Refugees crossing U.S. border heading to Toronto, agencies say – Toronto

Many of the asylum seekers crossing the Canadian border in places like Manitoba and Quebec will wind up in Toronto, say those who care for refugees.

Those who run shelters or provide medical care for newcomers say they’re keeping a close eye on the situation, as more and more people leave the U.S. for Canada. The City of Toronto said it’s already seen a sharp increase in the number of would-be refugees winding up in its shelter system at the beginning of 2017.

Maya Roy, the executive director of Newcomer Women’s Services Toronto, which helps refugees learn English while also connecting them with employment opportunities and healthcare, blames the Trump administration’s immigration policies as well as its perceived instability.

“This is people responding to a president making policy via Twitter,” Roy told CBC Toronto.

Roy said she expects the rising tide of asylum seekers to subside, but she also anticipates those arriving in small towns like Emerson, Man., to come to this city, where there are bigger social networks and more services available to them. Those who arrive in southern Ontario border towns, she said, often spend several days in the area in small motels before making a connection in this city and making their way here.

Maya Roy, right, told CBC Toronto’s Dwight Drummond that many asylum seekers are afraid of what U.S. President Donald Trump will do next when it comes to immigration. (John Rieti/CBC)

Some refugees have confirmed to CBC Manitoba they’re heading to Toronto as soon as they can.

Bernnitta Hawkins, the Red Door Family Shelter’s executive director, said her organization hasn’t seen an increase in the number of refugees yet, but warned the city’s family shelters are already running at 100 per cent capacity.

Hawkins said she hopes that doesn’t stop Toronto from welcoming newcomers to the city, saying her organization still feels a strong responsibility to help those in need.

“You’re not going to walk across snow because…

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