Liberals Failing to Address Illegal Border Crossings

At committee last week I asked pointed questions during a parliamentary committee to Liberal Ministers on their government’s response to the illegal border crossings by asylum seekers. The Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration invited Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen and Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale to brief Members of Parliament and to make themselves available for questions.

It is clear the Liberal government has no concrete plan to deter illegal border crossings. Their inaction is costing millions of tax dollars and there is no end in sight.  There are extraordinary costs to Canadian taxpayers and there is no sense of fairness with these individuals jumping the queue ahead of other immigrants and refugees who have been waiting years to legally enter into our country.

It is illegal to enter Canada between official points of entry, which is the technical term for a border crossing. People who are intercepted by the RCMP or local law enforcement after crossing the border illegally are brought to the nearest Canada Border Service Agency (CBSA) port of entry or inland CBSA or Immigration office (whichever is closest), where an immigration officer will conduct an immigration examination, including considering whether detention is warranted.

During the committee meeting, Minister Hussen admitted that the Liberal government has not approached the American administration to renegotiate the Safe Third County Agreement and close the loophole which allows people to make asylum claims after entering Canada through illegal points of entry.

Other government officials testified before the committee and when asked about the percentage of asylum claims by those coming to Canada illegally, and the percentage of those claims being rejected, they did not answer. However, reports say Canada is only able to process 14,500 asylum seekers each year with existing resources. So far in 2017, over 32,000 asylum seekers have made their way into Canada and that number is expected to hit 40,000 by year end.

It is estimated the vast majority of these illegal border crossers will be deported, but only after draining resources intended for legitimate refugees and asylum seekers. In fact, even under the Liberal government’s previous rules, 50% of Haitian refugees were rejected.

Of the 412 claims from Haitians decided on by the Immigration Refugee Board in 2016, only 207 were accepted, while 197 were rejected, and eight were dropped one way or another. (In the first quarter of 2017 only 35% of applicants were successful, while only 40% of applicants were successful in 2015).

Last week at committee, it was also confirmed that the Liberal government is expediting the provision of health coverage to people who have made asylum claims after entering Canada through illegal points of entry.  They also reported that work permits are being expedited for people who made asylum claims after entering Canada illegally.

During the committee, I also raised the issue of how CBSA is failing to remove unsuccessful asylum seekers after their claim has been denied.  He referenced the department’s performance report that revealed only 47% of those failed asylum claimants are being deported within 12 months.

In a direct question to Minister Goodale, I asked how many of the failed asylum seekers who are still in Canada have slipped through the cracks. Specifically he wanted to know how many of them the government has lost track of.  In response, Goodale did not answer the question and tried to deflect by asking his officials to talk about the process rather than reveal the number.

The officials were unable to provide the committee with the number of failed asylum claimants for whom a deportation order has been issued, or the number of these people whose location is unaccounted for.  They also recognized the truthfulness of reports from frontline CBSA officers who flagged that the amount of time spent during the initial processing of illegal border crossers has been significantly reduced since the illegal border crossing crisis began this year. 

I will continue to hold the Liberals accountable on the issue of illegal border crossings.

The Liberals need to immediately address the illegal border crossings across the country and in places such as Emerson, Manitoba. This includes strongly condemning this practice as unsafe and developing a plan to address procedural, legislative and resourcing issues which continue to facilitate this crisis.

At committee last week I asked pointed questions during a parliamentary committee to Liberal Ministers on their government’s response to the illegal border crossings by asylum seekers. The Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration invited Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen and Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale to brief Members of Parliament and to make themselves available for questions.

At committee last week I asked pointed questions during a parliamentary committee to Liberal Ministers on their government’s response to the illegal border crossings by asylum seekers. The Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration invited Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen and Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale to brief Members of Parliament and to make themselves available for questions.

 


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