The number of asylum and refugee claimants entering Canada has surged despite the government’s decision to shut down the illegal Roxham Rd. border crossing.
Despite a dip in the number of people crossing into Canada illegally after Canada amended its Safe Third Country Agreement with the United States, crossings have exploded.
According to data, 12,010 asylum seekers came to Canada via airports or by illegally crossing the land border.
That figure is the highest it’s been since January 2017. In March alone, another 10,120 asylum seekers arrived in Canada.
At least a third of those were migrants who flew to Canada and made refugee claims upon arrival.
Among the locations asylum seekers are arriving from include Mexico, Turkey, India, Colombia and Haiti.
According to some groups which help refugees make asylum claims, many are arriving in Canada with the help of illegal smugglers and deciding to hide for weeks or months until they make a claim at an immigration office in order to skirt Canada’ immigration laws.
According to FCJ Refugee Centre in Toronto, up to 30% of arrivals came to Canada using smugglers.
Additionally, new asylum claimants are having trouble finding accommodations and some are even forced out onto the streets or into homeless shelters.
Recent data out of Toronto shows that 30% of the population in homeless shelters consisted of refugee and asylum claimants.
“We’re running about 9,000 beds per night in the shelter system, and right now about 2,700 of those beds on a nightly basis are being utilized by refugee claimants,” said Gord Tanner who oversees the city’s shelter system.
“We are trying our best to string people into the programs that best meet their needs. But at this time, it’s been very difficult with the high number of people arriving.”