Justin Trudeau, Canada’s prime minister, is facing growing political pressure to address the steady stream of asylum seekers who have been braving freezing temperatures, fields of waist-deep snow and icy ditches to cross into Canada from the US by foot.
Recent months have seen a growing number of people entering Canada at remote, unguarded locations along the US border. Doing so allows the migrants – many of whom are desperate to flee Trump’s crackdown on immigration – to skirt a longstanding pact that bars most refugee claimants in the US from applying for asylum in Canada.
Advocates in Manitoba say they know of some 139 refugees – including children – who have made the perilous crossing since the start of the year, while groups in Quebec, British Columbia and Ontario also report a rise in irregular crossings.
Some haul suitcases for hours across frozen fields that straddle the border, while others are dropped by taxis metres away from the Quebec border. The asylum seekers – many of whom are from Somalia, Ghana and Djibouti – say their actions are driven by fears of what a Donald Trump presidency could mean for refugees in the US.
Amazing. In just four short weeks Donald Trump has changed America from a place that immigrants will travel vast distances to enter, to a place they will travel vast distances to escape.
Why do I get the feeling that this story will make him exceedingly pleased with himself?