U.S. border patrol questioned fishermen on Canadian waters

‘Typical American bullies’: US border patrol ‘targets Canadian fishermen’ in disputed waters amid trade war

Canada investigating US Border Patrol agents boarding fishing ships looking for undocumented immigrants: report | TheHill

The Canadian Government is now investigating two separate occasions where US agents entered Canadian waters off the coast of New Brunswick around the island and North Rock.

A border patrol spokesperson said Thursday the agency has been conducting enforcement operations within American water boundaries for "decades", calling them a vital part of immigration and national security efforts.

Canadian fishermen say two vessels were approached and their crews questioned by border agents, in Canada's legal waters, late last month around Machias Seal Island and North Rock. He was stopped two weeks ago in Cutler Harbor and asked for his identification, and his son has been stopped and boarded about six miles offshore, Drouin said.

Global Affairs Canada told reporters it is investigating "incidents that occurred in Canadian waters". The group said it's their understanding that the recent stops are part of a "regular exercise being conducted along the US marine border", and said it looked forward to continuing a "respectful and cordial relationship" with its USA counterparts.

Laurence Cook, chair of the Grand Manan Fishermen's Association, said on Facebook that a US border patrol launch out of ME attempted to stop a Canadian fishing vessel in Canadian waters.

She said the agency did not have statistics on how many US vessels have been stopped in ME this year and the last five years and would not say how many vessels and personnel were involved in offshore Border Patrol operations or where precisely agents are patrolling.

US Customs and Border Protection confirmed that they've stopped 21 Canadian vessels off the coast of ME this year, but made no immigration arrests.

"Canada's sovereignty over the Machias Seal Island and the surrounding waters is longstanding and has a strong foundation in global law", he said in a statement.

"Obviously, we are concerned when Canadian fishers are intercepted by American authorities when they are practicing fishing activity that has existed positively and co-operatively with the Americans for a very long time", he reportedly said. They declined to specify how many of these were fishing vessels.

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"There is no threat, there's no indication of any movement of humanity from New Brunswick or Nova Scotia through the Bay of Fundy to the United States", said Lee Cohen, an immigration and refugee lawyer who has practised in Halifax for more than 30 years. Both countries have claimed sovereign jurisdiction over the island and historically American and Canadian fisherman have worked in the contested waters side by side.

The State Department did not respond to a request for comment.

A long determined neutral zone between Canadian and American fishermen has become the latest display of the rising tensions between President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

The Canadian flag flutters in the breeze by the lighthouse at Machias Seal Island.

He also said that Canadian government aircraft have rattled ME fishermen in the past by "buzzing" their boats and taking photographs.

None of those interventions resulted in any immigration arrests, she said, adding that the patrol also participated in two sea rescues.

"If the Canadians want to use the term harass, they have been harassing us for years", Drouin said.

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

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

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