17 migrants rescued from blizzard as they attempted to flee the US for Canada

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Firefighters from Emerson, Canada, were dispatched during a raging blizzard on Wednesday morning to rescue 17 Syrian migrants, including a 1-year-old child and a pregnant woman, who had gotten stranded during an attempt to flee the United States for Canada.

The Washington Postreported that temperatures were in the single digits when rescue workers found the migrants huddled in a storage shed on the outskirts of the Manitoba town, which has a population of less than 700.

Since his inauguration, President Donald Trump has taken a hard line on immigration, while Canadian President Justin Trudeau has been welcoming. The Canadian government resettled more than 35,745Syrian refugees in 2016, while the United States accepted 13,210.

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Fleeing America for Canada
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Fleeing America for Canada
A man from Yemen crosses the U.S.-Canada border into Hemmingford, Quebec, Canada February 14, 2017. REUTERS/Christinne Muschi
A man from Yemen is taken into custody by Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) officers after walking across the U.S.-Canada border into Hemmingford, Quebec, Canada February 14, 2017. REUTERS/Christinne Muschi
A man from Yemen is taken into custody by Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) officers after walking across the U.S.-Canada border into Hemmingford, Quebec, Canada February 14, 2017. REUTERS/Christinne Muschi
A woman who told police that she and her family were from Sudan is taken into custody by Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) officers after arriving by taxi and walking across the U.S.-Canada border into Hemmingford, Quebec, Canada February 12, 2017. Picture taken February 12, 2017. REUTERS/Christinne Muschi TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
A man who told police he was from Mauritania drops on his knees as he arrives at the U.S.-Canada border into Hemmingford, Quebec, Canada February 13, 2017. Picture taken February 13, 2017. REUTERS/Christinne Muschi
A man who told police that he was from Mauritania is helped up a hill and taken into custody by Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) officers after walking across the U.S.-Canada border into Hemmingford, Quebec, Canada February 13, 2017. Picture taken February 13, 2017. REUTERS/Christinne Muschi
A man who told police he was from Sudan is confronted by a Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) officer as he attempts to cross the U.S.-Canada border into Hemmingford, Quebec, Canada February 13, 2017. Picture taken February 13, 2017. REUTERS/Christinne Muschi
A man who told police that he was from Sudan is taken into custody by Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) officers after arriving by taxi and walking across the U.S.-Canada border into Hemmingford, Quebec, Canada February 13, 2017. Picture taken February 13, 2017. REUTERS/Christinne Muschi
A family from Yemen crosses the U.S.-Canada border into Hemmingford, Quebec, Canada February 14, 2017. REUTERS/Christinne Muschi
Luggage sits on the United States side of the border after a woman who told police that she and her family were from Sudan is taken into custody by Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) officers after arriving by taxi and walking across the U.S.-Canada border into Hemmingford, Quebec, Canada February 12, 2017. Picture taken February 12, 2017. REUTERS/Christinne Muschi
A woman who told police that she and her family were from Sudan is taken into custody by Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) officers after arriving by taxi and walking across the U.S.-Canada border into Hemmingford, Quebec, Canada February 12, 2017. Picture taken February 12, 2017. REUTERS/Christinne Muschi
A family from Yemen crosses the U.S.-Canada border into Hemmingford, Quebec, Canada February 14, 2017. REUTERS/Christinne Muschi
A family from Yemen is taken into custody by Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) officers after walking across the U.S.-Canada border into Hemmingford, Quebec, Canada February 14, 2017. REUTERS/Christinne Muschi
A woman who told police that she and her family were from Sudan is taken into custody by a Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) officer after arriving by taxi and walking across the U.S.-Canada border into Hemmingford, Quebec, Canada February 12, 2017. Picture taken February 12, 2017. REUTERS/Christinne Muschi
A man who told police he was from Mauritania is taken into custody by Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) officers after walking across the U.S.-Canada border into Hemmingford, Quebec, Canada February 13, 2017. Picture taken February 13, 2017. REUTERS/Christinne Muschi
The children of a woman who told police that she and her family were from Sudan are placed in a vehicle as they are all taken into custody by Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) officers after arriving by taxi and walking across the U.S.-Canada border into Hemmingford, Quebec, Canada February 12, 2017. Picture taken February 12, 2017. REUTERS/Christinne Muschi
Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) officers stand on a hill looking over the U.S.-Canada border into Hemmingford, Quebec, Canada February 14, 2017. REUTERS/Christinne Muschi
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Asylum seekers seem to have noticed. More than 200 people have crossed the seldom-patrolled U.S.-Canada border near Emerson since the beginning of 2017, according to the Post.

Once across the border, migrants are frequently apprehended by law enforcement, and can apply for Canadian asylum from there.

According to CBC News, asylum requests have skyrocketed in the province of Quebec in particular, which saw six times more refugee claims in February 2017 than it did in 2016. Manitoba, where the town of Emerson is located, has also seen surging numbers of refugee claimants.

Rita Chahal, executive director of the Manitoba Interfaith Immigration Council, told the CBC how asylum seekers are "arriving in a variety of ways."

"Many of them are walking through fields and finding other ways to get in; not stopping at the border, but coming straight to Winnipeg," Chahal said.

"Others are making a claim at the Emerson border and then either find a ride to Winnipeg, or in some cases, we have gone down to the border and picked up clients and brought them here," she continued. "But a lot of them are walking, yes."

Although the Royal Canadian Mounted Police strongly discourage migrants from attempting the dangerous border crossing in such harsh conditions, Mohamud Noor, executive director of the Confederation of Somali Community in Minnesota, told the CBC that vulnerable refugee populations seldom feel as if they have a choice, according to the Post.

"Because they don't have enough resources and they believe that's the only chance that they have, they'll take whatever risk that they can encounter," he said.

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Syrian refugees in canada
MISSISSAUGA, ON- DECEMBER 10: Syrian refugees begin to arrive in Canada at Pearson International Airport in Mississauga. December 10, 2015. (Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
MISSISSAUGA, ON- DECEMBER 11: Buses with Syrian refugees arrive at an airport hotel and begin to disembark. Syrian refugees begin to arrive in Canada at a hotel near Pearson International Airport in Mississauga. December 11, 2015. (Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
MISSISSAUGA, ON- DECEMBER 10: Maryam and Nore Kasmeih wait for Syrian refugees at the airport, their mother came to Canada 15 years ago and their family that was in Syria has fled to Turkey. Syrian refugees begin to arrive in Canada at Pearson International Airport in Mississauga. December 10, 2015. (Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
MISSISSAUGA, ON- DECEMBER 11: Christine Youssef is excited as she reunites with her cousins. Syrian refugees begin to arrive in Canada at a hotel near Pearson International Airport in Mississauga. December 11, 2015. (Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
MISSISSAUGA, ON- DECEMBER 11: Christine Youssef, left, is excited as she reunites with her cousins. Syrian refugees begin to arrive in Canada at a hotel near Pearson International Airport in Mississauga. December 11, 2015. (Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
BEIRUT, LEBANON - DECEMBER 10: Syrian refugees wait to pass through security at the Beirut International airport as they prepare to depart Lebanon to resettle into Canada, in accordance with the Government of Canadas Operation PROVISION on December 10, 2015. (Photo by Kenneth Allan/Canada Border Services Agency/Pool/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
TORONTO, CANADA - DECEMBER 11: Border Services Officer Boakye-Cotie processes a Syrian refugee family at Toronto Pearson International Airport on December 11, 2015. (Photo by Kenneth Allan/Canada Border Services Agency/Pool/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
MISSISSAUGA, ON- DECEMBER 11: Christine Youssef, left, is excited as she reunites with her cousins. Syrian refugees begin to arrive in Canada at a hotel near Pearson International Airport in Mississauga. December 11, 2015. (Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
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