Dolma and Tenzin (last names withheld) of Tibet, who are on their way to applying for refugee status at the Canadian border, are seen at the Vive La Casa shelter in Buffalo, New York, U.S. December 22, 2016. REUTERS/Lindsay DeDario
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Refugees in the United States fearing a worsening climate of xenophobia in the wake of a divisive U.S. presidential campaign are flocking to Canada in growing numbers. Manitoba's Welcome Place refugee agency helped 91 claimants between Nov. 1 and Jan. 25 – more than the agency normally sees in a year. Most braved the freezing prairie winter to walk into Canada.More than 7,000 refugee applicants entered Canada in 2016 through land ports of entry from the United States, up 63 percent from the previous year, according to Canada Border Services Agency.In British Columbia and Yukon, 652 people entered Canada irregularly in 2016, more than double the previous year.The 2004 Canada-U.S. Safe Third Country Agreement requires people to apply for asylum in the first of the two countries they arrive in.Vive's client numbers, including longtime U.S. residents and refugees, spiked last summer and have stayed consistently high since – two or three times what they'd normally see a year or two ago.This year, Canada plans to take only 7,500 government-assisted refugees – less than half last year's number.
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