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  • Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers assist a child from a family that claimed to be from Sudan as they walk across the U.S.-Canada border.

    Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers assist a child from a family that claimed to be from Sudan as they walk across the U.S.-Canada border. | Photo: Reuters

As the U.S. looks to tighten its policies on refugees and illegal immigrants, people seeking refugee status have been pouring over the Canada-U.S. border.

Eight asylum-seekers, including four children, barely made it across the Canadian border on Friday as a U.S. border patrol officer tried to stop them and a Reuters photographer captured the scene.

As a U.S. Customs and Border Patrol officer seized their passports and questioned a man in the front passenger seat of a taxi that had pulled up to the border in Champlain, New York, four adults and four young children fled the cab and ran to Royal Canadian Mounted Police on the other side.

One by one they scrambled across the snowy gully separating the two countries. RCMP officers watching from the other side helped them up, lifting the younger children and asking a woman, who leaned on her fellow passenger as she walked, if she needed medical care.

The children looked back from where they had come as the U.S. officer held the first man, saying his papers needed to be verified.

The man turned to a pile of belongings and heaved pieces of luggage two at a time into the gully -- enormous wheeled suitcases, plastic shopping bags, a black backpack.

"Nobody cares about us," he told journalists. He said they were all from Sudan and had been living and working in Delaware for two years.

People seeking refugee status have been pouring over the Canada-U.S. border as the United States looks to tighten its policies on refugees and illegal immigrants. Asylum-seekers sneak across because even if they are caught, they can make a claim in Canada; if they make a claim at a border crossing, they are turned away.

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