View Full Version : Canada wants to curb surge in walk-in asylum seekers from US

08-18-2017, 05:07 AM

Ottawa (AFP) - Canadian officials warned Thursday against entering the country unchecked through backwoods in an effort to curb a surge in asylum seekers coming on foot from the United States.

Landing in Canada "is not an automatic ticket to being accepted here as a refugee," Transportation Minister Marc Garneau told a press conference in the Quebec border town Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle, about 60 kilometers (38 miles) south of Montreal.

The town has witnessed a recent dramatic spike in walk-in asylum seekers.

"Those who might wish to seek asylum (must) fully understand the rules under which we operate, which is that unless you are being persecuted or fleeing terror or war, you would not qualify as a refugee," Garneau said.

"It is important to combat that misinformation that is out there," he said.

Officials told a briefing that the government "strongly discourages" anyone from skirting border checkpoints, saying it is both illegal and dangerous.

Most of the recent arrivals are Haitians who face expulsion from the United States after President Donald Trump said that he would not extend temporary asylum granted to 60,000 Haitians affected by a devastating 2010 earthquake.

Their special status is due to expire at the end of the year.

Officials noted that less than 50 percent of refugee claims by Haitian nationals in 2016, when the wave of walk-ins began, were successful. The rest were ordered out of the country.