UN refugee agency checks on asylum seekers in Emerson
Emerson-Franklin reeve keeps close eye on situation in Quebec, where hundreds cross daily
The United Nations refugee agency has sent a representative to Manitoba to check how asylum seekers are being processed near the border with the U.S.
- RCMP says it has intercepted 3,800 asylum seekers crossing into Quebec since Aug. 1
- Number of refugees crossing into Manitoba declines
Jean-Nicolas Beuze of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees was in Emerson getting a tour of the area from Manitoba Mounties on Thursday morning. The visit comes as hundreds of asylum seekers continue to make their way into Quebec daily.
Trend 'difficult to predict'
As of Thursday morning, there were 1,000 people near the Quebec border waiting to be processed. The United Nations isn't sure whether numbers in Manitoba could pick up the way they have in Quebec.
"We don't know," said Beuze. "We need to keep a watch on what's happening here. It's very difficult to predict."
Hundreds have walked through Manitoba so far this year but new numbers released Thursday don't indicate a rise like what's happening in Quebec.
Federal numbers show in the month of July, 105 people made a claim for asylum in the province, down from a high in March, when 195 people made asylum claims.
Beuze said the point of the trip is to see how asylum seekers are being treated by authorities and to get a sense of why they are arriving in the border town. It's his first visit to Manitoba since the number of asylum seekers walking over the border increased last year.
Emerson-Franklin Reeve Greg Janzen is keeping a close eye on the situation in Quebec and is worried for his town.
"I just hope that, because they [Quebec] are so full, they don't come here," said Janzen.
Janzen said just a few weeks ago, a farmer found a pair of Nike shoes in his corn field, and there's still concern an asylum seeker may be found dead in a field.
"We'll see when the corn harvest comes if there's anyone in there."
The body of Mavis Otuteye was found in Minnesota, near the border, in May. The Ghanaian woman was trying to get to Toronto to see her newborn granddaughter; she'd been living in the U.S. on an expired visitor's visa.
- Woman found dead near border was en route to Canada to see newborn granddaughter
- Refugee who lost fingers to frostbite wins bid to stay in Canada
Janzen and officials in across the border in Kittson County, Minn., have written a letter about their concerns that they plan to send to U.S. President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
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