Border separates man in St. Lawrence County from wife, kids in Canada

WWNY Border separates man in St. Lawrence County from wife, kids in Canada

LISBON, N.Y. (WWNY) - A family separated by the border between the U.S. and Canada will have to wait at least another month before they can be reunited.

That’s because the two countries extended restrictions for non-essential travel until June 21.

That comes as painful news for a St. Lawrence County man, whose wife and children are in Ontario.

David Teele is working his dairy farm in Lisbon.

His wife, Lyne Beauchamp, is running her business and tending to their 2 children in Ottawa.

With the border closed to non-essential travel, late March was the last time they were able to be together.

"I've tried to cross the border twice just to see what the border would say to me and each time I was shot down and they told me if I was to try again I'd be denied entry for a whole year. And on the way out, he said, 'I'll be watching you on the camera. Don't try to come in,'" said Teele.

Before the border closed, Teele and Beauchamp would travel back and forth, seeing each other 4 to 5 times a week.

"We were together most of the time," said Teele.

Now, their only time together is via internet connection.

"The kids see me, but they don't get to touch me or anything and it's sad," he said.

Their children are a boy, age 4, and a baby girl, 7 months.

"He gets to see her growing and she's crawling now, but it's not the same thing as him being able to hold the baby and some days are very, very difficult," said Beauchamp.

The couple understands why the border is closed. Why it has to separate families is a little harder to comprehend.

"I think the Canadians are scared. They think New York is terrible with the virus and we know downstate it is, but up here, I haven't even seen it," said Teele.

"It's essential to restrict the access to the border, but preventing people from seeing immediate family is very, very hard. He's missing out on all these big milestones for her and it's time we're not going to get back," said Beauchamp.

The minute the border reopens, Teele says he'll be there. Until then, the internet and explanations will have to do.

"And the boy doesn't understand why he can't see his father. His mother says that the bridge is broken," said Teele.

The Canada Border Services Agency says that for anyone to be allowed into the country, their travel must be considered “non-discretionary” and “immediate family members are not exempt from the optional or discretionary requirement.”

Copyright 2020 WWNY. All rights reserved.