Exclusive: Recent asylum seekers speak to Global News about journey to Canada

Click to play video: 'Recent asylum-seekers open up to Global News in exclusive interview'
Recent asylum-seekers open up to Global News in exclusive interview
WATCH: Since January, 104 people seeking refugee status have walked across the border into Emerson, Manitoba. One woman recently walked three hours through fields in frigid temperatures to cross into Canada. Talia Ricci has a Global News exclusive – Feb 21, 2017

WINNIPEG — Crossing the border with six other people three weeks ago, a woman who asked to be identified as Salwa, walked three hours through fields just outside of Emerson, Man., with the temperature hovering around -14 C.

Salwa is from Djibouti and her first language is French. A translator worked with Global News to speak to the woman about her experience crossing the border.

“I was very scared, and it was dark and I was worried I wasn’t going to make it to the other side because of the cold,” Salwa said.

RELATED: Why are asylum seekers crossing into Canada on foot and what are their rights?

Salwa said she paid a stranger $500 to drive her and five other asylum seekers from Minneapolis to just south of the Canadian border. They all had the same plan; to cross into Canada illegally.

Story continues below advertisement

“A few of them had their documents, and they used to work also, but with the new Donald Trump politics they are scared and they want a better life,” Salwa said.

The 29-year-old is staying in an apartment with six women who also recently crossed. People in the community are helping to pay the rent, for their food and covering all of their day-to-day expenses.

RELATED: Another 22 asylum seekers cross over in to Emerson, Manitoba Sunday morning

“We’re assembling a team. We are setting up a campaign to raise awareness for these people, apply for work permits for them,” Hussein Adam with African Communities of Manitoba Inc. said.

The local support group has been doing what they can to help the dozens of men and women who have crossed in the last two months. Adam calls the situation a crisis.

“This is not a beautiful summer where the fields are green and people are walking. This is a dire situation. People are walking to freedom,” Adam said.

RELATED: ‘This is the only way to be safe’: Former refugees react to influx of asylum seekers in Emerson, Manitoba

Salwa said she knows of others who are planning to make the same journey – looking for a new life. She said it wasn’t difficult to find a driver willing to take people to the Canadian border.

Story continues below advertisement

“Most of the people that came here that I talked to including me are educated and we are ready to get involved in society,” Salwa said.

Since January, 104 people seeking refugee status have walked across the border into Emerson. People Global News spoke to who’ve just made the journey say they expect the number of asylum seekers to increase as the weather gets warmer.

Sponsored content