New video shows illegal border crossers entering Manitoba
Published Monday, March 20, 2017 7:09PM CST
CTV News has obtained new video of people illegally crossing the U.S.-Canada border into Emerson -- 29 people in different groups walked into Manitoba between Saturday and Monday, the largest weekend crossing in 2017.
People make their way to Manitoba following train tracks and on roads heading north from Minnesota and North Dakota.
The new footage shows adults and a child arriving on foot in Emerson where they are taken into RCMP custody.
Crossing the border this way is illegal, but it’s also a journey many say isn't a choice.
"We don't know actually what will happen. We were really scared at that time,” said Subir Barman, who illegally crossed the border earlier this month.
The 40-year-old engineer is part of the Hindu minority in his home-country of Bangladesh.
Barman said it took him three hours to make the trip on foot in freezing temperatures. Even with GPS, he lost his way.
Numbers spike in March
At the end of February, 143 illegally crossed the border near Emerson, according to RCMP.
The numbers since then have spiked. Close to 300 people have crossed the border since the start of the year.
The local government said RCMP officers on patrol have kept border crossers out of Emerson, but with the spring melt on the horizon, flooded fields could be a new danger.
“We see the numbers climbing and I don't think that is going to slow down too soon,” said Doug Johnston, councillor with the Municipality of Emerson-Franklin.
Strain on Salvation Army
The Salvation Army has housed 17 families since Feb. 18, 2017. At that time, it agreed to take in 30 asylum seekers.
Some nights, as many as 90 asylum seekers have slept at the shelter. This weekend, it housed three families here with four children.
The growing number of asylum seekers is putting on a strain on the Salvation Army. It has spent $100,000 to help people.
"We are all concerned there are more people coming. How are we going to house them? How are we going to accommodate them?" said Maj. Rob Kerr.
For Subir Barman, the help means everything. Being allowed to stay in Canada is his only hope.
"From my side, I have no way to stay anywhere. If Trump government deports us, there will be more problem," he said.