In the News: Refugees Walking Across the Border

Published in The Times Colonist/ Canadian Press: “A look at the refugee process for people walking across the U.S. border”

Clarke Law was recently quoted in the newspaper regarding the situation with refugees walking across the border. Here is an excerpt:

During that time, they may connect with friends or family or an immigration agency to find a place to live. But many don’t have money. Some end up in homeless shelters and rely on legal aid, says Winnipeg immigration lawyer Alastair Clarke.

How to Move to Canada

Joe Sohm—Getty Images; Refugees Walking into Canada

“I’ve had clients who just show up to my office every week or so because they don’t have email. They don’t have telephone. They struggle with the language, transportation,” he says.

“They have some help — but they have limited help — so they do what they can.”

They can apply for work permits but that takes three to four months and, by then, their cases have usually been decided, Clarke says.


Erick Ambtman with the Edmonton Mennonite Centre for Newcomers says some claimants do make their way to communities further north, such as Edmonton, to stay with family. “In which case we would be potentially supporting their claim like helping them with documentation and things like that.”

Agencies like his also have emergency funds to help with food, clothing and counselling and some short-term housing, he says.

It is very clear that the situation with these refugees is dire. They are braving extreme cold weather conditions, putting their health and safety at risk in order to come to Canada. We have been receiving many calls from new refugee claimants who are fleeing the United States. Based on this anecdotal experience, they do not feel safe in the United States. They are coming to Canada to build their lives here and we do our best to help them through the complex process to before refugees, and then become Permanent Residents.

If you know of any refugees walking across the border, please contact Clarke Immigration Law immediately.