May 16, 2017 – New figures show Quebec is the dominant receiving province for would-be asylum seekers crossing the U.S.-Canada border illegally.
While the Canada-wide number of RCMP interceptions dropped slightly in April, figures rose in Quebec to 672 from 644 in March.
In 2017 overall, Canada has seen 2,719 interceptions in total, with 1,993 made in Quebec. Elsewhere, there have been 477 interceptions in Manitoba, 233 in British Columbia, 14 in Saskatchewan and one each in Alberta and New Brunswick.
April saw 859 interceptions made across Canada, down on the 887 seen in March but well above the 315 recorded in January, the month Donald Trump was inaugurated as U.S. president.
Since then Trump has attempted to sweep into power with a wave of anti-immigration policies following an election campaign when he promised to crack down on illegals.
Simply the perception that Trump wants to rid the U.S. of illegals and dramatically limit immigration has pushed many to look to Canada for refuge.
But under the Safe Third Country Agreement, an asylum seeker must claim refugee status in the country to which they arrive.
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It means asylum seekers cannot cross from the U.S. to Canada at recognized border points. Instead, they are forced to cross the border at unprotected outposts, allowing them to make a claim for asylum after being arrested.
There have been several calls for Canada to suspend the agreement, but both Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen say there are no plans to do this.
Meanwhile, the total number of Canada asylum claims reached 12,040 between January and April, suggesting 2017 could see the numbers double when compared to previous years.
The number already eclipses the total seen in 2013 (10,370), while 23,895 people claimed asylum in the whole of 2016.
If the current 2017 rate continues, Canada could see approaching 50,000 across the course of the year.
Officials from Canada and the U.S. in Montreal recently to discuss the problem of asylum seekers crossing the border.
The meeting included representatives from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
Canada says the majority of those crossing the border are in possession of U.S. visas, preferring to risk arrest here and try to become refugees in Canada rather than remain south of the border where they have legal status.
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