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Salvation Army running out of space for asylum seekers crossing Emerson border

Salvation Army running out of space for asylum seekers crossing Emerson border

WINNIPEG — Empty rooms and beds are running low at the Salvation Army Booth Centre, as more asylum seekers make their way from the United States into Manitoba.

In less than a month, the Booth Centre has taken in 55 new people, who have illegally crossed the border in Emerson, Manitoba.

“We are starting to feel a bit of pressure. The groups that are coming, there’s men, there’s women, there’s married couples, there’s families,” Major Rob Kerr, with the Salvation Army said.

The Booth Centre agreed to start accepting asylum seekers after Welcome Place, an organization to support refugees and immigrants, announced they were at capacity.

RELATED: More asylum seekers make the trek from the US in to Manitoba Saturday morning

The new arrivals are divided between men, women and families at the Booth Centre. Right now almost every room in the men’s area of the building is filled with two people.

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“We are looking at what resources we have to make it more manageable, how we can make this work going forward because we’re quite certain there’s more people coming,” Kerr said.

A lounge area is available for the newly arrived asylum seekers to relax.
A lounge area is available for the newly arrived asylum seekers to relax. Shelden Rogers/Global News

On average, the hearing process to receive refugee status can last around three months.

Abdulrahman Mohamed illegally crossed the border in Emerson last Sunday. He is originally from Kenya and is staying at the Salvation Army until his hearing in April.

“For me, I just want to live, how hard is that? It’s a simple thing,” Mohamed said.

With nothing but the backpack he carried across a frozen field a week ago, Mohamed said he is thankful for the Salvation Army. As he waits for his hearing, he said he is using his time to bring his story to light, hoping it will make a difference.

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“I wish that someone could follow us, through the hassle, through the travel that we went through to get here, I believe we would get residency as soon as we apply for asylum,” Mohamed said.

Town officials in Emerson confirmed Sunday morning that another group of asylum seekers crossed the border illegally overnight.

RELATED: Town officials say another group of asylum seekers crossed in to Emerson, Manitoba Sunday

The Salvation Army said they will be looking at all of their options to try and welcome as many people as possible.

“We are going to do everything we can to make sure we have a place for them, and anyone who is coming to the Salvation Army,” Kerr said.