first country she and Jefte landed in on Oct. 23, 2021. Her first language is Lingala. The baby was born on their way north and she became sick from the pregnancy, she said. When she heard the path to Canada would be closing, she decided to pack up and make it in time for the deadline. Arriving was a relief, she said. At around 11:20 p.m., she picked up her things, her baby, joined a large group on the path and walked across.
Mahamed Yusef Niazi was carrying his seven-month-old daughter Sahaba, when he and his wife Taiba Nuri got out of a black van at the end of Roxham Road.
Niazi was smiling.
“I feel better in Canada,” he said, steps away from entering the country.
He explained that he and Nuri left Afghanistan after the Taliban regained control of the country. The couple first travelled to Iran, then back to Afghanistan, then to Pakistan, Brazil, through South America to Mexico and then the U.S. And at 9:02 p.m. Friday, they walked into Canada.
At midnight, two RCMP officers took the wrapping off of a new sign that said, “Stop. Do not cross. It is illegal to enter Canada from here. You will be arrested and may be returned to the United States.”
A van from Warwick, N.J., carrying six Haitian nationals pulled up a few minutes late. For a while, it wasn’t clear if the group would be let in. They were made to wait outside for about 30 minutes, before finally being let inside. One man from Pakistan showed up an hour later and a small group at 3:15 a.m., who were also let inside.
RCMP officers present would not say whether those people would be sent back to the United States after being processed in the warehouse.
Tyler Provost, a taxi driver from Plattsburgh, made two trips to the Roxham crossing Friday night. He shook his head opening the trunk of his van.
Provost said cab drivers had been given a directive from the U.S. government to stop driving migrants to Roxham after midnight.
“A lot of people have called us already crying and saying they can’t get here ’til, like, the 27th and stuff. So it’s just going to ruin a lot of people’s lives. It’s not. It’s not going to help,” he said.
The Ultimate Solution to Selling Your Used Car in Ontario
An urgent need for money can happen suddenly to almost anyone. That’s normal, and that is what can be overcome by selling some of your property. The car suits the situation the most, as it is valuable enough to cover the most needs. Yet, if you have quite an old vehicle which doesn’t operate tip-top? You still can convert it into cash! That’s where companies like topcashforcars.ca, specializing in buying cars for cash, come into play, particularly in the province of Ontario.
Three Ideas Where to Sell a Vehicle in the Ontario Area
As usual, there are three main ways to find a buyer who will pay cash for used cars.
- Individuals, who want to get a car for a low price. Often, former teens decide to buy their first cars from second-hand owners. That is a good idea when your vehicle is reliable enough, and it can drive properly or at least it could be repaired.
- Marketplaces which were developed for used cars. Typically, even junk cars can be sold there as a source of spare parts or for some other goals. If you have an old automobile, for example, you can sell it for some decorative purposes. Yet, it is not a guarantee that you sell the car for cash quickly. Regularly, it takes months to find a buyer on these marketplaces.
- Apply for the services of scrap car removal companies. That is the way out for owners of cars which are totally damaged and are not suitable for further use.
The last option is what you can use in any case. And there are companies of that kind which offer fast payments for old cars.
Decide on What You Want to Get: Cash or Money Transfer
Which way you choose depends fully on your wish. But you should also take in mind that not all removal businesses offer cash for cars in Ontario. So, if the need for money is urgent, it is better to detail this option in advance. Because in other cases, you may face multiple troubles on the way like long waits for bank transaction approvals or additional fees for money withdrawals.
How to Get Top Cash for Used Cars in Ontario
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Besides the form of payment, the price also may matter to you. And that’s also OK in Topcashforcars.ca. You can get top dollar for old cars in it, even if the vehicle is not operating well. The price can vary, but it is usually clear and transparent in this company. Moreover, you can get a calculation for your vehicle even without moving a finger. It is available for online application on the company’s site. So, it can take just a couple of moments to receive a quote and decide if the deal is profitable for you. As usual, it is.
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Uganda’s president signs into law anti-gay legislation with death penalty in some cases
KAMPALA, Uganda (AP) — Uganda’s president has signed into law anti-gay legislation supported by many in this East African country but widely condemned by rights activists and others abroad.
The version of the bill signed by President Yoweri Museveni doesn’t criminalize those who identify as LGBTQ+, a key concern for some rights campaigners who condemned an earlier draft of the legislation as an egregious attack on human rights.
But the new law still prescribes the death penalty for “aggravated homosexuality,” which is defined as cases of sexual relations involving people infected with HIV, as well as with minors and other categories of vulnerable people.
A suspect convicted of “attempted aggravated homosexuality” can be imprisoned for up to 14 years, according to the legislation.
Parliamentary Speaker Anita Among said in a statement that the president had “answered the cries of our people” in signing the bill.
“With a lot of humility, I thank my colleagues the Members of Parliament for withstanding all the pressure from bullies and doomsday conspiracy theorists in the interest of our country,” the statement said.
Museveni had returned the bill to the national assembly in April, asking for changes that would differentiate between identifying as LGBTQ+ and actually engaging in homosexual acts. That angered some lawmakers, including some who feared the president would proceed to veto the bill amid international pressure. Lawmakers passed an amended version of the bill earlier in May.
LGBTQ+ rights campaigners say the new legislation is unnecessary in a country where homosexuality has long been illegal under a colonial-era law criminalizing sexual activity “against the order of nature.” The punishment for that offense is life imprisonment.
The United States had warned of economic consequences over legislation described by Amnesty International as “draconian and overly broad.” In a statement from the White House later Monday, U.S. President Joe Biden called the new law “a tragic violation of universal human rights — one that is not worthy of the Ugandan people, and one that jeopardizes the prospects of critical economic growth for the entire country.”
“I join with people around the world — including many in Uganda — in calling for its immediate repeal. No one should have to live in constant fear for their life or being subjected to violence and discrimination. It is wrong,” Biden said.
The United Nations Human Rights Office said it was “appalled that the draconian and discriminatory anti-gay bill is now law,” describing the legislation as ”a recipe for systematic violations of the rights” of LGBTQ+ people and others.
In a joint statement the leaders of the U.N. AIDS program, the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief and the Global Fund said they were “deeply concerned about the harmful impact” of the legislation on public health and the HIV response.
“Uganda’s progress on its HIV response is now in grave jeopardy,” the statement said. “The Anti-Homosexuality Act 2023 will obstruct health education and the outreach that can help end AIDS as a public health threat.”
That statement noted that “stigma and discrimination associated with the passage of the Act has already led to reduced access to prevention as well as treatment services” for LGBTQ+ people.
Rights activists have the option of appealing the legislation before the courts. Later Monday, one group of activists and academics petitioned the constitutional court seeking an injunction against enforcement of the law.
An anti-gay bill enacted in 2014 was later nullified by a panel of judges who cited a lack of quorum in the plenary session that had passed that particular bill. Any legal challenge this time is likely to be heard on the merits, rather than on technical questions.
Anti-gay sentiment in Uganda has grown in recent weeks amid news coverage alleging sodomy in boarding schools, including a prestigious school for boys where a parent accused a teacher of abusing her son.
The February decision of the Church of England ’s national assembly to continue banning church weddings for same-sex couples while allowing priests to bless same-sex marriages and civil partnerships outraged many in Uganda and elsewhere in Africa.
Homosexuality is criminalized in more than 30 of Africa’s 54 countries. Some Africans see it as behavior imported from abroad and not a sexual orientation.
Alberta voters await election results as polls close across province
Polls have closed across most ridings in Alberta.
As votes are counted and results trickle in, Albertans must now wait to see who will lead the province through the next four years.
Many have already made their voices heard during last week’s advance polls: 758,550 votes were cast, smashing the previous record of 700,476 in 2019.
If all goes to plan, by the end of tonight Albertans will have elected 87 MLAs to represent them in the province’s 31st legislative assembly. Although Calgary has been cited as the deciding battleground, there are plenty of ridings to watch with every election offering its own surprises.
CBC News will be hosting live coverage throughout the evening. You can watch it here from 7:30 p.m. MT. A comprehensive list on how you can follow the election is listed below.
Although there are many parties from either end of the political spectrum — from communists to separatists — the race is very much a rematch of 2019’s contest between the United Conservative Party and the New Democratic Party.
A lot has changed since the UCP took the province four years ago. The world weathered the COVID-19 pandemic, the governing party chose a new leader, and oil prices have returned prosperity to the provincial coffers.
Danielle Smith leads the UCP, having won the leadership race this fall after Jason Kenney’s resignation. This will be her second attempt at taking the premiership in an election, having led the Wildrose Party into 2012.
Rachel Notley meanwhile leads the NDP for her third election as leader. She won a four-year term as premier in 2015 before losing to Kenney in 2019.
Both offer their own vision of Alberta’s future.
The long campaign
The election officially started on May 1, although campaigning began much earlier.
On that first day, Smith and Notley held Calgary kick-off events singing the refrain to songs that would play on repeat in the coming weeks.
Smith promised to keep taxes low. The UCP has pledged to make its first legislation an amendment so income taxes can only be raised through referendum.
Notley promised she would fix the health-care system. The NDP have committed to offering signing bonuses up to $10,000 to attract doctors, nurses and other health professionals.
Cost of living, health care, public safety and other issues have been as much the basis of attacks as of promises.
The UCP hammered Notley’s plan to return the corporate tax rate to 11 per cent. The NDP lambasted Smith after she was found to have breached the conflict of interest act. And on it went.
Albertans were finally able to see the two leaders go head-to-head in the sole election debate on May 18, although the exchange hardly produced headline-making gaffes or declarations.
For many in the province, politics has been the least of their concerns. Wildfires erupted throughout central and northern Alberta in early May, threatening communities and forcing thousands to evacuate from their homes.
There were unsuccessful calls to postpone the election but Elections Alberta has said it will ensure every eligible Albertan gets to vote.
Here are more ways you can follow the election results.
Here is where to watch the CBC News election special starting at 7:30 p.m. MT:
The Alberta Votes 2023: Election Night special starts at 7:30 p.m. MT, led by CBC Edmonton host Nancy Carlson and CBC Calgary host Rob Brown.
They will be joined by Radio Active host Jessica Ng to break down results riding by riding.
Find your local channel.
CBC Radio’s special election coverage will start at 7:30 p.m. MT. Alberta at Noon host Judy Aldous and CBC Edmonton’s Tahirih Foroozan will deliver immediate results as Albertans select the province’s next government.
Judy will be joined by panellists Tina Faiz, Jeromy Farkas, Monte Solberg and Corey Hogan for instant analysis, CBC’s Scott Dippel for context on swing ridings, as well as guest voices from across the province.
The Ultimate Solution to Selling Your Used Car in Ontario
Uganda’s president signs into law anti-gay legislation with death penalty in some cases
Alberta votes in the strangest — and closest — election in its political history
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