Politics

Refugees Fleeing U.S. For Canada Out Of Fear Of Trump

| by Brendan Kelly

More than 20 refugees have fled the U.S. for Canada, joining dozens of others who have left the country since President Donald Trump took office.

According to Fox News, uncertainty among refugees concerning Trump's immigration policies and travel ban from seven Muslim-majority countries has led a number of refugees to leave the United States for Canada.

CTV News reports that 22 asylum seekers crossed the Canadian border between North Dakota and Manitoba, joining a total of at least 61 refugees who have fled the U.S. since Trump took office.

More than half of the refugees who have fled left after Jan. 27, the day Trump signed the executive order banning immigration from seven majority-Muslim countries. 

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"I'm not safe anymore in the United States," refugee Mohamed Mualim told CTV News. Mualim says he paid a smuggler $500 to help him get across the Canadian border.

A group of 22 refugees crossed the border on Feb. 4 and 5. They were found wandering in a cold, rural area of Manitoba, across the border, when locals guided them to warmth in a nearby community hall. Volunteers from the town gave the refugees food and shelter.

"The U.S. presidential campaign, putting undocumented immigrations and refugees in the spotlight, terrified them," Ghezae Hagos, a counselor at Welcome Place, told Reuters, according to Fox News. "The election and inauguration of Mr. Trump appears to be the final reason for those who came mostly last month."

New data from the Canada Border Services Agency shows a 63 percent spike in refugees illegally crossing the Canadian border in the last two years. In Manitoba, 403 refugees were recorded in 2016, compared to 252 in 2015.

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Since 2015, more than 2,000 more refugees entered Canada "irregularly" and without official permission.

Rita Chahal of the Manitoba Interfaith Immigration Council says that the community needs to "start preparing for even greater numbers," adding that she expects more refugees will enter the country in the near future.

"We know that in this last group that came, they were families and there were young children," Chahal told CTV News. 

Two men who crossed the border into Canada after fleeing the United States are Seidu Mohammed and Razak Iyal, both refugees from Ghana. The pair took a cab to where the Canadian border was in sight, then walked for hours through the freezing cold until they got to safety. Eventually, they made it to a highway, where a trucker reportedly stopped and helped them. Iyal lost all of his fingers, except for his thumbs, to frostbite, and Mohammed had all of his fingers amputated.

Advocates worry about the safety of refugees attempting to escape the U.S.

"We do not, as an organization, want to see anyone lose life or limb while trying to get to safety," Chahal said.

"We do not want to see an image like what we saw around the world of Awn Kurdi on a prairie field," Chahal added, referencing a photo of a 3-year-old Syrian refugee who was found dead on a beach in Turkey in 2015.

Sources: Fox NewsCTV News / Photo credit: CTV News

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