Sunday November 12, 2017

At the Peace Bridge, there is both security and welcome for refugees

This year, thousands of would-be refugees crossed the Canadian border, hoping to be allowed to stay. Fort Erie is the site of a refugee program that's unique in Canada. It pairs Canada Border Services with a special kind of caregiving.

This year, thousands of would-be refugees crossed the Canadian border, hoping to be allowed to stay. Fort Erie is the site of a refugee program that's unique in Canada. It pairs Canada Border Services with a special kind of caregiving.

Listen 31:44

This year, they came across frozen winter plains in Manitoba. Across hot grassy fields in Quebec.  

In all kinds of weather, they arrived at airports in big cities across the country. 

In their thousands, the would-be refugees came, in search of a place where they could stop running, be safe, maybe even call home. 

The lucky ones, the sponsored refugees, were greeted by private support groups and even prime ministers. They were the headline catchers.

But quietly and steadily, almost under the radar, small groups of refugees have also been making their way across the Peace Bridge — the bridge that spans the Niagara River between Buffalo and the small community of Fort Erie, Ontario.

In Fort Erie, it has been the "year of the refugee" for a very long time — centuries, in fact. 

So, in a way it's not surprising that Fort Erie is now the site of a refugee program that's unique in Canada — a program that seeks to combine security and welcome, that pairs Canada Border Services with a special kind of caregiving.

Here's Alisa Siegel's documentary, "At the Bridge."

Click 'listen' above to hear the documentary.