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Sad! Refugees crosses from US to Canada on foot despite cold

Posted: 08 February, 2017 at 12:00 pm
Sad! Refugees crosses from US to Canada on foot despite cold
Sad! Refugees Crosses From US To Canada On Foot Despite Cold Photo 1

According to reports, A growing number of asylum seekers are braving freezing cold temperatures to walk into Canadafrom the US, driven by fears of what Donald Trump's presidency will mean for refugees, advocates say.

Last week, amid the chaos and uncertainty triggered by Trump's travel ban,one agency dedicated to resettling refugees and immigrants opened an unprecedented 10 refugee claims in one day. Eight of the claimants had walked into Canada in order to avoid detection by border officials.

On Tuesday, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police said another 22 people had walked across the border and into Canada over the weekend; 19 of them on Saturday and three on Sunday.

“They're not crossing at the actual point where there's an immigration and customs offices,” said Rita Chahal of the Manitoba Interfaith Immigration Council. “They're walking through prairie fields with lots and lots of deep snow. In Europe we're seeing people in boats; now just imagine a prairie flatland and snow for miles and miles.”

A 2004 pact between Canada and the US, known as the Safe Third Country Agreement, forces most migrants to apply for asylum in the first country in which they arrive. As a result, refugee advocates say they've seen a spike in asylum seekers from the US taking longer, riskier routes to cross the border into Canada and file claims inland, where the agreement does not apply.

More than 7,000 refugee applicants entered Canada by land in 2016, up 63% from the previous year, according to the Canada Border Services Agency. Another 2,000 are believed to have entered irregularly during the same time period, according to figures from Reuters.

The risks being taken by these asylum seekers were laid bare on Christmas eve, when two refugee claimants, Seidu Mohammed and Razak Iyal, were found trekking through waist-high snow in Manitoba. Their journey into Canada had started in North Dakota with a C$400 cab ride that dropped them within sight of the border.

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