An asylum seeker charged with assaulting a Canada Border Services guard is speaking out in the hopes of clearing his name.

Ahmed Aden Ali, 37, crossed the border on foot near Emerson, Man. a month ago.

Ali faces serious legal hurdles, and not just because he’s applying for refugee status to stay in Canada. Ali also faces criminal charges following an incident at the Canada Border Services Agency in Emerson.

"I started knocking on the door. I kind of got mad. They looked at my pockets. I had everything in my pockets. They didn't even search. I had lighter there. There was sprinkler. I just put the lighter like this,” Ali said, as he motioned upwards with his hand.

RCMP said water was sprayed inside the cell and the fire sprinkler was damaged.

Ali was charged with uttering threats, mischief, and assaulting an officer.

“The door was locked. How could I touch her, you know? I'm pretty sure they got cameras over there. I'm pretty sure didn’t touch. I cussed her out,” Ali said. “I was mad.”

Ali lived in the United States since 1999.

He said he acted out because he was scared and paranoid of being sent back to Somalia.

“This is an isolated incident. This is not indicative of the people who are coming across the border,” said Ali’s immigration lawyer David Davis.

Davis is working with more than 30 refugee claimants. He said while many clients have problematic pasts, it's not a reason to shy away from welcoming them.

"We are a democratic country. We’re not just going to send somebody back without due process, so he has an opportunity to prove to not only to CBSA, to all Manitobans, all Canadians,” Davis said.

Ali takes medication for anxiety and lives with post-traumatic stress disorder.

“I want to show the people I'm not the people they're taking about,” he said. “If they accept me here, I will get a job, I will go to school, I will change my life.”

CTV News reached out to the union representing border officers about safety and security on the job, but it wasn't available for comment.