A group of migrants from the U.S wait to cross illegally into Canada at a known point in Quebec. (Charles Krupa-AP)

Cost of migrants crossing “irregularly” into Canada average $14K each

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It is illegal to cross into Canada anywhere other than at an official border point. The Trudeau government however has changed the terminology from illegal crossing to irregular crossing.

After crossing they require processing.

A new government report says the illegal or irregular Parliamentary Budget Officer Yves Giroux has cost taxpayers about $340 million for 2017-18, and that figure is expected to rise to almost $400 million in 2019-20. The report released late last week is called Costing Irregular Migration Across Canada’s Southern Border

Parliamentary Budget Officer, Yves Giroux (Privcy Council Office-handout)

It puts the cost for each migrant crossing illegally into Canada, at and average of $14,321.

The figure varies depending on the speed of the claim, whether it’s accepted at the first hearing, or whether they appeal decisions and exhaust all legal avenues and are deported. A simple case would cost around $10,000, a more complex case with deportation around $34,000

The higher cost figure ($16,666) for this year is due to increased wait times for claimants to have their claims heard, meaning additional social aid costs.

The costs mentioned are at the federal level only for services such as the RCMP (police), Canadian Border Services Agency, Immigration-Refugees-and-Citizenship Canada, and the Immigration Refugee Board.  The cost figures do not include costs incurred by the provinces or municipalities.  Ontario alone estimates its cost at about $200 million a year, with just the city of Toronto seeking over $64 million

A group of asylum seekers leave Olympic Stadium to go for a walk, in Montreal on Wednesday, Aug. 2, 2017. The stadium was being used as temporary housing to deal with the influx of asylum seekers arriving from the United States. The cost figure of over $14 ,000 on average does not include provincial and municipal costs, only federal. (Ryan Remiorz/Canadian Press)

The influx of migrants began in early 2017 after the U.S announced it would end temporary protected status for thousands of migrants living in the U.S. and following a tweet from the Canadian Prime Minister saying Canada welcomed people.

The federal government earmarked $173 million over two years to deal with migrants based on estimates of 5,000-8,000 claims but there have been almost 35,000 claims since the influx began.

PBO officer Giroux says the government amount “falls short significantly” and that the lack of funds will only result in further backlogs of up to five or six years in some cases before the claims can be heard.

CPAC- How much does irregular migration cost

Additional information-sources

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