Trudeau Response To Quebec Border Crisis: Divert Refugees To Other Parts Of Canada

REUTERS/Chris Wattie

David Krayden Ottawa Bureau Chief
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The Trudeau government is planning to relieve pressure at an popular border crossing point in Quebec by sending the asylum-seekers to other border locations across Canada.

As the Globe and Mail reports, the Liberal government is not prioritizing blocking illegal entry into Canada.

The government has allocated most new spending for the federal immigration department not to enhancing border security to prevent illegal entry, but to providing more resources to cope with the existing situation.

In the finance department’s main estimates, released this week, the government revealed that $289.9 million will be allocated “to facilitate the entry of top talent and to support family reunification and protection of refugees.” Another $89.8 million will go to provide health care for refugees — whether they enter Canada legally or not.

As the Globe reports, most of the illegals are coming into Canada at an unofficial Roxham Road crossing, which is at the end of an abandoned road in southern Quebec on the New York border. Last year, more than 20,000 asylum seekers arrived at this juncture.

Immigration authorities quickly provided them with housing and health care at public expense while assessing their refugees claims. Most of the influx was due to a wave of Haitians coming from the U.S. who anticipated deportation at the hands of the Trump administration. Ultimately, only about 25 percent of them were judged to be bona fide refugees but deporting them back to the U.S. can be a problem because legal aid is available to fight the decision in court.

The federal government’s attitude that illegal immigration is inevitable is echoed by non-governmental organizations. “It doesn’t really matter who pays. They’re coming and we have to deal with it,” Stephan Reichhold told the Globe. Reichhold represents a number of Quebec immigration NGOs.

In addition to the measures announced in last February’s federal budget and defined in this week’s main estimates, the Liberal government will be providing $74 million to hire more immigration personnel to ask the asylum seekers if they would mind moving to another region in Canada if their refugee claim is accepted. Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver are key cities of interest.

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