EMERSON, MAN. — Municipal officials in Emerson, Man. are calling for help after around two dozen refugees illegally crossed the Canada-U.S. border on the weekend.
The Reeve of Emerson-Franklin, Greg Janzen, said around 20 refugees were caught crossing into the border town by foot Saturday morning.
“This isn’t normal anymore. In the last nine months this has not been normal,” Janzen said.
Janzen said the town had to open their doors to the refugees while they were being processed Saturday.
They stayed at the town’s community complex for around 12 hours, until border officials could properly deal with the situation, said Janzen.
“This is the first time that I know, that we’ve had that many people come in one day.”
Janzen said residents are growing concerned for their safety.
“Everybody is locking their doors now.”
According to one town councillor, the refugees are entering through the old abandoned border crossing to Noyes, Min.
Councillor Doug Johnston said that old crossing backs up into the heart of Emerson.
“When that happens it creates security issues. Now they’re in town, if they get lost, they’re going to go to households,” Johnston said.
Also serving as a volunteer firefighter, Johnston said the town normally gets up to two medical calls a year regarding refugees illegally entering the country.
Out of the 100 calls firefighters received in the past 12 months, more than 20 per cent have been related to refugees.
“When your pager goes off, you know what it’s for.”
A town council meeting has been set up for later this week. Officials said they hope they can get more support from police to address the problem, before it gets worse.
“Are we going to get more? The numbers show we’re going to get more every week,” Janzen said.