Manitoba Justice confirmed to Global News that eight people have been detained by Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) under an immigration hold.
The justice department said as of March 9, there were a total of 8 immigration holds in custody in Manitoba correctional facilities.
According to CBSA, Canada’s immigration law permits the agency to detain permanent residents and foreign nationals under certain conditions.
An immigration hold could result from the agency having reason to believe that the person is inadmissible on grounds of security, violating human or international rights, or criminal involvement. CBSA can also detain someone if they feel they’re a danger to the public, unlikely to appear for an immigration proceeding, or unable to satisfy the officer of their identity.
One person is in the Winnipeg Remand Centre, three people are in Milner Ridge, two are being held in Brandon Correctional Centre, and 2 in Headingley.
“Manitoba Corrections is holding these individuals on the strength of an order of detention from the CBSA,” the statement from Manitoba Justice said.
As far as whether the immigration hold refers to refugees or not, the justice department said it cannot confirm this.
Manitoba, along with BC and Quebec, have seen an influx of asylum seekers crossing the border by foot. As far as whether the immigration hold refers to refugees or not, the justice department said it cannot confirm this.
The office of Ralph Goodale, Federal Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, also declined commenting on whether or not those in immigration detention in Manitoba are asylum seekers.
A spokesperson from the ministers office said this was due to privacy concerns.
“Given the low numbers, it would potentially reveal too much about that group,” the spokesperson said.
When Global News told the minister’s office that revealing whether the detainees were asylum seekers or not would not reveal their identities, due to over 200 crossing in to Manitoba, the office still declined to comment further on whether the detainees were part of the recent influx of asylum seekers.
The office did offer assurances to Manitobans and Canadians that it is not allowing anyone coming across the border to get what they called a ‘free ticket to Canada.’
“Their records are examined for any immigration, criminal or terrorist flags against both Canadian and international databases. Those who cannot be identified, are a flight risk, or present a danger to the public can be detained,” the ministers spokesperson said.