Canadian Government Cracking Down On Asylum Laws



More than two years after his infamous #WelcomeToCanada tweet declaring his nation open to all, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is facing a border crisis of his own due to an “elevated number” of refugees and illegal border crossers. So, his government is moving to close a legal loophole often exploited by those claiming asylum.

The government’s 2019 budget includes a provision which would prevent refugees from seeking asylum if they made similar claims in countries with whom Canada has an immigration information-sharing agreement, such as the U.S. and U.K.

It stipulates that “failed asylum claimants who entered into Canada at irregular crossings or between official ports of entry will also be removed on a priority basis.”

The 392-page omnibus budget bill also calls for increased spending on enforcement to deal with the rise in asylum seekers and illegal border crossings that has “challenged the fairness and effectiveness of Canada’s asylum system.”

One of the reasons why more aliens are trying to cross illegally is because the Safe Third Country Agreement between the U.S. and Canada says asylum-seekers are prohibited from claiming refugee protection in Canada if they arrive at an official border checkpoint from a safe country, such as the U.S.

According to Globalnews, an internal memo prepared for Canada’s immigration minister prior to a January 2018 meeting with then-Secretary of Homeland Security Kristjen Nielsen showed the Canadians were increasingly concerned the effectiveness of the agreement, which it maintained was “no longer working as intended.”

In an effort to sidestep the law, the memo said asylum seekers were “crossing into Canada between ports of entry where the agreement does not apply. This has brought to our attention gaps that may be creating a pull factor for people to cross illegally into Canada.”

Like its southern neighbor, the Canadian government has been struggling to deal with the surging numbers of illegal immigrants in the last few years, specifically financing enough immigration judges to respond to asylum claims.

The 2018 budget allocated an additional $72 million to the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB) over two years to increase capacity so they can deal with the growing number of refugee protection claims. Last year, there were almost 30,000 preapproved refugee arrivals, which is distinct from asylum claims.

Just as radical activists and open-border advocates in the U.S. have criticized efforts to enforce the nation’s immigration laws, groups in Canada fired up their rhetoric and fear-mongering too.

“We are shocked that the government would use an omnibus budget bill to strip away human rights protections from vulnerable refugee claimants,” said Maureen Silcoff, Litigation Committee Chair of the Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers. “Removing these protections will result in costly legal challenges, and is bound to create further delay and confusion in the refugee system.”

One could assume from of those “costly legal challenges” would be lodged by Silcoff and her associates.

Since the surge of illegal crossings began in 2017, the Canadian government has also struggled to house the growing numbers. They were forced to open up Olympic Stadium in Montreal as a temporary shelter, and the Canadian military was tasked with building other shelters to process the asylum seekers crossing into Quebec.

The problem of illegal border crossings goes both ways. Data released in March by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), shows 4,316 people were apprehended along the border last year, up from 3,027 in 2017 and 2,283 in 2016.

Although the U.S. has a less-than-cooperative partner along the southern border, perhaps there is some hope for closing legal loopholes and stopping violations of immigration law on both sides of the northern border.

About Author

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Jennifer joined FAIR as Web Content Writer in 2017 and brings to the role extensive communications and media background. She began her career as a policy research analyst on multiple national and state political campaigns before entering journalism. In addition to spending over a decade writing for several broadcast and print news outlets, Jennifer directed communications strategy for a member of Congress and a military nonprofit.

5 Comments

  1. avatar

    I see that the joke is now on “open arms Trudeau!” Thankfully, for Canada, its citizens and ours are seeing the light which is what the U.S. Congress needs to do — and sooner than later!

  2. avatar

    “…the Safe Third Country Agreement between the U.S. and Canada says asylum-seekers are prohibited from claiming refugee protection in Canada if they arrive at an official border checkpoint from a safe country, such as the U.S.” Why don’t we have one with Mexico? If we had one with them, we wouldn’t have to accept any of the asylum claimers.

  3. avatar
    Yazmin Linares on

    Yaaaaaayyyy go PM Trudeau very happy to hear that at least 2 countries one being Israel & now Canada are doing the sane thing about Borders, now this country needs to get serious about it too !!!!

  4. avatar

    The left in this country will of course take no notice of what the supposedly “enlightened” country of Canada is attempting to do. Their scorn and contempt is directed at our citizens for wanting the very same thing.

    Notice now how much “analysis” by the media is simply nothing more than the same spin they always do. A New York Times story today : “Analysis: The border is broken. And there’s no plan to fix it”. And who do they fault? Three guesses and they are all Trump. Not a word about how House Democrats forced a reduction in beds in detention centers in the last budget deal, or the Ninth Circuit judges that have tied the hands of the Border Patrol and ICE and forced mass releases. Or how Congress could address these issues tomorrow but refuses to do so.

    Bernie was asked at a town hall meeting why he was for open borders. And right from the Democratic script, he said he was not for open borders and “what we need is comprehensive immigration reform”, which is nothing but amnesty. How you can say you are not for open borders but then urge an amnesty that will legalize every illegal here, and thereby encourage even more to come, is a bit of a mystery. The left claims they don’t want open borders, but they fight every attempt to shut off the flow of illegals and want to reward them with a “path to citizenship”.

    From the can they get any stupider dept., Joy Behar said on The View that the solution was to “build houses in their countries so they will stay there”. And then we build houses for their 5 and 6 kids in a few years? And it’s guaranteed they will not do what they do now, which is sell or mortgage the house to finance a journey here? Naturally, the money for this pie in the sky scenario is apparently to be added on to the other liberal pipe dreams, which total well over a hundred trillion already. Or we could just do the only thing that can and will work, tell them to stay and improve their own countries because they are not coming here.

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