Canada raises asylum seekers influx with
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[June 20, 2017]
By David Ljunggren
MINNEAPOLIS (Reuters) - Canada's public
safety minister raised concerns on Monday with Minnesota's state
governor about an unauthorized influx of thousands of asylum seekers
into Canada this year.
Nearly 3,500 people have walked into Canada from the United States from
January through May, according to government data, crossing the border
through fields, forests and ditches to avoid official ports of entry
where they would be turned back under a bilateral agreement. Once on
Canadian soil, asylum seekers, many of whom are of Somali and Ghanaian
origin, are each entitled to a hearing.
While Canadians have assisted many stranded or freezing border-crossers,
some have also worried about safety, and the fairness of asylum seekers
entering Canada without permission.
"The problem has not gone away and we need to fully figure out why this
is happening and we need a full effort on both sides to make sure that
we're doing everything we possibly can do for the integrity of the
border," Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said in an interview,
after meeting with Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton.
"Because if people broadly begin to have doubts about that, then the
reaction will get to be harsher and harsher and harsher and it's in
everyone's interest here to ensure the integrity of the border," Goodale
Dayton told reporters that he and Goodale discussed ways to better
secure the border with technology and emphasized the importance of trade
to each country's economy.
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A group of migrants who said they were from Djibouti and Somalia
follow railway tracks towards the Canada-U.S. border as seen from
Emerson, Manitoba, Canada, March 27, 2017. Picture taken March 27,
2017. REUTERS/Chris Wattie/File Photo
Dayton said he would have a chance to raise the topic when he meets
with Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly next month.
Many of those walking into Manitoba come from the neighboring state
of Minnesota. The journey can be dangerous, resulting in one woman's
death and two cases of asylum seekers losing fingers to frostbite.
Although the number of border-crossers into Canada is unusually high
this year, numbers have declined two months in a row, even as
weather became milder.
"This does defy logic at the moment," Goodale said. "You would have
thought it would be easier at 30 (degrees Celsius) above than 30
(Reporting by David Ljunggren in Minneapolis, Minnesota; Writing by
Rod Nickel in Winnipeg, Manitoba; Editing by Richard Chang)
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