Omer Malik knew he had to slip into Canada to avoid President Trump’s crackdown on undocumented immigrants.
But the 19-year-old native of Afghanistan needed a friend to help guide him. He found that friend in a 66-year-old former French teacher, one of a number of people here in the Adirondack region who believe it’s their duty to comfort and support those fleeing Trump’s vision for America.
Omer Malik, 19, takes a last look back toward the United States before crossing illegally into Canada at the end of Roxham Road in Champlain, N.Y., on July 18. (Andre Malerba for The Washington Post)
As Malik dragged his suitcase toward the Canadian border, Janet McFetridge gave him two bags of potato chips, a knit hat and — what she considers her most important gift — a hug. Then she yelled across the thicket of cattails and flowering grasses that separated them from Quebec.
“Hello,” she called, alerting a Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer that Malik was about to illegally cross the border to claim asylum. “We got someone here.”