Dozens more asylum seekers — including at least one baby — who fled the United States for Canada, made their way into Manitoba early Sunday morning, CBC News has learned.
The asylum seekers are at the Emerson, Man., border right now and are waiting to be processed by agents with the Canada Border Services Agency.
Some of the refugee claimaints are expected to stay at the Salvation Army in Winnipeg after being processed at the border.
Major Robb Kerr said eight refugees stayed at the shelter Friday and he’s since been told to expect at least 20 more Sunday.
‘Desperate for sure’
Emerson-Franklin reeve Greg Janzen said he woke up to a text message this morning telling him more asylum seekers made their way into his Manitoba municipality.
“They’re desperate for sure,” Janzen said.
“At least the weather wasn’t as cold as it has been, so they picked a good night I believe,” Janzen said.
Jay Ihme, a spokesperson for the Emerson Fire Department, said fire crews — who handle medical calls — were dispatched to the Emerson port of entry around 6:30 a.m. to help a woman who had fallen on the ice.
The woman was from Africa and was part of the group of asylum seekers — the latest who’ve made their way into Manitoba.
“We had a bit of a language problem,” Ihme said.
Ihme said he was sleeping when he got paged to attend to this morning’s call.
He said he wasn’t fazed by the call — there have been so many in recent months, it’s become commonplace.
No response from Ottawa, province
Janzen said he’s still yet to receive a response from Ottawa or the provincial government about what it plans to do to help address the influx of refugee claimants coming into Emerson.
“You need more boots on the ground, more RCMP, more border security people — because they don’t have that huge amount of people, more resources to help out.”
The reeve said he has information he wants to pass on to the two levels of government, but so far neither have responded to him.
“This is growing rapidly as far as I’m concerned with all these people coming across, and I don’t think the numbers will go down,” Janzen said.
As CBC News revealed in January, hundreds of asylum seekers walked into Canada near the Emerson border to make a refugee claim in 2016 alone.
The issue came into the spotlight and attracted international media attention after two Ghanaian men suffered frostbite during the walk into Manitoba from the U.S. on Christmas Eve.
The two men were so badly hurt they required amputation, but both said the trek was worth it.
Since the story of the Ghanaian men became public, several groups of other asylum seekers have made their way into Manitoba from the U.S. Many of the refugee claimants are from Somalia and come from Minneapolis.