Canada Investigating Reports U.S. Border Patrol Was Looking for Undocumented Immigrants in Disputed Waters

Mexico isn’t the only neighbor to the U.S. that has complaints about the Trump administration. NBC News is reporting that the Canadian government is looking into allegations that the U.S. Border Patrol has been searching for undocumented immigrants in disputed waters off the coast of Maine.

In a Facebook post, Laurence Cook—a member of Grand Manan Fishermen's Association—alleged that in a June 24 boat check, U.S. Border Patrol agents said they were “looking for illegal immigrants.” The area in question is just off Machias Seal Island.

Cook was indignant over the search, posting “typical American bullies.”

In an e-mail to NBC News, Amy Mills—a spokesperson for Global Affairs Canada—said that it is investigating the matter. Mills told NBC, “Canada continues to investigate these incidents that occurred in Canadian waters, including through engaging with U.S. agencies involved in the matter. Canada’s sovereignty over the Machias Seal Island and the surrounding waters is longstanding and has a strong foundation in international law. 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.”

Cook’s complaints come at a time when relations between Canada and the Trump Administration have become increasingly strained. When the Trump administration recently announced tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau responded that tariffs marked a negative “turning point” in U.S./Canadian relations. And on June 30, Canada announced that there would be billions of dollars in retaliatory tariffs from Canada against the U.S.

Lawrence Herman, a former Canadian diplomat who now practices international trade law, has been warning that a trade war between the U.S. and Canada could have devastating consequences for both countries. Writing in the Globe and Mail on May 31, Herman asserted that Trump’s tariffs “will have an immediate negative impact on Canadian steel and aluminum industries, forcing production cutbacks and threatening thousands of Canadian jobs. Added to this is Mr. Trump’s threat to target Canadian auto imports down the road.”

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