There is no fruit on the trees in New York in March but Jim Bittner is busy making phone calls and talking to buyers for the upcoming growing season. When he walks outside, the cool air from Lake Ontario bites at his cheeks. If the sky is clear, he might be able to see Toronto, Canada, from one of his apple orchards.
More than 2,200 miles away, rancher Dennis Moroney steps onto his porch and into the dry heat of southern Arizona. The 160 cattle he tends are in the mountains for the winter, waiting until the first green mesquite beans appear in the flat land. As he points out the boundaries of his property, “from the peak of that mountain, over the ridge, to that slope,” he can also point to a long black line dividing the landscape in the distance. It’s a small section of the border fence between the United States and Mexico.
In the news: Roma take complex route via Europe, Mexico to seek asylum in Canada
A Dodge Caravan with California licence plates and a dozen passengers zipped across the border between Vermont and Quebec in October, heading north in a southbound lane unblocked by traffic.
Border agents could only watch as the van disappeared into Quebec. But the vehicle and its occupants didn’t try to disappear.
About 30 kilometres later, they stopped in a Walmart parking lot in Magog, Que., and asked someone to call the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. When the Mounties arrived, the Roma occupants of the vehicle applied for political asylum.
“It’s as though they had it programmed into their GPS,” said Magog police spokesman Paul Tear.