March’s warmer weather has nearly tripled the number of asylum seekers crossing illegally into Canada from the United States since January. According to Canadian authorities, 887 asylum seekers were caught walking across the border last month, bringing the total number of asylum seekers caught to 1,860 so far this year.
At this pace, Canada will probably see the highest number of asylum claims in six years.
“Under the Canada-U.S. Safe Third Country Agreement, Canada is required to turn asylum seekers away if they try to file refugee claims at land border crossings. But if people cross the border in between formal crossings, they are taken into custody and questioned by both police and border authorities, then allowed to file claims and stay in Canada while they await the outcome,” according to a report in Reuters.
Refugee advocates say that the Safe Third Country Agreement encourages illegal crossings into Canada.
Nearly half of the people surveyed in a Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll released in March “wanted to deport people illegally crossing into Canada from its southern neighbor.”
According to a statement from the office of Canada’s Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale, “The majority of irregular migrants are holders of visas for the United States. Canadian authorities are managing the increase in asylum seekers in a sound and measured way. … To be clear – trying to slip across the border in an irregular manner is not a ‘free’ ticket to Canada.”
Government data showed that most of this year’s asylum seekers caught crossing illegally were taken into custody in Quebec, because Roxham Road, which straddles Champlain, New York, and Hemmingford, Quebec, has become the most well-known illegal crossing.
Manitoba and British Columbia are two other high-traffic areas for illegals.
One woman, 43-year-old Michelle Omoruyi, has been charged by Canadian officials with human smuggling and conspiracy to commit human smuggling after police found her driving nine West African asylum seekers across the U.S. border into the province of Saskatchewan last Friday night.
The nine West Africans, on the other hand, have filed refugee claims and are not in custody.
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