October 29, 2018 – Canada has received more irregular border crossers from the U.S. claiming refugee status, in the first nine months of 2018 than it did in 2017, new figures show.
With more than 1,600 people crossing the border in September, the total for 2018 has reached 15,726, compared to 15,102 for the same period of 2017.
The figures serve to undermine federal government officials, who say the border situation is under control.
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While monthly figures have not reached the peaks of 2017, when more than 5,700 crossed the border and claiming refugee status in August, average monthly figures have been consistently high.
The 2018 numbers peaked in April, when 2,560 people crossed the border, with the figures over 1,500 in all but one of the other months.
As the Canadian winter sets in, the numbers are set to drop off towards the end of the year, but there remain concerns over the strain the steady stream is putting on Canada’s asylum system.
Figures: Government of Canada
The overwhelming majority of those crossing the border have flooded into Quebec to claim refugee status, where provincial officials have called on the federal government to pick up the bill for expenditure related to the issue.
The federal government is spreading those that arrive out across Canada to try and ease the burden on the French-speaking province.
However, out of the 15,726 who have arrived in 2018, 14,964, or 95 per cent, came into Quebec, mainly via crossing point at Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle.
Figures: Government of Canada. Note: All other provinces zero.
Federal government officials have refused to call the situation a crisis, despite calls to suspend the Safe Third Country Agreement with the U.S.
The agreement says asylum seekers claiming refugee status must apply for refugee status in the country where they land.
As a result, if the so-called irregular border crossers presented themselves at recognized border crossing points, they would be turned away.
Many are therefore blaming the agreement for forcing would-be asylum seekers to cross at unrecognized points.
Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Protection Act requires the countries considered ‘safe’ to be continually reviewed.
Government efforts to tackle the problem have centred around an information campaign.
The central message is that there is no guarantee of being allowed to stay in Canada for those crossing the border.
The original 2017 surge in irregular border crossing came after U.S. President Donald Trump began his crackdown on migrants with Temporary Protected Status (TPS) in the U.S.
Immigration.ca Managing Partner Colin Singer was recently interviewed on CBC News on the asylum seeker issue. Watch the video here:
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