Migrants wait for initial processing at the well-known "irregular" crossing point from the U.S into Canada, August 2017 (Reuters- Christinne Muschi)

Illegal migrant numbers into Canada increase in August

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The latest figures show the numbers of migrants crossing illegally into Canada has risen slightly in August.

New figures released show the Royal Canadian Mounted Police recorded 1,747 illegal entries last month, up by 113 from the number of migrants crossing in July with the total for the two months at some 3,300 individuals entering illegally.

Critics blame the influx on a January 28, 2017 tweet by Canada’s Prime Minister in reaction to U.S Prsident Trump’s position on immigration.

Justin Trudeau tweeted.  “To those fleeing persecution, terror & war, Canadians will welcome you, regardless of your faith. Diversity is our strength. #welcome to Canada”

Last year during July and August, some 8,800 crossed into Canada.

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale speaking of “irregular migrants” says the federal  Liberal government wants the refugee and immigration system to be secure, ‘but also humane and compassionate.’ (Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)

While this year’s summer figures are lower than last July and August, Conservative Party immigration critic Michele Rempel citing federal data said that total numbers from January to August are higher than the same period in 2017.

Recently assigned Liberal minister responsible for border security, Bill Blair, continued to defend the government’s action on the situation saying the government continues to take steps to stem the flow including talks with U.S. counterparts.

Feb 2017, a family crosses the ditch at a known but illegal entry point in Quebec shortly after Prime Minister Trudeau made a “welcome” tweet in reaction to U.S President Trump’s immigration policy. (Paul Chiasson-CP)

Quoted in the Canadian Press Michele Rempel said, “The situation is getting worse”.

Called “irregular” entrants by the government, there have been over 32,000 people who crossed into Canada at areas away from normal border entry points and filed asylum claims since January 2017.

Aug 7.2017: A group of migrants which has just been dropped off by taxi on the U.S side, prepares to cross illegally into Canada at Quebec. While the government says it is working to stem the tide, somehow the ditch has been filled in and smoothed over to make it easier for migrants to cross illegally into Canada from the U.S.. (Charles Krupa-AP)

Just over 13,600 of those claims have been processed so far this year. with about 64 per cent granted asylum.

While over 7,800 were accepted, over 4,300 were rejected while remaining claims were either abandoned or withdrawn.

However of the rejected claims only 398 have been deported, with close to half being sent back to the U.S where the majority had U.S. citizenship.

Quoted by the Toronto Star news, immigration law professor Sharry Aiken of Queen’s University in Kingston Ontario said, ““When removal orders become effective and are not enforced, it undermines the integrity of the system and the confidence in the system, but due process does take time with other legal remedies when a claim is refused”.

Following a heated meeting with Ontario’s minister for immigration, who complained about the federal government’s lack of action on illegal migration, Federal Immigration MInister Ahmed Hussen gave a news conference saying Ontario’s language was “fear mongering, divisive and un-Canadian” (CBC)

The flow of illegal migrants has put a strain on social services especially in Quebec where the majority cross, and in neighbouring Ontario and the city of Toronto.

Earlier this year the province of Quebec said the international border with the U.S was a federal issue and sent a bill to the federal government for $146 million to cover costs associated with the influx of migrants.

Later the mayor of Toronto said that city needed at least $70 million to cover their costs of dealing with migrants, while the provincial minister responsible for immigration said in July that Ontario needs about $200 million to cover costs of shelter and care for migrants.

As of the end of June, refugee board statistics indicated a backlog of over 55,500 asylum claims, although not all migrants came through unguarded border areas with the U.S.

A Global News report in March this year said in 2012, there were 291 foreigners ordered out on security grounds but who were still in the country, while the number as of the March report was over 1,100.

Additional information-sources

Categories: Immigration & Refugees, Politics, Society
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