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Worried About Trump, Asylum Seekers Walk Cold Road to Canada

By Rod Nickel and Anna Mehler Paperny, Reuters:

WINNIPEG, Manitoba/BUFFALO, New York (Reuters) – Refugees in the United States fearing a worsening climate of xenophobia in the wake of a divisive U.S. presidential campaign are flocking to Canada in growing numbers.

Manitoba’s Welcome Place refugee agency helped 91 claimants between Nov. 1 and Jan. 25 – more than the agency normally sees in a year. Most braved the freezing prairie winter to walk into Canada.

“We haven’t had something before like this,” said Maggie Yeboah, president of the Ghanaian Union of Manitoba, which has helped refugees get medical attention and housing. “We don’t know what to do.”

A temporary restraining order by a U.S. judge of President Donald Trump’s executive order that blocked nationwide the implementation of key parts of the travel ban has provided a reprieve for refugees trying to come to the United States.

But Canadian advocacy organizations are bracing for a greater influx of asylum-seekers, driven in part by the contrast between the ruling Liberal government’s acceptance of Syrian refugees in Canada with Trump’s anti-foreigner rhetoric.

“They will make a dash for Canada, whether they are going to go through cold weather to die or not,” said Abdikheir Ahmed, a Somali immigrant in Manitoba’s capital Winnipeg who helps refugees make claims.

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