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Migrants crossing illegally into Canada from the U.S to claim asylum increased dramatically last month. Figures show that after two months of a decline in such numbers, there was a sudden jump of 23 per cent of crossing and asylum claims in July.
It is illegal to enter Canada at any point other than an official border point, or port of entry. The Liberal government has however chosen the word “irregular” to classify those entering Canada outside of such official points
Most of the 1,634 people who have filed asylum claims crossed illegally into Canada at a well-known point at the Quebec from the U.S state of New York.
There was a high point of over 2,500 illegal entries into Canada in April, but then a decline to just over 1,800 in April, and over 1,200 in June, before the increase last month.
The Liberal government attributed the declines to their efforts to discourage asylum claimants, but has said this July spike was not unexpected as the same thing happened in 2017.
Conservative immigration critic Michelle Rempel, quoted in the Canadian Press said, “This is just reconfirmation that the government has made this a new and permanent stream of entry into the country. They owe it to the Canadian public to say how much this is going to cost”.
The Quebec government has already requested well over $100-million from the federal government to deal with the influx, while the city of Toronto, Ontario has said it needs about $60 million from the federal government to deal with the housing and other social needs arising from the numbers of asylum claimants moving into the city. It has labelled the situation a “crisis”. The province has estimated its costs at around $200 million.
- RCI: Aug 2018: Poll- two-thirds of Canadians say it’s a “crisis”.
- RCI: Jul 2018: fewer irregular crossings in June
- RCI: May 2018: US pamplets encourage illegal crossing
- RCI: Mar 2018: Quebec sends hefty bill to federal government
- RCI: Oct 2017: Refugee claims slowing system
However, the newly appointed federal minister for border security, Bill Blair, says the situation is not a crisis
The Liberal government has said it has set aside funds of $173 million to deal with improved border security, create temporary housing, and deal with the increasing backlog of asylum claims.
To date, there have been over 12,000 asylum claims made by migrants crossing illegally into Canada.