Canada is investigating US Border Patrol's maritime immigration checks

Canada is investigating US Border Patrol's maritime immigration checks

Canada is investigating US Border Patrol's maritime immigration checks

The last remaining land-border dispute between Canada and the United States has come to a boil again after USA patrol vessels reportedly stopped and boarded Canadian fishing boats in the disputed waters around Machias Seal Island, a windblown outcrop between New Brunswick and Maine.

"Our understanding is that this was part of a regular exercise being conducted along the US marine border", it said, adding that it will work with the Canadian government "to ensure that our fishermen will be able to continue their fishery in a normal manner".

Laurence Cook, chairman of the lobster committee of the Grand Manan Fishermen's Association, told the Globe and Mail newspaper that in the last two weeks at least 10 Canadian vessels were stopped by border patrol around Machias Seal Island in the Gray Zone.

US Border Patrol agents have been stopping and questioning Canadian fishermen in disputed waters about unauthorized immigrants.

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

"Canada's sovereignty over the Machias Seal Island and the surrounding waters is long standing and has a strong foundation in global law", spokesman John Babcock said in an emailed statement.

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.

"Is this overkill? Absolutely".

According to Cohen, those seeking to cross the Canada-U.S. border illegally are usually pushing north.

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While the bulk of the Border Patrol's operations focus on the United States' southern border, the agency maintains a modest presence near the northern border with Canada.

US Customs and Border Protection described the island area as a "Grey Zone" on Thursday, while Canadian authorities said Canada's title to the area is clear.

Like previously stated the island is in a grey area of the border but both Canadian and American fishermen work around the island.

"I wouldn't call it unprecedented or say that the fishermen were harassed", said John Drouin, 53, a member of the Maine Lobster Advisory Council who lives in the coastal town of Cutler, about 10 miles from Machias Seal Island.

"I honestly do not know what's going on", he said, adding that a directive to patrol the area may be linked to a broader culture change with the election of U.S. President Donald Trump. The agency's authority extends to the borders of the US, including the area around Machias Seal Island claimed by the USA and Canada, she added.

Machias Seal Island is roughly 19 kilometres southwest of Grand Manan Island and 16 kilometres from the coast of Maine.

"Typical American bullies", Cook wrote in the June 25 post, asserting that the Canadian vessels were rightly fishing in Canadian water. 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.

He has argued that Canada and the US should submit the disagreement to arbitration at the world court.

"I don't think you can draw a line between some of the concerns Americans have expressed for other border crossings with a fishing zone that has existed in the Bay of Fundy that has existed positively and collaboratively for a long time", he said.

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