Thousands of United States citizens have sneaked over the border into Quebec by stowing away in boxes on UPS trucks. They are looking for better paying jobs and are demanding free education, health care, housing, and food stamps from the Canadian government.
Dennis Jones, originally from Yazoo City, Mississippi, said he came to Canada "for my family." He came in 2003 in a cardboard box marked "live poultry" to work in construction.
In an interview Saturday, Jones said, "In Mississippi, none of the contractors will even pay minimum wage anymore." He found a free apartment owned by a church and sent most of his paycheck home, saving what he didn't spend on food. By 2005, he was able to bring his wife and her four kids from boyfriends she had while he was gone.
They now all live in the free housing, but his wife is having a difficult fifth pregnancy and must be under a doctor's care. They are petitioning the Canadian government to get her the care she needs along with that of other US citizens who have come into Canada in shipping boxes. The youngest child is also suffering from an early form of emphysema brought on by breathing secondhand cigarette smoke and having whooping cough and diptheria as an infant (She received no immunizations since she was brought into Canada at the age of three weeks, before immunization).
Mr and Mrs Jones now realize their new baby will get immunizations since he/she will be a Canadian citizen, but they also expect the Canadian government to supply the the rest of the family with free health care and education since Mr. Jones is working in the country.
The oldest child, who is eight, has begun a fund raising campaign at the school she attends to allow her to have all English-speaking teachers (All her teachers speak French in class). She has no intention of learning French, since that might infringe on the expression of her US culture. She has already raised 2400 US dollars to purchase shipping boxes for her family's friends in the US to come to Quebec.
The church who supplies the Jones' free housing is asking them to vacate after the baby is born so they can give it to another family in need. The Jones hope the Canadian government will provide immediate citizenship and/or free housing for illegal immigrants before that happens. Mr.Jones is so sure of it, he has no other plans for the well-being of his family. "No country wants a front-page newspaper picture of an immigrant family with babies and children thrown out on the sidewalk. We'll get free housing, no question."
The community in which the Jones live has become known as Box City, after the way most of them came to the country. It is distinctly US in culture, with signs in English and none in French. In fact, if one speaks French in Box City,no one will listen.