So far in 2017, 32,000 asylum seekers have entered Canada — and at least 13,000 of them illegally. Each one is costing taxpayers up to $20,000.
As the National Post reports, a senior official from Citizenship and Immigration Canada told Members of Parliament in testimony Thursday that about 80 staff members from his department are currently working on the influx of illegals.
Michael MacDonald, the director general of the department’s operations sector, was speaking to a joint session of the House of Commons standing committees on immigration and public safety.
MacDonald calls the total number of asylum seekers “a fairly significant increase” over the previous year’s figure of 24,000.
He suggested the government was responding well to the spike in numbers because it was providing work permit applications to the illegals so that “people get into the work force quicker.” MacDonald also said the asylum seekers were getting government health care as well.
But Conservative Immigration critic Michelle Rempel wonders just what the government is thinking when it provides these kind of services to illegals. “The better alternative is to ensure that people are playing by the rules, entering the country legally,” she told the Post. “We should not be encouraging people to enter the country illegally.”
Liberal Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen is satisfied that the border crisis is now under control. He told reporters on Thursday afternoon that the number of illegals crossing into Quebec from New York state has declined to 50 people per day, whereas during the summer months there were hundreds arriving daily.
MacDonald said it is difficult to determine exactly why the asylum seekers are choosing to come to Canada.
“Overall, it’s not any one particular reason that people are moving. Some people are very much fearing persecution for themselves, from their government,” he told the joint committee. “Others are just following a trend on social media.”
How many are coming because Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told them to in a now infamous January tweet hashtagged “WelcomeToCanada?” MacDonald could not even guess.
“That is not a specific question we ask,” he said.