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MUSIC NEWS

My Sweet Porsche: Sports car once owned by George Harrison being sold at UK auction in March

KMazur/WireImageA Porsche 928 that once belonged to late Beatles guitarist George Harrison is up for bid as part of a Fab Four-themed memorabilia sale that will be held by Omega Auctions in Warrington, U.K. The vehicle, which Harrison purchased new in 1980 and owned for four years, is expected to bring in as much as 20,000 pounds, or about $25,000.

BBC News reports that the sports car’s current owner, Leeds resident Raj Sedha, purchased the vehicle in 2003 and intended to use it for parts, although he initially didn’t know that it had been previously owned by Harrison, who died of cancer in 2001.

Sedha tells BBC News that he was about start taking the automobile apart when his wife looked at the logbook and discovered who its famous one-time owner was.

“My partner ran out with the book and said, ‘stop dismantling it, it belongs to George Harrison,'” he recalls. “I said, ‘who’s George Harrison?'”

Sedha then put the car in his garage for eight years before he made the decision to restore the car and sell it.

“We want it to go to someone who’s going to appreciate it,” he tells BBC News.

Omega Auctions executive Paul Fairweather says of the vehicle, “For anybody that’s into cars and The Beatles, this is a must-have.”

The car is part of the same Beatles auction that will feature a recently reported rare film of the band performing at a 1964 concert in Montreal.

When he owned the Porsche 928, Harrison kept the car at his Friar Park estate in Henley-on-Thames, U.K., where he housed more than 100 other sports cars he collected.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

David Cassidy reveals he has dementia

Bobby Bank/WireImageOne-time Partridge Family star and 1970s pop idol David Cassidy has revealed to People that he’s battling dementia. The 66-year-old entertainer, whose grandfather and mother also were stricken with the memory-loss disease, tells the magazine of his diagnosis, “I was in denial, but a part of me always knew this was coming.”

Earlier this month, Cassidy announced via his official website that he planned to retire from touring at the end of this year.

He tells People that he now has come to accept his illness, says that, moving forward, “I want to focus on what I am, who I am and how I’ve been without any distractions. I want to love. I want to enjoy life.”

Cassidy has had a rocky time during the last several years, having been arrested for driving under the influence in 2010, 2013 and 2014, and filing for bankruptcy in 2015. That same year, he was charged in a hit-and-run accident. David also made news this past weekend when fan-shot video surfaced of him slurring his words and struggling to remember lyrics during a concert in Agoura Hills, California.

Cassidy has three confirmed shows on his upcoming schedule — March 3 in Greenwich, Rhode Island; March 4 in New York City; and June 11 in Mentor, Ohio.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Ringo Starr reunites with Beatles band mate Paul McCartney in the studio

Anthony Harvey/Getty ImagesPaul McCartney just got back together with his fellow surviving Beatles band mate Ringo Starr to lend his bass talents to the drummer’s upcoming solo album. Starr revealed the exciting news by posting a photo of him and McCartney together in the studio on Sunday on his official Twitter feed, along with a message that reads, “Thanks for coming over man and playing Great bass. I love you man peace and love.”

Ringo also tweeted a second photo that day apparently from the same session revealing that his brother-in-law Joe Walsh joined him and Sir Paul. “[W]hat a day I’m having peace and love,” Starr declares in a note accompanying the pic.

The last time McCartney contributed to one of Starr’s albums was on 2010’s Y Not. On that record, Paul played bass on the song “Peace Dream” and added vocals to the tune “Walk with You.”

Meanwhile, Ringo has posted a series of tweets during the past week or so revealing some of the other guest musicians who have been joining him in the studio while he makes his forthcoming album. Among them are Eagles bassist Timothy B. Schmit, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers keyboardist Benmont Tench, Mr. Mister frontman and current All Starr Band member Richard Page and acclaimed session bassist Nathan East.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

 

 

ENTERTAINMENT NEWS

‘The LEGO Batman Movie’ rules the weekend box office for the second week

Warner Bros.(NEW YORK) — The LEGO Batman Movie zapped the competition to top the weekend box office for the second straight week, raking in an estimated $34.2 million in the U.S., and raising its two week total to $98.7 million, according to Box Office Mojo. The film is expected to top $43 million for the four-day holiday weekend, pushing it over the $100 million mark.

The animated comedy, featuring the voices of Will Arnett, Michael Cera, Rosario Dawson, Ralph Fiennes and Zack Galifianakis, pulled in another $37 million overseas, raising its worldwide total to over $170 million.  

Fifty Shades Darker, starring Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson, finished in second place with an estimated $20.9 million. The sequel to 2015’s Fifty Shades of Grey is likely to tack on another $4 million Monday. One of this weekend’s new releases, The Great Wall, starring Matt Damon, did better than expected, hauling in $18.1 million for a third place finish.

John Wick: Chapter 2, starring Keanu Reeves and Laurence Fishburne, took fourth place with an estimated $16.5 million Friday through Sunday, and is expected to deliver an estimated $19.5 million for the four-day weekend.

Another new release, Fist Fight, rounds out the top five with $12 million. The comedy, starring Charlie Day, Ice Cube and Tracy Morgan, also performed better than expected and should finish the four-day weekend with just over $13 million.

Oscar contender La La Land continued to dance its way into the hearts of theatergoers, adding another $4.5 million this weekend, pushing its domestic total to over $133 million.

The third of this weekend’s new releases, the horror flick A Cure for Wellness, starring The Amazing Spider-Man 2‘s Dane DeHaan, finished in a disappointing 10th place with $4.2 million.

Here are the top 10 movies from Friday through Sunday, with estimated weekend gross ticket sales: 

1. The LEGO Batman Movie, $34.2 million
2. Fifty Shades Darker, $20.9 million
3. The Great Wall, $18.1 million
4. John Wick: Chapter 2, $16.5 million
5. Fist Fight, $12 million
6. Hidden Figures, $7.2 million
7. Split, $7.1 million
8. A Dog’s Purpose, $5.69 million
9. La La Land, $4.5 million
10. A Cure for Wellness, $4.2 million

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved. 

‘The Bachelor’ recap: Hometown visits and the return of Andi

Nick and Raven; ABC/Drew Cason(NEW YORK) — On Monday’s new episode of The Bachelor on ABC, hometown dates left three of the women feeling confident about their relationships with Nick Viall, while another came back with serious doubts.

Raven returned home to Hoxie, Arkansas to show Nick how to ride ATVs, get ridiculously muddy, and climb a grain bin. Nick was caught off guard when the local authorities pulled up after the two had scaled a grain silo, but Raven had the last laugh when the officer turned out to be her older brother.

The dark-haired beauty’s trip home was highlighted by the happy news that her dad is cancer-free, and he gave Nick the green light to marry his daughter. Raven, however, worried because she hasn’t told Nick she loves him.

Rachel kicked off Nick’s visit to Dallas by taking him to a service at her church.  Race took center stage during his time with her family, as Rachel revealed that her sister is part of an interracial couple as well. Nick failed to meet Rachel’s father, since he was out of town on business.

In Miami, Corinne wanted to take Nick on a date that showed her truest self, so she treated him to an extravagant shopping spree, which culminated with her proclaiming her love for him. The day of fun continued as Corinne finally got to introduce Nick to her beloved nanny Raquel. Even though it initially seemed her father might be a hold-out, Nick eventually won him over.

Things got complicated as Nick traveled to Montreal to meet Vanessa’s family. The date got off to a great start, as the special needs teacher took Nick to meet her students. Vanessa was pleased as Nick bonded with her charges as they made a scrapbook of the couple’s time together.

Since Vanessa’s parents are divorced, Nick met her mom’s side of the family first. Both her mom and her sister were very concerned that Nick and Vanessa didn’t seem to have discussed where they’ll live if their relationship continues.

When Nick met Vanessa’s father, he was rather confused by the fact that Nick was asking for his blessing to marry his daughter — even though Nick admitted he’d done the same with the other girl’s dads. While Vanessa was initially excited when her father told her about Nick’s request , she was devastated to learn he’d asked the same of the other parents.

With four hometown dates done, Nick and the women traveled to New York City for the rose ceremony, where one will be sent home. But before that could happen, former Bachelorette Andi Dorfman showed up at Nick’s door for a chat.

Find out what happens next when The Bachelor returns Monday at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

“The Last Jedi” is plural: Luke Skywalker’s not the only one

Disney/Lucasfilm(NEW YORK) — When Disney announced that the title of the next Star Wars movie was The Last Jedi, there was a lot of speculation as to its meaning.  Sure, it sounds like it’s talking about one person — presumably Luke Skywalker — but as geeks everywhere have pointed out, the word “Jedi” is also plural, so it could be referring to more than one “Jedi” — both Luke and Rey, for example.  Well, stop speculating: we’ve now got proof that it’s plural.

As Mashable points out, the official Star Wars Twitter accounts for Italy, France and Spain all feature the movie’s title translated into Italian, French and Spanish.  None of those three languages have a single version of the definite article, “the” — it changes based on how many of something you’re talking about.  And all three Twitter accounts use the plural version of the word “the” in the title.

In French, for example, the title is translated to Les Derniers Jedi, which means “The Last Jedi,” plural.  Same in Spanish: the title is Los Últimos Jedi — again, the “los” indicates that it’s plural.  In Italian, it’s Gli Ultimi Jedi, with “gli” indicating plural.

So who are The Last Jedi — plural?  We’ll find out December 17 when Episode VIII arrives in theaters.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved. 

NATIONAL NEWS

More than 60 threats to Jewish Centers across the US, authorities investigating

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — In the wake of 11 new threats Monday against Jewish centers, from New York to New Mexico, the FBI said it is investigating, along with the Department of Justice, bomb threats to the centers across the country.

Federal authorities are looking into threats communicated to at least 60 Jewish centers around the country this year. The threats started in January and the FBI began investigating later that same month. The threats have come in “different waves,” with more threats phoned in to centers Monday, according to one source familiar with the matter.

The FBI said they are “investigating possible civil rights violations in connection with threats to Jewish Community Centers.”

“The FBI will collect all available facts and evidence, and will ensure this matter is investigated in a fair, thorough, and impartial manner,” the FBI said in a statement. “As this is matter is ongoing, we are not able to comment further at this time.”

This year, a total of 69 threats to 54 JCCs have spanned 27 states and one Canadian province and came in four waves: Jan. 9, Jan. 18, Jan. 31 and then Monday, the JCC Association of North America said.

In Monday’s wave of threats 11 JCCs received bomb threats over the phone, the JCC Association of North America said. All threats were determined to be hoaxes and all JCCs returned to normal operations, they said.

The threats Monday included a JCC in St. Paul, Minnesota, a JCC in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and two Jewish centers around Buffalo, New York.

The Department of Homeland Security has also been working on this matter. Almost immediately after the threats are reported to federal authorities, the DHS is informed and disseminates the information nationwide through the Homeland Security Information Network channel “so that others can see that these calls are going on and respond accordingly,” one source said.

David Posner, director of strategic performance at JCC Association of North America, said that while the JCCs that received the threats have all resumed operations “with a heightened level of security,” he added, “we will not be cowed by threats intended to disrupt people’s lives.”

“While we are relieved that all such threats have proven to be hoaxes and that not a single person was harmed, we are concerned about the anti-Semitism behind these threats, and the repetition of threats intended to interfere with day-to-day life,” Posner said. “Local JCCs serve not just the Jewish community, but the entire community. Participants from all different backgrounds come to their local JCCs.”

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) said in a statement Monday that the threats are “alarming, disruptive, and must always been taken seriously.”

“We look to our political leaders at all levels to speak out against such threats directed against Jewish institutions, to make it clear that such actions are unacceptable, and to pledge that they will work with law enforcement officials to ensure that those responsible will be apprehended and punished to the full extent of the law,” ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said in the statement.

At a press conference last week, when a Jewish reporter started to ask President Trump about a rise in anti-Semitic incidents in the U.S., he said it wasn’t a fair question and told the reporter to sit down. Trump then said he is “the least anti-Semitic person you’ve ever seen in your entire life.”

He later responded to questions about possible anti-Semitic activity saying, “As far as people, Jewish people … I think that you’re going to see a lot different United States of America over the next three, four, or eight years. I think a lot of good things are happening, and you’re going to see a lot of love.”

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said Monday, in response to the threats, “Hatred and hate-motivated violence of any kind have no place in a country founded on the promise of individuals freedom. The President has made it abundantly clear that these actions are unacceptable.”

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

California officer shot and killed after responding to crash identified

KABC-TV(WHITTIER, Calif.) — A veteran officer was killed and another injured after a parolee opened fire on them after they responded to a traffic incident Sunday in Whittier, California, police officials said.

The officers responded to a reported incident — in which a driver, who police said was driving a stolen car, rear-ended multiple other vehicles — around 8 a.m.

Lt. John Corina of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office said the suspect, who was not named, moved his car around the corner after the collisions.

When officers arrived on the scene, the other drivers, who had refused to give the suspect a ride, indicated that he had moved his car.

The officers, who did not know at the time that the car was stolen, made contact the suspect and went to pat him down, and he pulled out a gun and opened fire, police said.

“When they got the call, it was just a traffic accident, and they didn’t know what they had,” Corina told reporters. “When they went to contact him, that’s when the shooting happened.”

Corina said the suspect was 26, a “known gang member” and was armed with a semiautomatic handgun. He was released from jail a week ago.

The officers returned fire, wounding him.

The suspect was released on parole two weeks ago and has made statements to police.

The two officers and the suspect were hospitalized after the shooting, and one officer, Keith Wayne Boyer, died at the hospital. The surviving officer, Patrick Hazel, and the suspect are in stable condition, according to Corina.

Boyer became an officer with the Whittier Police Department in 1990 and was remembered as positive and energetic, according to the department’s chief, Jeff Piper.

He was from the area and had grown children, Piper said.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Bao Bao the panda to leave DC Tuesday

Xinhua/Yin Bogu via Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — Thousands of well-wishers are heading to the Smithsonian National Zoo and tuning in online to say “Bye-bye, Bao Bao.” The beloved giant panda departs Washington, D.C., Tuesday for her new home in China.

“Everyone here at the zoo, the millions of people at the zoo and the millions more on the webcams around the world are all going to miss her tremendously,” Associate Director of Animal Care Sciences Brandie Smith told ABC News.

In the days before her departure, the zoo has hosted a number of activities and educational livestreams, including a dumpling ceremony and an ice cake party.

Crowds of visitors lined up at the panda house, some waiting upwards of an hour, to wish the bear bon voyage.

“I have been watching this bear since she was born and it’s actually the first adult animal I have seen from birth until adulthood,” visitor Heather Heckel told ABC News. “So I’ve just kind of loved her all of her life and I wanted to say goodbye.”

Bao Bao was born at the National Zoo Aug. 23, 2013, to China-born parents Mei Xiang and Tian Tian. Now older than 3, Bao Bao has to be sent to China as part of a cooperative breeding program between the zoo and the China Wildlife Conservation Association (CWCA). As defined by terms of the program, all giant pandas born at the zoo must be sent to live in China before the age of 4.

“We like to send them back about this age because in a couple of years she’ll actually reach breeding age,” one of Bao Bao’s keepers, Marty Dearie, told ABC News. “It’s good to get them back a little early so they have time to settle into their new environment.”

Bao Bao begins her long trek to Chengdu, China, Tuesday morning, when she will travel from the zoo to Dulles International Airport in Virginia. From there, she will take a 19-hour direct flight on a personalized FedEx plane, accompanied by Dearie, a vet, and close to 60 pounds of bamboo and other treats.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

SPORTS NEWS

Scoreboard roundup — 2/20/17

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Here are the latest scores and winners:

NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE

Florida 2, St. Louis 1
Arizona 3, Anaheim 2

TOP-25 COLLEGE BASKETBALL

(12) West Virginia 77, Texas 62
Miami 54, (18) Virginia 48 (OT)
(19) Florida St. 104, Boston College 72

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Abby Wambach engaged to Christian blogger Glennon Doyle Melton

Joe Faraoni / ESPN Images(NEW YORK) — Retired U.S. soccer star Abby Wambach is engaged to Christian mom blogger Glennon Doyle Melton.

The Momastery blogger and mother of three made the announcement on her Facebook page Saturday.

“Abby and I have decided to hold hands forever,” she wrote, beside a black and white photo of the couple’s hands, showing off their diamond rings.

“Love Wins,” she added.

Wambach, 36, and Melton, 40, went public with their relationship last November.

In a Facebook post at the time, Melton, who is best known for her bestselling books, Carry On, Warrior and Love Warrior, told her 645,000 followers that she was in love with Wambach three months after announcing her split from her husband of 14 years, Craig Melton.

“She’s unwaveringly good to Craig, to the kids, to Sister and to all my people. And oh my God, she is so good to me,” she wrote next to a photo of her and Wambach. “She loves me for all the things I’ve always wanted to be loved for. She’s just my favorite. My person.”

Calling themselves a “beautiful, modern family,” Melton wrote, “We have family dinners together — all six of us — and Abby cooks. (She is an AMAZING chef because Jesus loves me).”

Melton’s surprise post came two months after Wambach announced that she and wife Sarah Huffman were divorcing.

The former couple shared a high-profile kiss after Wambach led the U.S. women’s soccer team to victory in the 2015 World Cup.

On Valentine’s Day, Wambach wrote, “I found myself when I met you @glennondoylemelton. The end. I love you!”

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Lauren Holiday opens up about brain tumor health scare while pregnant

Joe Faraoni / ESPN Images(NEW YORK) — Retired U.S. women’s soccer player Lauren Holiday took to social media over the weekend to open up about her life as a new mother and the obstacles she faced upon learning she had a benign brain tumor while six months pregnant.

Holiday, 29, posted a photo of daughter Jrue on Saturday to her Instagram page and wrote, “I have never quite known suffering like I experienced the last 6 months. I can remember countless nights repeating ‘there may be pain in the night but joy comes in the morning.’ I remember half believing it and half still in disbelief that this was my life.”

The two-time Olympic gold medalist had the tumor, a type called meningioma, successfully removed in October, just one month after she gave birth to her daughter, Jrue Tyler Holiday.

Holiday says that in addition to the support of her husband, NBA player Jrue Holiday, and other family, her strength comes from her faith in God.

“I memorized scripture and some days my faith felt unshakable and others I was scared to death,” she wrote beneath the photo of her daughter. “Every time I see this smile, I’m reminded that joy does come in the morning. Maybe not the next day, maybe not even the next month but it comes. I can’t imagine what heaven will be like if this is the joy I get to experience on earth. Psalm 30:5”

The Holidays, college sweethearts, married in 2013. After Lauren Holiday’s diagnosis, her husband, a guard for the New Orleans Pelicans, took a leave of absence from the team to focus on his family.

He missed the preseason and 12 regular season games before returning to the court in late November.

“I’m blessed, man,” he said at a news conference at the time. “Blessed to have my family back, blessed that we’re OK. So blessed for the support from especially the team. I can’t even explain how much they were there for me and my family through everything.”

Jrue Holiday gave another update in January, saying, “My wife is a lot better so I’m doing a lot better.”

“I guess it’s been going well and it hasn’t been affecting me, I don’t think,” he said, according to ESPN. “My wife is doing really well and she’s gradually getting better, and that’s all I can ask for. She’s alive, and I’m blessed for that. My daughter is OK. So, I’m happy.”

Lauren Holiday has used social media to post photos of the couple’s daughter, including one eight weeks ago, captioned, “You’re my hallelujah.”

“There’s ultimate joy for Lauren Holiday on social media,” said USA Today columnist and ABC News consultant Christine Brennan. “I mean, she’s using it to tell what appears to be a very happy ending.”

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

WORLD NEWS

Five killed, including four Americans, in Australian charter plane crash

iStock/Thinkstock(MELBOURNE, Australia) — Four Americans were among five killed when a plane crashed into a shopping center shortly after takeoff near Melbourne, Australia, authorities said.

The plane had taken off from Essendon Airport around 9 a.m. local time and suffered a “catastrophic engine failure” in the air, according to Victoria Police’s Assistant Commissioner Stephen Leane.

The pilot attempted to return to the airport and crashed into the DFO shopping center, Leane said. There were no fatalities on the ground, Leane said.

A State Department official confirmed that four U.S. citizens were aboard the flight. “We extend our deepest condolences to the families and loved ones of all those who died in today’s tragic crash,” the official said.

Victoria’s premier, Daniel Andrews, called the incident the “worst civil aviation accident in our state” in 30 years.

The identities of those who died and the nationality of the fifth victim were not immediately known.

“We extend our deepest condolences to the families and loved ones of those who died in today’s tragic crash,” a spokesman for the U.S. Embassy in Canberra said.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Paris’ ‘Spider-Man’ art thief sentenced to eight years in prison

BERTRAND GUAY/AFP/Getty Images(PARIS) — A Paris art thief known as “Spider-Man” has been sentenced to eight years in prison after stealing five paintings worth about $110 million.

Vjeran Tomic, a 49-year-old with acrobatic skills, admitted to taking the five masterpieces from the Musee d’Art Moderne in 2010, according to BBC. The works of art– which include an Henri Mattisse, a Pablo Picasso and an Amedeo Modigliani– are still missing

Tomic said he originally broke into the museum to steal a work of art by Ferdinand Leger, but he decided to steal four additional paintings when an alarm did not go off, according to BBC.

Antique dealer Jean-Michel Corvez and Yonathan Birn, both accomplices, were also handed prison sentences. All three men were ordered to pay the city $110 million in compensation, plus additional fines, BBC reports.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Canada’s border sees surge in families, others crossing illegally from US

iStock/Thinkstock(QUEBEC CITY) — A family of seven with small children; a woman who was taken to a hospital after falling on ice; a Nigerian man who had to have fingers amputated due to frostbite. These are among a growing number of asylum-seekers and other migrants trekking on snow and ice to cross over the United States border into Canada, according to an attorney and Canadian network CTV.

They come from a range of countries, like Iraq, Syria, Sudan, as well as nations in Latin America — many of them places without harsh winters like Canada’s.

“Unfortunately, some individuals who are illegally entering Canada are not aware of the extreme weather conditions and geography they may encounter which can have dire effects to their well-being,” a Royal Canadian Mounted Police spokesperson said in an email to ABC News.

They include families trudging along with young children in strollers, said Eric Taillefer, an immigration lawyer and vice president of the Quebec Immigration Lawyers Association.

“Clearly they are desperate to do it,” Taillefer told ABC News.

Border-crossing from the U.S. into Canada isn’t new and those who make the trip don’t usually pose a security problem, Taillefer said.

What’s new now is the numbers, he said.

“It’s very, very surprising,” he said. “It doesn’t appear to be slowing down. I don’t think its going to be slowing down in the near future, at least not this year.”

The spike

The number of asylum-seekers crossing into Canada rose from 2015 to 2016 and it has continued to spike this year, according to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

North of the eastern U.S. in Quebec — where Canadian authorities say there’s been the biggest rise in illegal crossings — the number of asylum claims by people who crossed over legally and illegally more than tripled in January 2017 compared to a year earlier, authorities said.

In January of this year, there were 452 asylum claims at the Quebec’s land border, compared to 137 in the same month in 2016 and 46 claims in January 2015.

Crossings from the U.S. to Canada are also rising further west in British Columbia, just over the border from Washington state, and in Manitoba, which lies just north of North Dakota, authorities told reporters Monday.

Canadian police described the daily crossing numbers as fluctuating, but said in the last six months it’s seen crossings in some areas increase from about one to two people per day up to 19 a day.

The surge of people fleeing the U.S. has been particularly pronounced since the U.S. presidential election in November, said Taillefer, the lawyer, and Marcella Reyes, a community services coordinator for the Scalabrini Centre for Migrants and Refugees in Montreal, Quebec.

Who’s crossing?

It’s not just lone people crossing the border — it’s families.

“It would be easier,” Taillefer said, “for someone who is alone to cross, then maybe bring in his family in another way, but now we’re really seeing whole families crossing at the same time.”

“There are families, men and single women,” Reyes told ABC News. “They just come with little tiny sweaters, no snow boots.”

Taillefer said those crossing into Quebec include people from Iraq, Syria and Sudan — three of the seven countries from which travel into the U.S. was temporarily blocked under President Trump’s Jan. 25 executive order. The executive action has since been put on hold by federal courts and the administration is promising a new executive order to replace it.

Some crossing into Canada come from Eritrea in Africa, Taillefer said. And many are from Latin America, according to Reyes.

The border-crossers fall mainly into two groups: Some had set their sights on Canada from the start and just travel through the U.S. to get there.

“They leave their home countries and basically just use a U.S. visa to be able to come to Canada more easily,” Taillefer said.

Others lived for months or even years in the U.S. before deciding to try Canada.

“Some of them were illegal, some of them had actually made refugee claims in the United States, but they decided to drop all that and come to Canada to claim instead,” Taillefer said. “The other thing that we’ve noticed since November more particularly is they’re afraid of the new U.S. administration … Even if they’re legally there as refugee claimants, they’re afraid that because of the current climate they might not be well perceived by the population.”

Reyes said that among the border-crossers served by her agency are many unauthorized immigrants from Latin America who cross the New York state border into Canada.

Some had been in the U.S. for years, she said.

“Their plan was to stay in the states but after Trump they decided to keep going,” Reyes said.

Taking its toll

One hotspot for illegal crossings is near Emerson, Manitoba, where on Saturday night alone, Canadian police intercepted 22 people illegally crossing over from the U.S., according to police.

Greg Janzen, an official in the town, told Canadian networks CTV and CBC that the big increase in border-crossers makes him worry about safety of his community’s residents and whether the town has enough resources to serve all the migrants and asylum-seekers coming in.

Reyes told ABC News the Scalabrini Centre in Montreal, which primarily helps migrants find assistance, including legal services, French language instruction and food, usually serves 20 people a year who have come across the U.S. border. Now in just the first six weeks of 2017 that number has jumped to 50, she said.

Taillefer similarly told ABC News that over the past few weeks the number of refugee claims he’s handling has risen sharply, which is starting to “take its toll” on his work. He said while he usually has one or two new refugee claimants per week, for the past two or three weeks, he has had over 10 a week, and this past week had about 15.

“We’re talking about hearings for refugee claims that are almost every day, and we’re talking about very tight delays,” he said.

At the law enforcement level, though, police said the flow of people is still manageable.

The Royal Canadian police told reporters Monday that while they are busier now and require more “manpower,” they are not in “emergency mode” and the border crossings are still managed at the local level.

“At the ports of entry, the RCMP works closely with its domestic and U.S. partners to address cross-border criminality,” the police said in an emailed statement. “Cooperative efforts have demonstrated that we can respond to the evolving threat environment encountered at the border.”

From an illegal crossing to a quest for legal residency

“Crossing the Canadian border without reporting at a port of entry is illegal,” making the person crossing subject to arrest and possible penalties, Canadian police said in an emailed statement to ABC News.

Whenever surveillance cameras pick up images of people crossing, patrols are dispatched to greet those coming in, authorities said.

If the person who has crossed illegally applies for asylum, which is a claim for refugee status, they are taken to the country’s border services agency where they can fill out paperwork and may be eligible for a hearing within 45 days. When a review board finds that asylum applicants are eligible to stay — such as on the basis that they are at risk of persecution in their home country — it grants them “protected person” status, which allows them to stay in Canada and apply for permanent residency. When people’s asylum claims are rejected, they have to leave Canada.

In the Montreal area, if people have valid identification documents, once they are processed they can stay at a YMCA for up a few weeks and then can move into an area apartment, according to Taillefer. But now housing is stretched thin; Taillefer said the YMCAs are running out of space and some people are being sent to homeless shelters while they wait for a permanent address.

Pushback

The surge in illegal crossings is raising some concerns, including among some conservative officials in Canada.

Ted Falk, a member of the Canadian Parliament whose district includes Emerson, Manitoba, told the CBC that, “We have a port of entry for a reason because that’s where we expect people that want to enter into our county to come.”

Falk told CBC he hasn’t heard that any of those who have crossed the border recently may pose a threat but he suggested that is a concern.

“Quite often [the asylum seekers] come in the middle of the night, they pound on the door, ring the doorbell, tap on the glass. Some [residents] are quite anxious about that situation,” Falk said.

Another conservative, Michelle Rempel, told CBC that people should be reminded that illegal crossings aren’t permitted.

“We shouldn’t be romanticizing this to anyone who is considering this as an option,” Rempel said. “Do we have the resources in place to enforce these laws? I think we have to stay on top of that.”

But Taillefer said when he sees images of families crossing with strollers, “It’s a bit hard to be tough on them. It kind of melts the heart.”

“I think that the attitude is basically we’re better off welcoming them in than being repressive because that’s just going to complicate things,” he said.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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