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Immigrants Enter Canada from the U.S.

March 15th, 2017

Canadian flag waving against a blue sky

Photo by t47360 / Creative Commons

In the month of January alone, 452 people have claimed asylum at the Quebec border, over triple the amount that had applied one year prior. In Manitoba, 99 asylum-seekers have been detained at the border since the New Year. Many attribute this surge to the current political climate in the United States.

“The rhetoric in the U.S. against foreigners, migrants, refugees and against specific groups has prompted some of them to feel they were potentially at risk in the U.S., of not having access to a fair process in the U.S., and those decided to come to Canada,” said Jean-Nicolas Beuze, the UN refugee agency’s representative in Canada, on CBC’s Power & Politics.

A CBC reporter asked one Turkish man why he was leaving the U.S., to which he replied, “because it’s not safe.”

The border crossings became national news when a Ghanaian refugee nearly died when he crossed the Canadian border into Manitoba on Christmas Eve, after a judge denied his request for asylum. His journey in the freezing winter temperatures led to severe frostbite, which resulted in the man losing all his fingers.

These illegal crossings are meant to avoid the Third Country Agreement between Canada and the US. The agreement, implemented in 2002 after 9/11, means that refugees must request protection in the first safe country they arrive in, with some exceptions present in the agreement. If one does not meet any exceptions, then their request to enter Canada will be denied. The catch is, the agreement only applies to those entering the country at land border crossings, by train, or at airports, meaning that refugees are crossing the border illegally in an attempt to override the agreement and avoid these restrictions.

If the RCMP catch an illegal entry, the illegal immigrants will be arrested for questioning and either be processed for refugee protection in Canada, or be rejected.

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