Published: Mon, July 09, 2018
Science | By Celia Watts

Canada probing U.S. immigration patrols near northern border

Canada probing U.S. immigration patrols near northern border

The Canadian government is investigating reports Canadian boats have been approached and questioned by US border patrol agents in the gulf of ME last month.

"They claim to be looking for illegal immigrants", said Cook in his Facebook posting.

Fishermen from nearby Grand Manan Island recently said they were approached and questioned by USBP vessels near Machias Seal Island. The island is located in the lower Bay of Fundy, approximately 15 kilometres west of Grand Manan Island.

Spokesman John Babcock said the Canadian government is also talking with USA agencies, though he did not provide details about the fishermen's allegations or Ottawa's response. "Our understanding is that this was a part of a regular exercise being conducted along the USA marine border".

"We don't want this to be a great worldwide incident, but it's kind of curious", said Laurence Cook, the chairman of the lobster committee at the Grand Manan Fishermen's Association in New Brunswick.

The U.S. Border Patrol, which is part of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, declined to comment and referred all inquiries to the U.S. State Department, which did not respond to a request for an interview.

And last month, Canadians were astonished to learn that not only can American border agents seize their cellphones, but that the border patrol had established checkpoints throughout New England to stop foreigners. According to the Grand Manan Fishermen's Association, "Canada's sovereignty over the area is long standing and has a strong foundation in worldwide law", although it notes the United States disputes Canada's claim.

Grand Manan is a Canadian island in the Gulf of ME, right off the coast that hosts the border between the United States and Canada.

"Absolutely overkill", he said of the "disturbing" stops.

According to Cook, the Canadian fishing captain, Nick Brown, informed the U.S. vessel that "he was a Canadian vessel legally fishing in Canadian waters".

According to Cohen, those seeking to cross the Canada-U.S. border illegally are usually pushing north. The island itself is of little value; however, the surrounding waters are home to an increasingly valuable lobster catch.

John Drouin, a lobsterman from Cutler and chairman of the Lobster Zone A Council, said Border Patrol has been cruising along the Down East coast from Cutler to Jonesport. He said he was "not surprised to see the Americans trying to push people around", describing them as "typical American bullies".

Visitors head to Machias Seal Island on in June 2016. "The last thing Canada wants is for Donald Trump to seize on this as an example of USA sovereignty being challenged", Kelly explained. "It wasn't just in the gray zone".

The island is located between the Canadian province of New Brunswick and the U.S. state of Maine. Their counterparts in Canada mostly stayed off in the distance, setting cages during the winter around the coast of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland.

Twenty-one Canadian vessels and an unknown number of American boats have been questioned by Border Patrol since October 2017 with no immigration arrests, according to Stephanie Malin, a Customs and Border Protection spokeswoman.

Cook, in fact, said border agents have stopped at least 10 fishing boats over the past two weeks.

The possibility of illegal immigrants entering the USA from Canada via the Bay of Fundy is remote, according to a local immigration lawyer.

Like this: