Facing a surge of asylum seekers, Canada moves to stem the tide
Jennifer G. Hickey
In the wake of Donald Trump winning the 2016 election on the promise of strong immigration enforcement, Liberal Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau sought to establish his open border bona fides. And being from a younger generation, Twitter was the obvious place to go.“To those fleeing persecution, terror & war, Canadians will welcome you, regardless of your faith. Diversity is our strength #WelcomeToCanada,” tweeted Trudeau.What happened next was entirely predictable – applications for asylum to Canada skyrocketed. According to the Pew Research Center, Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Board received 50,420 asylum applications in 2017 — more than double the 23,930 the number of applications made in 2016.The surge was entirely foreseeable, yet apparently not entirely desirable. Trudeau’s government has since clamped down on applications in an effort to dissuade asylum seekers from coming to Canada.According to Reuters, just 40 percent of claims made by those crossing the border in the first three months of 2018 were approved, which is down from 53 percent for all of 2017.While the majority heading toward U.S. borders are from South and Central America, Nigerians and Haitians comprise the largest segment of potential immigrants to Canada. Of the 15,000 on Canada’s deportation list, 900 are Nigerians.Recognizing the situation along its borders and at its ports of entry was intolerable, the Canadian government recently dispatched Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen to Nigeria to plead with officials in the African nation to help dissuade Nigerians from traveling to Canada via the U.S.“They will take that opportunity onward to use that messaging from us to remind people that crossing the border irregularly is not a free ticket to Canada and that there’s consequences,” said Hussen during his African trip.If Prime Minister Trudeau had used that messaging in the first place, they would not have a problem with asylum seekers today.
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