‘The Daily Show’ spoofs refugee exits to Canada

CHAMPLAIN — The North Country’s refugee crisis was put under the national spotlight recently when “The Daily Show” came to town.

A segment of the May 11 episode of the Comedy Central show focused on the influx of people illegally crossing the Canadian border from the United States with the hopes of finding a better life.

“America’s the country that people sneak into,” Daily Show reporter Desi Lydic said in the episode, mocking the idea that people would choose our neighbor to the north over the United States.

But according to the show, 70 to 80 refugees cross every day.

They cross illegally, but a loophole in the Canada-U.S. Safe Country Agreement allows them to stay and get their cases heard if they enter the country somewhere other than at an official port – such as the much used Roxham Road location in Champlain.

“Breaking up”

The show cited the main cause of the migratory trend being when President Trump revoked temporary protection status for immigrants from nations like Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Haiti, as well as the general anti-immigration stance of the administration as a whole.

Lydic’s findings supported this idea.

“America is a great country,” said Armstrong, a Nigerian asylum seeker interviewed in the episode. “But with the way thing are right now, we need a better life for ourselves.”

The situation on the ground is not the lighthearted image portrayed by the show, as the refugees arrive in the area only with what they can stuff in large suitcases, sometimes carrying children and pushing babies in strollers.

And in the Canadian province of Quebec, protests have been led by far-right groups that don’t want immigrants allowed in.

However, the segment ended by continuing a comedic take on the issue, with Lydic reaching the realization that Armstrong and his fellow refugees weren’t just going to Canada, but were “breaking up” with America.

“Any chance we could have a do-over?” Lydic called from the far end of Roxham Road as police officers met refugees on the Canadian side. “What if Oprah were president?”