(UPI) — Canada’s government is looking into reports U.S. border patrol agents are stopping and searching Canadian boats off the coast of Maine, looking for immigrants.
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.
Lawrence Book, chair of the Grand Manan Fishermen’s Association, said the agents were looking for migrants without the required documentation to enter the United States.
“Typical American bullies,” Cook wrote in a Facebook post.
The group wrote in a separate post Machias Seal Island and the surrounding area is Canadian territory.
“Canada’s sovereignty over the area is long-standing and has a strong foundation in international law,” the post said. “Our understanding is that this was part of a regular exercise being conducted along the U.S. marine border.”
U.S. officials told CBC News the agents were there to “enforce immigration laws and other violations of federal law.”
Amy Mills, a spokeswoman for Global Affairs Canada, told NBC News the organization is looking into the matter.
“Until the matter of the boundary is resolved, we will continue to take practical steps with the U.S. to ensure that the area is well managed,” she said.
The searches are part of President Donald Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy on unlawful immigration, which has been focused primarily on the U.S.-Mexico border but applies equally to the north border.
Thursday, Trump reiterated his stance for enforcing the policy.
“Congress must pass smart, fast and reasonable Immigration Laws now,” he tweeted. “Law Enforcement at the Border is doing a great job, but the laws they are forced to work with are insane.
“When people, with or without children, enter our Country, they must be told to leave without our country being forced to endure a long and costly trial. Tell the people ‘OUT,’ and they must leave, just as they would if they were standing on your front lawn.”
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