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U.S. security chief in Canada for talks on asylum-seekers

OTTAWA U.S. Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly on Friday met Canadian officials to discuss an influx of asylum-seekers crossing into Canada from the United States that is putting pressure on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Emergency responders and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police are struggling to respond to people defying wintry conditions to cross the undefended border near Emerson, Manitoba.

So far several hundred asylum seekers, mainly from Africa but also the Middle East, have entered Canada. The refugees and migrant agencies blame the exodus on moves by U.S. President Donald Trump to clamp down on immigration.

Manitoba premier Brian Pallister is demanding Trudeau’s Liberal government provide money and resources.

Ottawa says there is a chance the flow of people will increase as the weather improves.

Kelly is scheduled to meet Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale, Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland and Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen during a day of talks in Ottawa.

“Obviously, there are a number of important border issues that need very, very careful attention and we’ll want to discuss those with the Secretary,” Goodale told reporters this week.

Canada also wants to discuss the flow of trade across the 5,500 mile (8,850 km) frontier and allegations by Canadian citizens of harsh treatment at the hands of U.S. border guards.

(Reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing by James Dalgleish)