Canada police charge woman for smuggling asylum-seekers from US

Emerson RCMP charge prisoner at CBSA port of entry

Mounties say a woman was stopped last Friday on the Canadian side of the border between the North Portal and Northgate crossings, the legal entry points into Saskatchewan from North Dakota.

People who are self-selecting by walking into Canada may have an impact on the total number of refugees accepted from outside the country, he said.

Michelle Omoruyi, 43, was arrested on Friday as part of an ongoing investigation by Saskatchewan authorities into potential human trafficking along the world's longest land border.

Last month, the RCMP intercepted 887 people crossing between official border points, with 644 of them crossing into Quebec. But media reports said they were from West Africa and all of them have now filed refugee claims in Canada.

Meanwhile, those illegally entering Canada at unmanned crossings get to stay in Canada while their refugee claim works its way through the system.

Canadian police said on Wednesday they seized evidence and "a significant amount of cash" from a Regina home searched after Ms Omoruyi's arrest on 14 April.

The nine people were the first intercepted in connection with alleged human smuggling, the RCMP said on Wednesday.

Police also said the United States Border Patrol has arrested other people related to the same investigation, but no details have been released.

The increasing flow of asylum seekers into Canada from the United States has become a contentious issue among Canadians. She is to appear in court in Estevan, Saskatchewan, on May 15.

This isn't the first time Canadians have been charged with human smuggling.

Canadian Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale attempted to minimize the impact of the latest illegal refugee figures, releasing a statement suggesting that the asylum seekers have already been subject to a security assessment because "the majority of irregular migrants are holders of visas for the United States". Safe Third Country Agreement - increases the problem of human smuggling and unlawful border crossings.

It is not known how many people may be connected to the suspected smuggling operation.

Dench said smugglers take advantage of people not knowing that they don't need to pay somebody to cross.

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