RCMP intercept 21 at border overnight Friday

The head of a refugee intake organization in Winnipeg is not yet calling it a crisis, but said action needs to be taken - and funds raised - to keep up with the recent influx of refugees crossing the border from the U.S.

Police said they intercepted two groups near Emerson, Man. overnight Sunday into Monday.

Janzen said he is pleased with the RCMP's assistance over the weekend. Strategic projects associate Jennifer Partridge said $23,000 of the foundation's total came from an anonymous donor "who felt compelled and inspired to support the refugees".

Wayne Pfiel works six days a week as a bartender at the Emerson Hotel, the first stop for many refugees after they get over the border. Their girl is about three years old.

"I feel for sad for them, they're walking through the fields and they're walking in the cold".

Saskatchewan has not seen the influx in refugees crossing the border from the United States into Canada away from official border points like neighbouring Manitoba is now experiencing, say RCMP.

The refugees have been crossing the border on foot in subzero temperatures - away from official border points to avoid being turned back - in Manitoba, Quebec and elsewhere.

The CBSA says 11,000 refugee claimants were processed at designated ports past year.

They were detained by the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) and RCMP.

RCMP Sgt. Harold Pfleiderer said in an email there has been an increase in illegal migration in Quebec, Manitoba, and British Columbia, with the largest increase being seen in Quebec, although he said police weren't able to provide specific numbers.

Refugee claimants are released after meeting with a border officer for a couple of hours.

That means Canadian officials typically won't admit refugees who have already claimed asylum in the United States. But many don't have money.

They can apply for work permits but that takes three to four months and, by then, their cases have usually been decided.

  • Leroy Wright