OTTAWA — The federal public safety minister is expected this weekend to visit the Manitoba town where dozens of people have crossed illegally into Canada in recent weeks.
Ralph Goodale is making the trip Saturday to observe what's happening on the ground in Emerson, Man.
Goodale is expected to meet and thank local officials who played a major role assisting the people who have arrived in the small community since the start of the year.
Exactly how many people have crossed illegally into Canada in recent weeks is difficult to pin down.
Manitoba RCMP say 143 people had been intercepted as of Feb. 27, but expect to release new figures Saturday.
Most of those who've crossed the border illegally have been declared eligible to make claims for asylum, so they will not face charges for the illegal crossings until those claims have been decided, a process that could take months.
Amid calls for stepped-up enforcement along the border, Goodale has said existing resources were being shifted around as required.
Still, communities affected by the influx have also been asking for more support to help deal with the newcomers; earlier this week United Way Winnipeg started a website to raise funds.
Fellow Liberal cabinet minister Jim Carr, the minister responsible for Manitoba, is expected to accompany Goodale in Emerson.
The Canadian Press