Dec 6, 2018 – A new report says each asylum seeker crossing at irregular border points from the U.S. costs Canada an average $14,321.
It means that those who arrived between April 2017 and March 2018 cost various federal bodies $340 million to process.
The parliamentary budget officer’s report projects irregular border-crossers expected to arrive in 2019 will cost a further $400 million.
As processing delays increase due to increasing demand on resources, the cost per person will rise to $16,666 by March 2020, the report projects.
Budget officer Yves Giroux says the cost will become an annual expense if the number of irregular border crossers does not decrease.
Latest figures show October saw the second-lowest numbers of 2018 for irregular border crossers from the U.S. to Canada.
However, the 1,394 people who made the crossing is still high compared to historical averages.
It means 17,120 irregular border crossers have been intercepted by RCMP officers in 2018. The number eclipses the 16,992 who made the journey in the first 10 months of 2017.
Figures: Government of Canada
The influx of irregular border crossers began in summer 2017, when U.S. President Donald Trump first threatened the Temporary Protected Status of thousands of Central and South Americans.
July and August 2017 saw the most irregular border crossers in the last two years, with 3,134 and 5,712 respectively crossing the border at unrecognized points.
Trump has continually said he would end TPS status for specific nationality groups. TPS is given to people from countries affected by war or environmental disasters, as part of a program established in the 1990s.
The border crossers choose to cross at unrecognized points due to the Safe Third Country Agreement.
The agreement says asylum seekers 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.
Immigration.ca Managing Partner Colin Singer was recently interviewed on CBC News on the asylum seeker issue. Watch the video here:
How Can Canada Stop Asylum Seekers Crossing Border?
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 overwhelming majority of those crossing the border have flooded into Quebec, 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 17,120 who have arrived in 2018, 16,298, or 95 per cent, came into Quebec, mainly via crossing point at Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle.
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