Map of routes taken by refugees fleeing the U.S. for Canada through Minnesota and North Dakota. Graphic: The Washington Post

By Tim Craig
15 December 2017

NOYES, Minnesota (The Washington Post) – Chad Cosley tracks them as if they were deer.

He looks for footprints and frequently checks his network of trail cameras, which had been documenting wildlife along the U.S.-Canada border but now also capture would-be refugees fleeing the United States under President Trump.

“I was up there hunting just on November 4, and we had fresh snow,” said Cosley, 45, who owns a parcel delivery service. “The following morning, we had four sets of footprints walking all the way up to the border with Canada, and there was a glove laying there on the ground — brand new, with perfume on it — so it was definitely a gal.”

Since the start of the year, more than 1,000 people have made similar journeys through this tiny community in far northwestern Minnesota in an attempt to enter Canada by avoiding official border crossings, part of a nationwide surge as Trump advances his campaign pledge to make life uninviting for undocumented immigrants and some aspiring refugees. The exodus, also playing out in border towns in the Northeast that lead to Quebec and Ontario, is rattling local officials on both sides of the border who are now angry about being shoved onto the front lines of America’s divisive immigration debate.

A Ghanaian woman’s body was found in a ditch near this small Minnesota town in May. She was an asylum seeker who succumbed to hypothermia while trying to cross the border. Residents fear there will be calamities in coming months as travelers encounter winter here, when a frigid northwestern wind scours barren fields separating Minnesota from Canada’s Manitoba province, making the traverse through blizzards and across frozen swamps a harrowing and life-threatening trip.

The concern has intensified, with county officials publicly calling on the Trump administration and Canada to waive a policy that prevents would-be refugees from passing through official border crossings. That plea has been met with silence.

Although rural Minnesota overwhelmingly supported Trump in last year’s election, some residents are troubled by his hard-line immigration policies, given the impact on their towns.

“For us, it’s a shocker to see these people wandering around,” said Leroy Clow, 73, a retired farmer and electrician. “It’s nice-dressed families — like they could be your neighbor — but they are scared and don’t know what else to do.” [more]

As migrants flee for Canada, fears are rising over the perils of frigid illegal crossings


  1. Anonymous said...

    Asylum seekers FROM the United States.... absolutely astounding. While the Trump idiots keep shouting about our so-called "freedoms".

    I cannot stand this country anymore, or hardly anyone in it. Not the country I grew up in.  


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