“This year, as migrant families from Latin America were separated at the U.S. southern border, a more nuanced reality has been playing out on the northern frontier with Canada. Here, dozens of Iranian families have reunited at the Haskell library. Drawn by word-of-mouth and a smattering of social media posts, they have come to the geopolitical gray zone at the rural frontier library, located at once in Derby Line, Vermont, and Stanstead, Quebec.
The Iranian families have undertaken fraught, costly journeys for the chance of a few hours together on the library’s grounds. Although several Iranians said they hadn’t faced any obstacles from immigration authorities, others said U.S. border officers have at times detained them for several hours, tried to bar them from entering the library, told them they shouldn’t be visiting each other there or said they should limit their visits to just a few minutes. American and Canadian officials have threatened to shut the library over the visits, one library staff member said.
“This is a neutral area, but the U.S. government doesn’t accept this situation, and they put a lot of pressure on us,” said Sina Dadsetan, an Iranian living in Canada who traveled to the library to see his sister the same day Estahbanati saw her family.”
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