RCMP have confirmed a total of Twenty-one more asylum seekers made their way across the border between Emerson and the now shuttered Minnesota Noyes border crossing between 3 a.m. and 6:30 a.m. Saturday morning. The Emerson Volunteer Fire Department received calls at 3:05 a.m. and at 6:25 a.m. from local RCMP asking for assistance.
Emerson-Franklin Reeve Greg Janzen says they came across in two groups, and the plan developed earlier this week during a meeting between the Municipality, RCMP, Canada Border Services and Immigration officials worked very well.
“I’m glad we all met, it really made a difference,” explained Janzen when speaking with PembinaValleyOnline.com Saturday afternoon. “I hate to say it, but it almost seemed seamless this morning. Everybody knew what they had to do. We contacted CBSA (and asked) whether they wanted to rent the hall, and they said not at this time, and I believe CBSA were set up to handle more people now to, so everything has worked very smoothly.”
A news release issued by RCMP late Saturday afternoon stated the first group was comprised of five individuals and the second made up of sixteen. According to eyewitness accounts, some of the people entered Emerson from the bush area near the former border crossing, and began knocking on doors looking for help.
One of those eyewitnesses was Linda Neufeld, who along with her husband Ernie, live on 3rd Street in Emerson. “We were sitting in the garage having coffee, and we heard a bunch of commotion,” explained Neufeld. “We just thought it was the local ladies going for a walk, and all of a sudden I said ‘No, this isn’t English, there’s kids laughing.’ Ernie went and took a look, and he couldn’t tell (exactly) how many, about twenty of them, women and children. Then we went and called the RCMP.”
Neufeld says local neighbours invited some of the families into their homes to warm up before the RCMP came to pick them up for processing by CBSA. RCMP say all of the individuals requested to make refugee claims.
Meanwhile Reeve Greg Janzen believes, as the weather continues to warm up, they will likely see even more people illegally jumping the border in an effort to stay in Canada.