February 11, 2017 1:12 pm
Updated: February 12, 2017 1:38 pm

At least 21 asylum seekers crossed into Manitoba early Saturday: RCMP

WATCH ABOVE: Asylum seekers continue to cross into Canada through the Manitoba-US border. Zahra Premji reports.

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At least 21 refugees crossed the U.S. border into Emerson, Man. early Saturday morning, according to RCMP.

Emerson-Franklin Reeve Greg Janzen told Global News one group came across at around 3 a.m. while the rest followed at around 6 a.m. Saturday.

Some Emerson residents awoke to knocking on their doors and windows from the refugees who had crossed the border, Janzen said.

WATCH: Manitoba sees surge in refugees crossing border

Janzen said the refugees are being held and processed at the Emerson Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) location.

“If they could come up to the port of entry and do their paper work rather than coming in at two, three or four o’clock in the morning and breaking the law then the towns people wouldn’t be inundated with people knocking on their doors,” Janzen said.

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The crossings come just two days after the small town of less than 700 people held an emergency meeting with members of the CBSA and RCMP to discuss concerns over the recent surge of refugees crossing the border.

Manitoba RCMP confirmed they intercepted 21 refugee claimants early Saturday morning but will release an updated count on Sunday.

READ MORE: Toronto doctor helps refugees fleeing U.S. for asylum in Canada

Janzen requested the meeting after 22 people crossed the border last weekend.

Some from that group had to be housed in a makeshift emergency centre in Emerson until they could be processed by the CBSA.

In Quebec, a Syrian family of three was stopped by the RCMP Saturday morning as they illegally crossed the border from the U.S. to apply for refugee status.

RCMP said the number of illegal crossings into the country has increased recently, with the most significant increase being seen in Quebec.

*With files from Andrew Russell

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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