Declining number of asylum seekers surprises reeve of Manitoba border town

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Emerson-Franklin Reeve Greg Janzen is surprised that the number of asylum seekers caught by RCMP entering Manitoba has gone down, not up, now that the weather has warmed up. (John Woods/The Canadian Press)

The reeve of the Manitoba town that’s been the backdoor to Canada for asylum seekers entering Canada from the U.S. wonders if the recent discovery of the body of a Ghanaian woman has scared refugee claimants from making the trek across the border.

Preliminary statistics released by the federal government late Friday show a decline in the number of asylum seekers who’ve been intercepted by the RCMP in Manitoba for the month of May.

Just 106 people were taken into custody in the province by the RCMP in May compared to 146 the month before, 170 in March and 142 in February.

The total number of border crossers caught by the RCMP now sits at 583 as of Friday, but the figure doesn’t include asylum seekers who weren’t processed by Mounties and were able to get into Winnipeg without getting taken into custody.

“I didn’t expect May to be that slow,” said Emerson-Franklin Reeve Greg Janzen adding he now wonders if the death of Mavis Otuteye has scared border crossers from making the trek into Canada.

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