Border services working with RCMP on migrants raises questions

Are CBSA officers stepping outside of their bounds?

(This column originally appeared in the Toronto Sun)

By: Candice Malcolm

Evidence exclusively obtained by the Toronto Sun suggests that the Canadian Border Service Agency (CBSA) is co-operating with the RCMP in dealing with the flood of migrants entering Canada illegally. This is significant given that CBSA deals exclusively with legal border crossings, while the RCMP is responsible for illegal crossing. 

Working together suggests a blurring of responsibility, and raises further questions about why our immigration laws are not being enforced at unofficial crossings.  

This past weekend, a CBSA vehicle was parked at the popular Roxham Road illegal border crossing in rural Quebec. This is the location where upwards of 6,000 people have already crossed in 2018, tripling 2017’s numbers in the first three months.  

It is unknown why a CBSA vehicle was there or how long it had been there. CBSA declined to comment for this column. The RCMP officials stationed at the border would not answer questions from the Sun about the vehicle.  

Thinking they were speaking to a unilingual journalist, the officials joked in French that they should put a sticker over the CBSA logo on the vehicle to prevent other journalists from seeing it.

According to a recent media briefing from federal officials, illegal border crossings fall under the jurisdiction of the RCMP. Mounties, therefore, and not CBSA officials receive and arrest the asylum seekers who cross illegally at this spot every day.  

Migrants cross at this location, rather than an official border crossing, specifically to avoid CBSA officials who enforce the Safe Third Country Agreement – the Canada-U.S. treaty that prevents U.S.-based migrants from seeking asylum in Canada, and vice-versa.  

Crossing into Canada illegally and making their asylum claim once in Canada has become a loophole that allows migrants to avoid CBSA officials – and avoid the law that prevents Canada from accepting asylum seekers via the U.S.  

The refusal of border officers to discuss these matters with the media is not the choice of local officials, but a top-down edict from the Trudeau government.  

An internal memo from the Trudeau government’s department of public safety, obtained by Le Journal de Montreal, instructed Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) officers not to discuss illegal immigration with the media. While the memo made news in the French-language media in Quebec, the English mainstream media failed to pick up the story.  

The memo, which muzzles officers and prevents them from sharing this story with Canadians, stated that “only designated spokespersons can make statements or observations to the media about field operations.”