More than a dozen asylum seekers, including children, crossed into Emerson, Man., from the United States during a treacherous winter storm Wednesday.
The town’s reeve, Greg Janzen said two asylum seekers tried crossing over Tuesday evening around 8:30 p.m. Seventeen others illegally walked over the border Wednesday morning around 7:30 a.m., he added.
“I cannot believe it,” Janzen said.
“We had this in a blizzard, of all things it was probably one of the windiest blizzards we’ve had all winter…. and they come across where it’s literally zero visibility.”
One of the asylum seekers had a broken arm, he said. Janzen is not sure if there were any other injuries.
The group of people are currently at the Canadian Border Service Agency (CBSA).
Parts of Manitoba were hit with a vicious winter storm this week, closing multiple highways and schools.
On Wednesday morning, southern Manitoba was under a blowing snow advisory, causing poor visibility. It felt like -26 C with the wind chill in Emerson.
Why are they crossing in what looks like the middle of nowhere?
Canada and the U.S. signed an agreement 15 years ago effectively forcing refugee claimants to request protection in the first safe country they land. The agreement prevents claimants who were refused in one country from hopping the border to try in the other, or from claiming in both.
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The agreement, called the Safe Third Country Agreement, applies only to refugee claimants trying to get into Canada from the U.S. at land border crossings, by train and at airports.
U.S. President Donald Trump made clear his administration’s feelings toward immigrants and refugees when he signed an executive order temporarily banning travel from six predominantly Muslim countries and pausing the refugee system.
With files from Amy Minsky