Kenmare ND - Upside Down Under

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Upside Down Under

By Marvin Baker, a new weekly column in The Kenmare News


Here's a new twist...

Posted 9/15/15 (Tue)

Have you ever heard of illegal immigrants trying to get out of the United States?

Shadoe Davis, a disc jockey with 92 CITI-FM in Winnipeg posted a report on Facebook that came from the Winnipeg Free Press. It’s one of those news reports that if I didn’t know Shadoe Davis, or didn’t know that the Free Press was a reputable newspaper, I wouldn’t believe it.

The article was about two Somali men who swam across the Red River to get from the United States to Canada.

Apparently, these guys came from Somali, not some Somali community in the United States.

My first thought was there are about 4,000 Somali refuges in Fargo and I know there are Somali communities in Minneapolis.

But no, these guys were smuggled out of Somalia to Brazil, somehow got to Guatamala and hoofed it from there all the way across Mexico, into the United States, then up to Minneapolis where an acquaintance rented a car and drove them into North Dakota, north of Pembina at the border, and dropped them off.

One of the men said he could see the lights of the port of entry at Emerson, Manitoba and was afraid he would get caught and deported.

Still, they both decided to make the diagonal swim from the North Dakota side over to Emerson, which is less than 4 miles northeast of Pembina.

Both men told the Winnipeg Free Press they thought they could wade across the river, but when they went into the drink, realized the Red River has a strong current.

Once they got to Emerson, they sought political assylum and apparently, the Canadian government has granted it.

Also, Canada Customs officials at the Emerson port helped by giving them food and one of the guys, had removed most of his clothes so it would be less weight in the water. When he got to the Manitoba shore, he crawled out of the water and walked to the port of entry in nothing more than underwear.

Folks, this has to be unprecedented. In a journalism career of nearly 28 years, I have never seen or heard of anybody attempting to get out of the United States other than draft dodgers in the 1960s.

But these people are Somalis. Have you ever heard of such a thing, people trying to get out of the United States?

We often talk about how our welfare system is about ready to collapse because of the strain from illegal immigration in California and Arizona. We often talk about the fight between the federal government and the state of Arizona on how to handle illegal immigrants.

But this, this is a new one, and because part of this story involved North Dakota, I thought it would be good to share it with our readers.

But there’s also another reason I wanted Kenmare News readers to get this piece of information.

Even though our Somali friends went from Pembina to Emerson; North Dakota to Manitoba; the United States to Canada, neither one of them was seen until they walked right up to the port of entry in Emerson.

It leaves a serious question in my mind and it should do the same with the Border Patrol.

This was just an isolated incident, primarily because the Somalis were trying to get to Winnipeg and wanted to get there any way they could.

What if it was the other way around? What if terrorists were going to sneak into the United States and would do just about anything to get here?

We are so hung up on illegal Mexicans and rightfully so, but the U.S. government needs more resources to protect the Canadian border and Canadians aren’t the problem.

Because of more lax visa and immigration rules, it’s fairly easy for enemies of the United States to gain access to the United States through Canada.

Living on the northern tier of North Dakota, many of us know the back roads and trails that cross the international boundary in remote areas.

We know that if we crossed those roads in the middle of the night, we could be in Regina or Winnipeg before anyone even knew it.

So what is to stop the opposite from happening?

And speaking of the opposite, instead of all these people streaming into the U.S., maybe our Somali friends will start a new trend and people will begin to stream into Canada illegally by swimming across the Red River.

They say truth is stranger than fiction, and in this Somali refuge case, it certainly is.