Today’s story is a sneak peek into a major investigation I’ve been working on.
I’ve been following the case of an illegal border crosser who assaulted a border guard at a Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) facility at Emerson, Manitoba in 2017.
Ahmed Aden Ali was a Somali refugee who had been resettled in Minneapolis. However, after a few years in the States, Ali ended up on the wrong side of the law, with multiple criminal convictions and a deportation order.
He decided to try and escape justice, fleeing all the way to Canada.
When Ali was detained at the Emerson point of entry, officers determining he was unlikely to attend an immigration hearing — he got violent. Ali allegedly vandalized his cell, caused a flood, and assaulted a female border guard before threatening the lives of others at the facility.
The CBC story about the subsequent charges Ali faced painted him as a changed man — a nonviolent fellow who needed another chance.
But I wanted the whole story, not CBC’s public relations efforts on behalf of Ali. So, I did what any good journalist would do and filed an access to information request with the CBSA. Three years later and I’ve finally received over 300 pages of reports, emails, and officer’s notes from the night of Ali’s violent tantrum.
I’ll have the full story of Ali’s first night in Canada in the coming days. In the meantime, I wanted to share with you some of the turmoil at Emerson caused by Justin Trudeau’s welcome to Canada tweet.
The documents I received in my ATIP reveal that at Emerson, 423 illegal migrants crossed between January and April 2017, with 151 of those coming from Somalia.
Between March 20 and April 12, 2017, just 93 illegal border crossers were detained, 13 for being a risk to the public, two for identity fraud, and the rest for being flight risks.
The documents also show that having a lengthy criminal history did not exclude all illegal border crossers from immediate entry into Canada, with one note reading:
… although not all persons with criminality are detained, these stats provide a preliminary indication that the proportion of cased with serious criminality is relatively low.
One CBSA email indicated the agency had no way to track what becomes of criminal border jumpers:
Yeah, that’s not feasible. So no way to simply pull asylum seekers for those with criminality. Not what then happened to them?
Watch my video, and keep an eye on my journalism in the days ahead, as I uncover the major flaws at our border — ones impacting our public safety.