‘Mom, I want to die, you can go in the Canada. I want to die in the snow, you can go, mom, in the Canada.’

This image is a screencap of a CBC video about refugees who cross into Canada from the US. It shows snow-covered ground, with dry brown winter grasses and train tracks poking through the snow. The text at the bottom of the screen says “Cold Crossing.”

Recent developments in American politics continue to exacerbate the migration on foot of refugees from the US to Canada. The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation has been covering this trend, and we at IJFAB Blog have also been watching. In a new CBC article yesterday, we read the words of a toddler who asked his mother to leave him to die in the snow so that she could go in to Canada. They were part of a group of refugees who walked for two hours from 2am to 4 am -20C weather. How many people are making these kinds of dangerous migrations, even in winter?

Canada Border Services Agency’s most recent numbers show 403 asylum seekers illegally crossed into Manitoba between April 2016 and the end of January 2017, many of them entering near the small border town of Emerson.

They come into Manitoba because nearby Minnesota is home to large immigrant populations from Somalia in particular.  This may be legal, and the refugees who find the U.S. to be inhospitable to their attempts to gain legal status may have rights within Canada based on U.N. agreements.

Cross through a snow-covered farmer’s field on foot in harsh winter conditions — like two Ghanaian refugees did in December, losing most of their fingers to frostbite — and the United Nations’ 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees kicks in.

In related news also breaking yesterday, the United Kingdom’s Home Office announced it would suspend admissions for child refugees with disabilities on the grounds that their needs for care would overburden the UK’s NHS, whose ability to provide care has suffered under repeated rounds of funding cuts.

IJFAB Blog will keep watching this issue of refugees and health as it develops in various nations.

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