Asylum Seekers Flood Canada: Read Why

On March 8, firefighters in Emerson, Manitoba were taken by surprise, as they reached a shed to find 17 asylum seekers including a baby taking shelter from a major storm that blew through the area.

This isn’t the first time that refugees in such high numbers have crossed the border town. According to the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), 410 refugee claimants were intercepted near the Emerson port of entry while crossing into Canada between April 1 and December 8, 2016. A majority of these claimants are reportedly from Somalia and have been denied asylum in the U.S.

Reports indicate that asylum seekers are entering Canada to take advantage of a loophole in the Canada-U.S. Safe Third Country Agreement, according to which individuals who cross the border on foot outside of official crossing points are able to claim refugee status in Canada.

Here are a few statistics to understand the refugee issue better. Between January –September 2015 and January-September 2016, the total number of refugee claims spiked from 11,431 to 16,369 (an increase of 43%) at all offices of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). Take a look at data pertaining to top 10 source countries for refugee claims below:

Top 10 Source Countries – Refugee Claims at All Offices
CALENDAR YEAR YEAR TO DATE
2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2015 (Jan-Sep) 2016 (Jan-Sep) % Change
Nigeria 677 707 468 577 794 581 963 66%
Hungary 4,453 1,879 96 391 986 678 939 38%
China 1,793 1,663 773 1,192 1,497 1,139 911 -20%
Iraq 156 162 238 578 599 390 823 111%
Pakistan 893 862 635 771 898 639 781 22%
Syria 176 343 490 565 581 401 718 79%
Turkey 329 373 178 176 265 183 593 224%
Colombia 869 695 598 582 702 525 530 1%
Somali Democratic Republic 428 432 290 331 508 336 501 49%
Afghanistan 419 368 390 471 497 287 490 71%
Total Top 10 10,193 7,484 4,156 5,634 7,327 5,159 7,249 41%
Others 15,163 13,026 6,271 7,851 8,786 6,272 9,120 45%
Total 25,356 20,510 10,427 13,485 16,113 11,431 16,369 43%
Source:  IRCC(EDW) of November 10, 2016
* Other includes: other countries, stateless, unknown, missing and/or invalid data

Many of them are crossing the border by foot even as temperatures dip. In fact, two men from Ghana ended up at the burn ward of a Winnipeg hospital after getting lost near the Emerson border on Christmas Eve, while fleeing the United States on a cold winter day.

With extensive experience of 28 years, MCIS does plenty to help refugee claimants. We provide interpretation and translation services to help claimants and frequently work with Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) and IRCC. As a non-profit social enterprise, we also reinvest into communities by allocating a substantial chunk of our revenue to social benefit initiatives.

So, if you ever bump into a refugee claimant who is a Limited English Speaker, get them the help they need by asking them to visit our office or getting in touch with us over the phone.

Sources:

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/22-refugees-enter-manitoba-1.3969874

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/refugees-manitoba-emerson-crossing-1.3926754

Statistics: http://open.canada.ca/data/en/dataset/8a136ac4-951b-43fe-bac9-15d5b71a6f5c

Vivek Vijayapalan, Marketing and Communications Coordinator, March 29, 2017, Toronto, Ontario

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