EMERSON, MB. — A group of asylum seekers, making their way from the United States crossed the border into Emerson last night, adding to a growing number in the past two months.
Manitoba RCMP said 22 people were intercepted overnight illegally crossing the Emerson border.
“We are getting a little frustrated,” Reeve of Emerson-Franklin Greg Janzen said.
Janzen said there’s only so much that officials can do and he really wants the Federal Government to intervene with more resources to help the border-town with the influx of asylum seekers making their way through.
Before the weekend, 77 asylum seekers had crossed the Emerson border illegally in 2017. Now with the total at 99, Janzen said they town needs help.
“This is becoming chaotic here already. I know the residents would like to l back to their normal lives and not have all these people coming in through town. And that’s the response I want to get from Ottawa.”
Ralph Goodale, Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Minister responded to Global News on the latest influx of asylum seekers to cross Sunday.
“The Canada Border Service Agency is experienced in managing changing volumes, and the current increase along the southern border is below previous fluctuations,” Goodale said in a statement.
However, the Federal Government does not have updated numbers just for Emerson.
Jay Ihme with the Emerson Fire Department said crews were called at 6:35 a.m. to assist a woman who had fallen on the ice as she walked in to Canada from the US. Ihme said he believes the woman was taken to Morris in an ambulance to be assessed. CBSA confirmed to Global News that she was eventually brought back to the border to be processed after she was assessed.
Ihme said these calls are becoming a lot more regular than his team of volunteer firefighters have the capacity to handle for much longer.
“When it comes to the medical treatment now we’re down to just 4 or 5 of us,” Ihme said.
He said officials are starting to get worn down with constant interruptions to their regular calls, but they don’t want to stop helping when they’re called on.
“It’s just getting a little hard on the people with the interrupted sleep,” Ihme said
After being processed by CBSA, asylum seekers are brought to Winnipeg to Salvation Army.
Officials at Salvation Army told Global News they took in eight people on Friday, and expect to host at least another 20 people from Sunday morning’s arrival.
“We’ve been told that we could be expecting up to 20 people who will arrive today that will be with us tonight,” Major Kerr with Salvation Army said.
Major Kerr also said they will not turn away anyone for now, and will create more space as needed.
“We’re able to manage it. We have various spaces we can use,” Major Kerr said.