Spike in the number of Niagara refugees

A growing number of refugee claimants are crossing the U.S. border into Canada illegally. The Canadian Border Services Agency says 433 people have made refugee claims at southern Ontario border crossings, including Niagara’s three bridges in the month of January.

Maria Londono is the shelter coordinator at Casa El Norte in Fort Erie. The organization runs a transitional home for refugees coming into Canada.

“There is a backlog of 3 weeks to one month. People waiting for an appointment on the other side to come here.”

This past weekend 21 people in Emerson, Manitoba were taken into custody after crossing through open farmers’s fields. In Quebec, RCMP say over 450 people have made a refugee claim at the Quebec border in January.

Many are fleeing because of U.S. President Donald Trumps crack down on illegal immigration.

“People are very very scared in the U.S. about their situations. Undocumented, waiting for residency and have chosen to leave because they had no other option for their life.” Judith Carroll, Casa El Norte.

Niagara’s 3 border crossings are surrounded by water but Casa El Norte says refugees in the past have crossed illegally on freight trains and some have even crossed the Niagara river by boat. Putting their life on the line for a better life.


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