Refugees asking for asylum in Canada argue the US is no longer safe

Resty was desperate. She had fled Uganda and was in Pittsburgh when her toddler, Maria, got sick. They didn’t have insurance, and Resty felt hopeless. Then, while watching the news, she realized there was another option.

“I was seeing it on the news and internet,” says Resty. “And then I was like, ‘If those people can make it to Canada, I can too.’”

PRI is withholding Resty’s last name so she can speak without fear of affecting her chances at asylum.

Like many migrants, Resty gleaned the information she needed from news reports. They showed people crossing from the US into Canada, most often in Quebec, to avoid the official border crossings. That way they aren’t turned away under the Safe Third Country Agreement between Canada and the US, which requires would-be refugees to apply for asylum in the country where they first arrive.

So Resty and her daughter took a took a cab, then a bus, to upstate New York, and walked across the border. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police placed them in a shelter. Eventually she and Maria were moved to a shelter in Montreal, where, Resty says, everyone was really nice. But everyone speaks French in that province, and Resty doesn’t.

“I couldn’t understand anything!” she remembers, laughing.

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