Canadian Government Weighing Solutions to Mounting Refugee Crisis

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( — July 18, 2018) —

Canadian Government Weighing Solutions to Mounting Refugee Crisis

On Monday, the Canadian government announced that it will be convening an emergency session to address the mounting refugee crisis. There is an influx of asylum seekers who are entering Canada illegally from the United States via unofficial border crossings in Manitoba, Quebec and Ontario.

The hearing was held in response to a call from Conservative and New Democratic Party MPs who are also seeking a response from the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, Ahmed Hussen.

So far, in the first part of 2018, over 7,600 asylum seekers have crossed into Canada.  The majority of these refugees are entering into Canada illegally via vulnerabilities along the border. The refugees who enter Canada illegally are provided with shelter, food and healthcare services. The increasing number of illegal refugees is putting a strain on resources, especially in Montreal and Toronto, where there is a shortage of space to house more refugees.

Notably, asylum seekers who try to enter Canada at legal border crossings can be turned away due to a third-country agreement between Canada and the United States, which allows refusal of entry when the asylum seekers already have been granted protection by the other country. Yet, those who cross into the country illegally unable to be turned away legally. As such, the current policy seemingly encourages illegal crossings into Canada.

The NDP and the Conservatives are both supporting the call to address the pressing issue of refugees, but are coming at it from divergent angles. The NDP have called for the meeting “to discuss the lack of support” for the asylum seekers while on the other hand, the Conservatives want to review the government’s response to the “border crisis.”

Toronto Mayor John Tory dismissed the Liberal government’s promise to provide US$38 million in funds to assist with the absorption of refugees, stressing that at least US$48.7 million is needed to effectively deal with the situation.

Canada currently has over sixty programs which govern legal immigration to the country, according to Toronto immigration lawyer, Ronen Kurzfeld.  Yet, the pressing issue of the refugees arriving illegally remains unsolved and with no clear cut solutions on the immediate horizon. The committee did agree to meet again at least twice before the beginning of August, with the federal immigration and public safety ministers attending as well.