I am supporting a motion in the House of Commons that calls on the Liberal government to table a plan to stop the influx of people illegally entering Canada from the United States.
The motion was in response to the thousands of people who are using a loop-hole in the Safe Third Country Agreement to claim asylum in Canada.
The Safe Third Country Agreement with the United States was ratified to ensure claimants are required to request refugee protection in the first safe country, in which they arrive.
Because the agreement applies only to claimants who are seeking entry from the United States at land border crossings, by train or at airports, individuals are illegally crossing into Canada in order to sidestep the rules.
I support an orderly and compassionate immigration and refugee system.
What is currently transpiring is neither of those things.
It is unfair to those who have waited for years to come to Canada to see people just walk across the border and jump the que.
This situation is leading to massive backlogs and is costing taxpayers millions of dollars.
As of right now, there is no end in sight and it is projected there will be up to 400 asylum seekers a day this summer.
Most of the asylum seekers in 2018 are crossing the border in Quebec, where a camp has been set up by the military and federal officials.
In Manitoba for 2018, 49 interceptions of illegal border crossers took place in January and February, 53 in March, and 19 in the first week of April. This adds to the 1,018 illegal border crossers in 2017 that the RCMP intercepted.
With the number of people illegally crossing the border, which is three times higher than in the same period last year, the Province of Quebec has spoken out about the evolving situation as they do not have the resources or capacity to deal with the thousands of claimants.
In particular, the social costs and the housing shortage are straining their limited abilities. Quebec has asked the federal government for additional funds to pay for the $146 million in unprecedented expenses the province paid in 2017, when the situation began.
In recent weeks it was reported that Prime Minister Trudeau’s #WelcometoCanada tweet in 2017 caused confusion within government and created a massive influx of asylum inquiries.
According to the released documents, it was clear his tweet was directly related to individuals who believed they were all welcome to claim asylum in Canada.
There are many factors that are causing this influx of illegal border crossers, but Prime Minister Trudeau is also responsible due to his tweet that encouraged people to come to Canada.
I would argue he created false hope for many and we now have to deal with the thousands of people who have decided to illegally enter Canada to claim asylum.
In the fall, I took part in briefings at the Standing Committee of Citizenship and Immigration on the illegal border crossers.
During the Committee it was revealed it costs taxpayers close to $15,000 to $20,000 to process their case and to provide housing and other related social costs.
It was revealed that with the influx of new claimants, the backlog for the Immigration and Refugee Board has also skyrocketed and could take years to get caught up.
It will cost millions of dollars to process all the claims and the Liberal government just allocated even more funding in Budget 2018.
This new funding is above and beyond the costs to pay for social costs in the interim while claimants wait in line for their case to be heard.
There was also evidence provided at Committee that the federal government is failing to remove many of the individuals who have been deemed to be deported.
When I asked how many individuals the federal government has lost track of who have received a deportation order, they refused to provide the information and to date, they still have not responded to his inquiry.
I want our immigration system to operate in an orderly, planned, and safe manner.
I call on the Liberal government to table a real plan to stop this crisis before it gets any worse.