OTTAWA (Reuters) - Most of the people crossing the U.S. border into Canada to claim asylum had been in the United States legally, and Canada is sharing their information with U.S. authorities to help understand the phenomenon, a top official said on Friday.
Several hundred asylum seekers, mainly from Africa but also the Middle East, have entered Canada. The refugees and migrant agencies blame the exodus on moves by U.S. President Donald Trump to clamp down on immigration.
“We have provided information about the specific documents that were presented at the border because those are American documents,” Canadian Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale told reporters.
Goodale spoke after meeting U.S. Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly in Ottawa for talks on the influx, which is putting domestic pressure on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Emergency responders and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police are struggling to respond to people defying wintry conditions to cross the undefended border near Emerson, Manitoba.
Manitoba premier Brian Pallister is demanding Trudeau’s Liberal government provide money and resources.
Ottawa says there is a chance the flow of people will increase as the weather improves.
“We obviously have safety concerns on both sides of the border,” Goodale said.
Canada says some of the people crossing the border clearly had no intention of staying in the United States.
Goodale said he and Kelly had agreed officials needed to gather more information to work out what was happening.
Factors to look at, he said, included “who are the people involved in this migration, where did their journey begin ... (and) how is the migration being accomplished?”
Kelly also met Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland and Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen during a day of talks.
Reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing by James Dalgleish