Some Roxham Road refugee claimants complain about detention conditions

As Canada braces for a seasonal surge in the number of refugee claimants using the illicit Roxham Road crossing south of Montreal, some of the new arrivals who are held in custody while their identities are checked are complaining about the detention conditions.  

About 2% of people who enter Canada without going through an official border point are detained, mainly for identity verifications. 

In Quebec, they're housed at a lock-up in Laval.  Because of the spike in illegal crossings, detention times are getting longer - 24 days on average, compared with 16 last year.  

One claimant tells the Journal de Montreal that in his section of the men's wing, 35 people squabble over access to the two toilets and three sinks.  He also says he sometimes foregoes a shower because of the line-up.  

He adds that it's humiliating to be paraded around in handcuffs during transit to and from meetings with immigration officials..

Other claimants complain about the quality of the food, saying one meal two weeks ago made many people sick.  

Children stay with their mothers in a separate wing of the Laval facility.  The Journal says five dozen minors were locked up last year, a practice that refugee advocates say must stop because detention can scar children for years afterward..