Irregular border crossers from the United States to Canada remained above 2018 for the third consecutive month in August, recent number shows.
The month saw 1,762 asylum seekers stopped by the RCMP officials after crossing the Canadian border at an unrecognized border area, compared to 1,747 in the same month last year.
It means that after the numbers appeared to be steady in the first five months of 2019, the following three months should be of more concern to federal officials.
The year to the end of August has seen 10,343 people cross the border from the United States at unrecognized points in an effort to enter the Canadian asylum system.
At the same period of 2018, 14,125 migrants had been intercepted, with a total of 19,419 interceptions made in the year overall.
The huge majority of those who cross the border at unrecognized border areas do so into Quebec, into St Bernard De Lacolle.
In 2019, 10,076 of the 10,343 border crosser – or ninety-seven (97) per cent – were intercepted in Quebec.
The situation has become an election problem ahead of Canada’s October 21 vote.
The reigning Liberal government referencing it in its platform document, saying “we will … continue to corporate with the United States government to modernize the Safe Third Country Agreement”.
The bilateral agreements means that asylum seekers have to claim refugee status in the first ‘safe’ country at which they first arrive.
It means that asylum seeker first arriving in the United States are not allowed to cross-border into Canada to claim refugee status. If they try to cross into Canada from the United States at recognized border points, they are intercepted and turned back.
But, border crossers are allowed to claim refugee status if they have already entered Canada, which is why over 40,000 crossed at irregular border points in 2017 and 2018 as they try to run from Donald Trump’s U.S. immigration crackdown.
Meanwhile, Canada federal government sought to change the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act to try and put to an end the flow of asylum seeker who enters the United States.
The change, part of Bill C-97 that was passed on June 2019, means asylum seeker who had initially made a refugee claim in another country could not then make a refugee claim in Canada.
It means that asylum seekers who come into Canada having first made a refugee claim in the United States, are not eligible or qualified to seek asylum in Canada.