Wednesday, 14 November, 2018

Canada probing US immigration patrols near northern border

Canada probing US immigration patrols near northern border Canada probing US immigration patrols near northern border
Elijah Vega | 07 July, 2018, 16:08

-Canada border on June 3, 2013 in Buffalo, New York. "Canadian fishermen are being harassed by U.S. Border Patrol".

The reports have thrust a longstanding territorial dispute between the two countries into the spotlight; since the late 1700s tensions have simmered over a pair of tiny, treeless islands that sit between ME and the Canadian province of New Brunswick.

In a June 24 incident, a U.S. border patrol that had been launched from ME "attempted to stop" a Canadian fishing vessel in Canadian waters, Laurence Cook, chairman of the Grand Manan Fishermen's Association, said on Facebook.

On 4 July, the Grand Manan Fishermen's Association released a statement saying that both Americans and Canadians have jointly fished the 165 sq km (63 sq mile) area surrounding the island for years and have a "respectful and cordial" relationship.

To get to the grey zone, fishermen in the United States depart from a port like Cutler, and those in Canada take off from Grand Manan Island in New Brunswick. Fishermen from both countries compete with each another in the lobster-rich waters.

Babcock said the incidents occurred on June 24 and June 25 near Machias Seal Island.

"Typical American bullies", said Cook, who said he was "not surprised to see the Americans trying to push people around".

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The decision to enforce American immigration rules in the area effectively denies the strong Canadian claim to the islands and waters. They're also doing so on the water.

Global Affairs Canada spokesman John Babcock said in a statement that the incidents occurred in Canadian waters, and the Canadian government is working with the American agencies involved. "Canada's sovereignty over the Machias Seal Island and the surrounding waters is longstanding and has a strong foundation in worldwide law", said a spokesperson for Global Affairs Canada. The agency's authority extends to the borders of the USA, including the area around Machias Seal Island claimed by the US and Canada, she added.

The island's nationality has been disputed for roughly 200 years, as a series of treaties between the US and the United Kingdom, which ruled over Canadian lands before they gained independence in 1867, never addressed which country it belong to.

CBP added that it doesn't board Canadian boats - instead, it "only conducts interviews as a vessel runs parallel to it, bow to stern". "Canadian fishermen are being harassed by USA border patrol".

Laurence Cook, chairman of the Grand Manan Fishermen's Association wrote on Facebook that the USA officials claimed they were "looking for illegal immigrants" in the vicinity of Machias Seal Island, according to the CBC report.

According to Cook, the Canadian fishing captain, Nick Brown, informed the United States vessel that "he was a Canadian vessel legally fishing in Canadian waters". "It's quite disturbing when you have fishermen on the water, doing their job, providing for their families ... and they're being harassed". The island's only residents, other than numerous seabirds such as puffins, are lighthouse keepers, who are employed by the Canadian Coast Guard.

Kelly has long argued that the two countries should come together to resolve the dispute, rather than allowing it to fester and flare up now and again. "If we had a single boundary line and weren't intermingling, it would be a lot simpler", he said. "Now with Trump as president and some of the kinds of xenophobic and racist arguments that he's presented around immigration, and some of the ways that he's attacked Canada and our prime minister, I think there's more of an anti-Americanism that's starting to bubble up".

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