What on earth is happening at Roxham Road? The “irregular border crossing” in Quebec first hit the headlines in 2017, when 18,836 people crossed there into Canada from the United States and claimed refugee status. After dropping to three to four thousand people a year during the pandemic, the number of border crossers surged to 39,171 in 2022. Currently, an average of 108 people cross at Roxham every day. They are read their rights, arrested, given medical care, and sent to hotels awaiting status hearings — all at the Canadian taxpayer’s expense.
The Immigration Department has paid $93,886,222 for “long leases” with 30 hotels in Niagara Falls, Montreal, and communities close to the Quebec border, according to a Globe and Mail access-to-information request.
The kicker? Most of these rooms sat unoccupied. According to Quebec Conservative MP Pierre Paul-Hus, the Hotel St-Bernard in Lacolle, seven minutes from the Roxham Road border crossing, is often empty. The organizer of an annual kids’ hockey tournament in Montreal told The Globe that families cannot find rooms in hotels the tournament has booked for decades because so many have been totally reserved.
Unsurprisingly, this policy is highly unpopular in Quebec. A poll released two weeks ago showed that 68 per cent of Quebecers want the border crossing closed. Quebec politicians are trading barbs: interim Liberal leader Marc Tanguay accused the Parti Québécois leader Paul St-Pierre Plamondon of “behaving like Donald Trump” for advocating its closure.