The issue of illegal border crossings was the crux of a meeting Tuesday between U-S diplomats and the leaders of two Manitoba municipalities.

Elizabeth Moore Aubin, acting head of the U-S Embassy, toured Emerson and Gretna, and also met with border officials and municipal leaders for a closer look at the spike in people walking across the border to make a refugee claim in Canada.

Don Wiebe, reeve for Rhineland Municipality says the visit also included a stop at the new reception centre for refugee claimants in Gretna.

"She wanted to see first hand what was happening in Emerson and also see the connection to the community of Gretna where she spent some time at the reception centre. We had a bit of a discussion on what this feels like for the residents of these small communities."

Meanwhile, Emerson-Franklin reeve Greg Janzen says the tour also included the Tolstoi border crossing where they took some time to survey the landscape to see what the area looks like and how it could be monitored better.

Janzen says, while he's not sure if much will change as a result of the visit, the fact that such a high-ranking diplomat took some time to see what's happening on the ground shows that people are paying attention to the growing concern.