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article imageIllegal crossings into Canada may reach crisis level

By Karen Graham     Apr 20, 2017 in Politics
Ontario - New figures released by the federal government show that illegal border crossings into Canada continue to rise, with 877 people picked up in March by the RCMP, an increase over the 658 people picked up in February and the 315 in January.
The numbers do not include those people coming into Canada through legal entry points along the Canada=U.S. border, nor do they include those immigrants that haven't been caught, so the number of asylum seekers could be much higher, according to CBC Canada.
CTV News is reporting that in February and March, many asylum seekers made the trek into Canada in the dead of night, putting themselves and their families at great risk in the freezing cold conditions, just to avoid being picked up by authorities.
The report also notes that many of the immigrants specifically say, Trump's stance on immigration and his ban on travel from seven Muslim countries are the reasons they are fleeing the U.S. A number of border towns, worried over the safety of the migrants, have opened up support centers.
An RCMP officer speaks with women from Sudan after they illegally crossed the Canada-US border near ...
An RCMP officer speaks with women from Sudan after they illegally crossed the Canada-US border near Hemmingford, Quebec
Geoff Robins, AFP/File
Perhaps even more worrisome is the fears that criminals may be coming into the country. Residents in Emerson, Manitoba are getting worried because they have seen a steady stream of illegal border crossers for several months.
“With not getting any of these numbers, and we know there are some criminals coming in through the mix of all these people jumping across the border, the local residents are getting a lot more concerned,” reeve Greg Janzen said.
Federal and Provincial officials need a plan
Scott Bardsley, a spokesman for Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale, told CBC Canada that most of the moves into Canada are carefully planned, with only a very few asylum seekers fleeing the US on the spur of the moment.
"These are people who feel they are in danger or at risk, and once they get themselves into Canada by whatever means, they claim asylum in this country for their personal protection," he said. "They represent only a fraction of all the newcomers we welcome every year and do not impinge on the regular system."
But even though the federal government is tracking the movement of asylum seekers, they are planning for any developments while still respecting the country's international obligations. Bardsley said the Canada Border Service Agency and RCMP have made "internal adjustments" like adding additional personnel.
Michelle Rempel
Not everyone is pleased with the situation
But not everyone is particularly pleased with the Liberal government's actions so far. Conservative immigration critic Michelle Rempel says provincial officials need more information on what the government has in the way of a plan to deal with the influx of immigrants, including budget considerations. Plus, she says Canada needs to send the world a clear message that the border crossings are illegal.
"The bottom line is that the government owes the public a plan on how to manage this situation which I think has the potential to turn into a crisis over the summer," she told CBC News. "This stay silent, go along to get along thing is not productive in the long run. It's not instilling confidence in Canadians that the government can manage the integrity of our border."
NDP immigration critic Jenny Kwan got right to the crux of the matter, saying the increase in border crossing is primarily due to President Trump's action and accusing the Liberal government of refusing to believe this was the issue. "Sticking their heads in the sand is not going to solve the problem," she told CBC.
More about canada border crossings, Illegal migrants, Rcmp, crisis level, provencial officials
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