July 21, 2017
The NDP Critic for Immigration and Refugees, Jenny Kwan, visited Emerson, Manitoba on Friday to get a frontline account of the increased irregular border crossings since the US travel ban was announced.
“It may not be in the headlines as much these days but border towns like Emerson are still receiving a wave of asylum seekers,” said Kwan. “People here feel ignored by the government in Ottawa and the Liberals are refusing to deal with the root cause.”
An agreement between the United States and Canada, known as the ‘Safe Third Country Agreement’ forces Canadian Officials to turn away asylum seekers from official ports of entry. Asylum seekers are thereby forced to cross in-between official ports of entry to then attempt to claim status once they’ve already arrived in Canada.
“The situation is chaotic but it doesn’t need to be,” said Kwan. “If the Liberals did the right thing and suspended the so-called Safe Third Country Agreement, asylum seekers would be able to properly appeal for status at official ports of entry, instead of risking life and limb and overloading under resourced border towns.”
Some asylum seekers have been seriously injured while making the journey and in May, a Ghanaian woman died while trying to make it over the border into Emerson. Just yesterday, Washington DC Police reported two teens from Burundi attending an academic conference, crossed into Canada.
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