Friday, 25 May 2018
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Trudeau govt cools on asylum seekers as numbers from US rise

Sayeed Muhammad: Canada has sharpened its tone towards asylum seekers, warning that simply traction through the border is not a “free ticket” to Canada as the number of migrants crossing from the US keeps soaring. Since the election of Donald Trump, growing numbers of asylum seekers have been entering Canada by foot, driven by fears over the US president’s approach to immigration, reports The Guardian. In 2017, over 20,000 people entered Canada at remote, unguarded locations along the border, sometimes braving freezing temperatures, fields of waist-deep snow and icy ditches. Doing so allows migrants to skirt a longstanding pact barring most refugee claimants in the US from applying for asylum in Canada. The flow of people  shows little sign of abating, with 7,300 people entering Canada irregularly this year – more than double the number of those who made the journey in the first four months of 2017. This week, Canadian officials sought to tone down the welcoming image they have cultivated since coming to power, offering instead a blunt warning to those considering making the crossing into Canada. “Coming across the border in a way that seeks to circumvent the law or defy proper procedure is no free ticket to Canada,” Ralph Goodale, the country’s public safety minister, said on Monday. Officials said they believe that more than 90% of those entering Canada do not meet the criteria to be considered refugees. “They must prove they need Canada’s protection to keep them safe,” said Goodale. “Seeking asylum is not a shortcut to get around normal immigration rules and procedures.”

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