'Pretty steady' flow of people illegally crossing border: Reeve
Published Saturday, March 18, 2017 11:15AM CST
Last Updated Saturday, March 18, 2017 6:17PM CST
More asylum seekers, including families with young children, continued to cross the border near Emerson in recent days.
Reeve Greg Janzen said 11 people illegally crossed near Emerson Friday in different groups.
Saturday, he said the crossings appear to be happening on a more regular, almost daily basis.
“They’re coming pretty steady,” he said.
Frank Suderman runs the Maple Leaf Motel in Emerson. He said around midnight Saturday he found a family of three from Honduras huddled in the hotel. Suderman said he let the man, woman and little boy warm up before going to the Canada Border Services Agency for processing.
Suderman said a family who travelled from Denver and illegally crossed the border Thursday night paid for a room at his hotel Thursday night after being processed at the CBSA. He said the man, woman and little girl were picked up and made their way to Welcome Place in Winnipeg.
Refugee claimants and detention
News of families crossing the border comes as the Canada Border Services Agency confirms to CTV News asylum seekers have been detained in Manitoba.
“Yes, the CBSA has detained refugee claimants in Manitoba in 2017,” said Luke Reimer, CBSA Communications Officer, in an email to CTV News.
Reimer said in January, eight individuals were detained. In February, nine individuals were detained.
Still, it’s not clear exactly why people may end up in correctional facilities.
“Detention is a last resort and officers must always consider alternatives. The CBSA has the authority to detain a foreign national, in accordance with the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, for the following reasons: a) unlikely to appear for removal or for a proceeding; b) danger to the public; c) identity,” said Reimer.
“Our systems do not track detainees by how they were referred to us or by refugee claimants. Making a refugee claim is not a reason for detention,” Reimer said.
According to numbers provided by the CBSA, 60 individuals were detained in 2016; 67 in 2015; and 172 in 2014.
Reimer noted the system counts carry-overs from the previous time period, and there are several reasons why a person can held.
He said all detentions are reviewed after 48 hours, 7 days, and then every 30 days by the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada.
Changing profile of border crossers
As of Wednesday, about 240 people had illegally crossed the U.S.-Canada border near Emerson since the start of the year.
Reeve Greg Janzen said the profile of people entering the province appeared to be changing.
"What we know now is that they are coming from almost all over the world. People from Central America, I believe Colombia, Nicaragua, or Guatemala," said Janzen.
The Salvation Army has said most people at the shelter are from African countries, but it has also housed people who made the cross border trek and are from South Asia and Iraq.
Janzen said with people crossing around Emerson almost daily, he wants to see more support on the ground assisting the RCMP.
"Our fire department and the RCMP, the number they do have isn't enough to manage the border. I think our fire department was out three to four times helping search for people, so that means the RCMP don't have enough man power," said Janzen.
He said local fire fighters want to continue helping along the border, but more planning to deal with the situation is needed.