The number of asylum claims made in the first four months of 2019 was higher than the first four months of 2018.

Approximately 17,290 people made refugee claims from the start of January to the end of April. Last year in that same time period 16,925 people filed refugee claims.

With RCMP border interceptions decreasing but the overall number of asylum claims increasing, its evident more individuals are coming to Canada under false pretences rather than illegally crossing the border. Foreign workers, foreign students and tourists are arriving in Canada and then making refugee claims upon arrival.  

True North has interviewed over a dozen asylum seekers who came here under one of those three categories.  

One example is a Caribbean woman who came here ostensibly to study for her undergrad in the arts. She received a student visa, flew to Toronto Pearson Airport and made a claim immediately after landing.

A major contributor to the increase in asylum claims is coming from Mexico. Since the Trudeau government waived the travellers visa requirement for Mexicans the claims from that country have skyrocketed, now nearing a 1,000% increase.

Despite the Trudeau government’s complete reversal on its former nonchalant stance towards “irregular” migrants entering Canada illegally in the tens of thousands, and the number of RCMP interceptions of people illegally entering the country decreasing late last year, the number of those crossing into Canada from unofficial ports of entry climbed again in April as well.

The number of people intercepted in the first three months of 2019 was 871, 800 and 967 respectively. In April 1,206 were intercepted by the RCMP. US President Donald Trump could very likely end the Temporary Protected Status program for tens of thousands of non-citizens who are currently living in America on humanitarian grounds. Trump ending other groups under the same program contributed to the spike in illegal border crossings into Canada.   

The inability to properly vet criminal records of some newcomers and the lack of transparency on the percentage of asylum seekers with serious criminal records all raise questions regarding the security risks involved with the current situation.  

The federal government’s 2019 initial monthly reports on the number of asylum claims made are subject to change. The Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) release preliminary data on the number of asylum claims, but those numbers aren’t final.

“To answer your question, please note that the asylum data posted on the IRCC site refers to claimant intake i.e. the number of claimants received at each office. Due to a variety of operational factors, including how the data is tracked within the system, there can be a slight delay before the information entered is backdated in order to more accurately reflect the date a claim is made. Generally speaking, it may take up to two monthly publication update cycles before the majority of data is settled,” says IRCC spokesperson Nancy Caron.

“Please note that the RCMP intercepts are tracked separately and do not undergo the same update process.”

Some of the data from the first couple of months actually lowered the initial total number of asylum claims from 12,940 to 12,900.