The number of refugees illegally entering Manitoba near the Emerson border has doubled every year since 2013.
New numbers provided to CBC by the Canada Border Services Agency show the number of refugees crossinginto the province illegallyhas doubled every year.
If the current trend continues, Manitoba will be on track to have 544 refugees enter the province for the 2016-17 reporting period.
The border agency says a total of 954 people have been caught entering Canada.
Those peopleenter the country without visas or proper immigration papers and have been spotted walking throughfields and dirt roads near the border in Emerson to get into Manitoba.
Once they've crossed the border, refugees can ask Canada to grant them asylum if they believe their life or freedom is in danger back home.
The border agency says many of the refugees are from Somalia.
Canada Border Services breaks down the new numbersthis way: in 2013 there were 68 refugee claims, 136 in 2014, 340 in 2015, and 410 up until Dec. 8, 2016.
The news from the border agency comes on the heels of a harrowing story of survival from two men from Ghana, who sustainedfrostbite after walking into Canada and getting lost on Christmas Eve.
'Someone is going to freeze to death'
Emerson-Franklin Coun. Doug Johnston said the municipality's fire department frequently responds to well-being calls involving refugeeswho've just walked into Canada.
"I think last week we had at least two or three medical calls to the port," Johnston said.
"My guess is if this keeps up, somebody's going to get caught between the ports and probably perish, because it's like –25 [C] and the snow's up to your waist right now."
"Eventually someone is going to freeze to death out there."
Howard Friesen is a farmer in Halbstadt, Man. and said he had a refugee come onto one of his fields two years ago.
"I was sitting here in the comfort of my home just doing a devotion ... and it was on being somebody's palm tree that was kind of the theme of the devotion that morning," Friesen said.
"I saw something and it was moving on my field ... From the distance you know you thought oh maybe it's a deer."
But Friesen said it was no deer — it was a man covered in mud.
"One of the first things he asked me was 'am I in Canada?' and he asked me that three or four times," he said.
Friesen said he brought the man, who was from Somalia, into his house to let him have a shower and breakfast. "He ate six eggs and six pieces of toast."
"He was hungry — he had been walking a while."
'To become a refugee is not a choice'
Ali Saeed knows first hand what lengths refugees will go to in order to get freedom.
Saeed is a refugee from Ethiopia, who was imprisoned and tortured in his home country as well as in Somalia — a country he walked 563 kilometres through the desert to get to.
The reason for his imprisonment? Advocating for labour and women's rights, he said.
Saeed, who came to Winnipeg barefoot in 1984, said refugees put their lives at risk to get to Canada.
"They have to suffer and pay the ultimate price sometimes even they can die."
Saeed it's a common misconception is that refugees come to Canada for a free ride. He said nothing is further from the truth.
"They don't have a choice and to become a refugee it's not a choice," he said.
"They don't like to be a refugee, but they have no choice."
Trumpcould send more refugees north: lawyer
Bashir Khan, a Winnipeg immigration lawyer, said he expects to see more refugees come to Manitoba with president-elect Donald Trump about to take the Oval Office.
Trump has vowed to send Syrian refugees already accepted in the U.S. back to their home country, ban Muslims from entering the country and build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
"Either you are going to be deported back to where you're coming from and to be in danger of murder if not worse things or you just do your best in the elements and hope and pray that you survive," Khan said.
Source-Yahoo News Canada (blog)