Last week City Pages brought you the story of Emerson-Franklin, a modest Canadian border town that suddenly finds itself at the center of an international incident.
It seems that hundreds of refugees have crossed the international boundary from Minnesota or North Dakota into Emerson-Franklin, apparently fleeing the United States to stay in front of a Donald Trump-ordered deportation to their countries of origin.
The Canadians have a strange way of treating the refugees. They treat them like people in need, and try to find how best to resettle them without sending them somewhere to be murdered or die of starvation.
The story's dramatic enough, but a video report from the CBC program The National puts a few needed visuals to it. Now there's a face to go with that story. It's a "very cold" face, partly sheathed in a skimask, and riddled with fear.
A man who identifies himself as "Muhammad" says he'd been walking for 21 hours before the crew found him. He didn't know he'd reached Canada, and seems wary of news that he's made it to his (new) promised land.
"America is a problem now," he tells them. We want to send him back to Somalia, which he says is "not like before," adding that there's "fighting, so I can't go back home."
The CBC correspondent calls the local police -- and also takes an agonizingly long time to let the poor guy warm up in the van -- and their arrival is not a comfort to the fleeing man.
Says the correspondent: "Muhammad's afraid the [Royal Canadian Mounted Police] officer is actually an American, and he'll be sent back to the U.S."
...and that we, in turn, will send him back to Somalia, a fate he wanted to avoid so badly he walked almost a full day across frozen prairie to avoid it. The cop politely informs Muhammad -- "sir," he calls him -- he must come with him to court, where they can hear his refugee claim and determine his status.
Exhausted, Muhammad steps out of the van and follows the cop into his squad car.
Don't you just feel safer already?
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