Canada raises asylum seekers influx with Minnesota governor


By David LjunggrenMINNEAPOLIS, June 19 (Reuters) - Canada's public safety
minister raised concerns on Monday with Minnesota's state
governor about an unauthorized influx of thousands of asylum
seekers into Canada this year.
    Nearly 3,500 people have walked into Canada from the United
States from January through May, according to government data,
crossing the border through fields, forests and ditches to avoid
official ports of entry where they would be turned back under a
bilateral agreement. Once on Canadian soil, asylum seekers, many
of whom are of Somali and Ghanaian origin, are each entitled to
a hearing.
    While Canadians have assisted many stranded or freezing
border-crossers, some have also worried about safety, and the
fairness of asylum seekers entering Canada without permission.
    "The problem has not gone away and we need to fully figure
out why this is happening and we need a full effort on both
sides to make sure that we're doing everything we possibly can
do for the integrity of the border," Public Safety Minister
Ralph Goodale said in an interview, after meeting with Minnesota
Governor Mark Dayton.
    "Because if people broadly begin to have doubts about that,
then the reaction will get to be harsher and harsher and harsher
and it's in everyone's interest here to ensure the integrity of
the border," Goodale said.
    Dayton told reporters that he and Goodale discussed ways to
better secure the border with technology and emphasized the
importance of trade to each country's economy.
    Dayton said he would have a chance to raise the topic when
he meets with Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly next month.
    Many of those walking into Manitoba come from the
neighboring state of Minnesota. The journey can be dangerous,
resulting in one woman's death and two cases of asylum seekers
losing fingers to frostbite. [nL1N1IX195] [nL1N1J51GM]
    Although the number of border-crossers into Canada is
unusually high this year, numbers have declined two months in a
row, even as weather became milder.
    "This does defy logic at the moment," Goodale said. "You
would have thought it would be easier at 30 (degrees Celsius)
above than 30 below."

 (Reporting by David Ljunggren in Minneapolis, Minnesota;
Writing by Rod Nickel in Winnipeg, Manitoba; Editing by Richard
 ((rod.nickel@thomsonreuters.com; 1 204 230 6043; Reuters
Messaging: rod.nickel.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net; Twitter:


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