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Cab companies drop refugees off at northern border in deadly weather

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GRAND FORKS, ND (WDAZ)--Refugee case workers say cab companies are sending refugees into the cold, and pocketing the cash.

It's a ride that could cost someone their life.

Refugees are crossing into Canada on foot in subzero temperatures with rough winds.

Kangni Kouevi--a refugee from Africa is facing what his case worker calls, “certain death” in his country, and fled, making his way to Minneapolis about ten days ago.

Not familiar with the climate...once he found out he was set to be deported, he chose a different path.

“The wind was very strong. He said it was like the wind was trying to kill him,” said Karin Gordon, of Hospitality House Refugee Ministry.

He called a taxi driver to take him from Minneapolis to the Pembina Border Crossing--and walked through nearby farm fields until the -40 degree wind chill forced him to call for help.

"The fellow who drove him from Minneapolis and dropped him at the border, stripped him of $700 for that service, didn't warn him about the cold,” said Gordon.

And he's not alone.

Despite these brutal temperatures, there are a rush of refugees along the Pembina Border.

About 1-thousand asylum seekers have crossed into Manitoba last year...and not all of them came out alive.

People living on the U-S side say something should be done about the cab companies.

"Probably beneficial if there could be some kind of a law put in place that these taxi driver's could be held accountable. Like anything else if they put a stop to that more than likely there's going to be another avenue found,” said Mayor of Pembina, Kyle Dorian.

But the Pembina County Sheriff's office says they can't arrest drivers for dropping people off.

It's unclear if the feds can go after taxi drivers. Attempts to contact Customs and Border Protection were not successful.