Unlike the traditional belief of America becoming the hardest country to immigrate to, Canada has shown new statistics to prove otherwise. Since the election of U.S. President Donald Trump, Canadians have been turned away from the US border less than the previous years+. Numbers from the Canada Border Service Agency has shown a significant spike from last year’s numbers of refusals for American travelers seeking to cross the border into Canada not just for visits but also immigrating to Canada. While many people have been concerned about having issues at the American border, it is the Americans who are being turned away at the Canadian border. The number of border refusals for Americans has increased by 31% from last year. ++
According to federal documents, in 2014, 7509 American citizens were refused to enter Canada, each year from then it has risen. In 2015, 23,052 Americans in 2016, 30,233 Americans were denied entry to Canada. Immigration experts expect that number to rise above 35,000 in 2017. The sharp increase of denied entry from the US to Canada has forced Americans into illegal immigration. Many Americans who are feeling unsafe in their country are voluntarily walking to Canada with the intention of becoming detained in Canada after crossing the border illegally. In 2013, there was a new intelligence sharing agreement between Ottawa and Washington that likely played a role in starting the increase of Americans denied at the border. Under this agreement, Canadian border agents can detect Americans with criminal records more quickly. An immigration lawyer has mentioned some of his cases, “We receive many more demands from people who traveled for years to Canada without a problem and who are now refused entry for a drinking and driving infractions that dates back 40 years”. ++
Roxham Road is a popular illegal crossing point between the New York and Quebec border. At the end of Roxham Road, there are RCMP officers (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) greeting people crossing the border illegally with a smile and handcuffs ready. This road has been known to represent the flight of those who no longer feel safe and welcome in America anymore, but they know that they cannot enter Canada through customs. In the first two months of 2017, the RCMP officers intercepted 677 asylum seekers crossing the Quebec border according to The Canadian Press. The RCMP spokesman Const. Enrique Gasse says “We give them a warning that if you pass the border, we are going to arrest you.” Gasse continues “This is not very common in our job, but when we say that, they start walking towards us!”
Officers have been seen to help assist women and carry kids over the ditch that crosses between the two countries. These kind actions of helping families seek asylum by illegally crossing the border has received tremendous media attention. “They tell us they are interested in the story because of the way we treat them when they cross the border. For us, it’s a crime. We arrest them. We do our police work. But in other parts of the world they aren’t as warm as here in Canada.”+++ The kindness that Canada has shown the world has been a great source of debate between Canadians who take pride in their generosity and those who have more conservative views on the subject. Kevin O’Leary is a Conservative leadership candidate who reportedly said he would use the notwithstanding clause of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms to ensure people who “sneak across the border” will not be able to claim charter protections and receive Canadian benefits+++. Another leadership candidate, Maxime Bernier, vowed that he would deploy the military to border points such as Rodham Road. Both candidates have made their voices heard on their opinion of the asylum seekers.
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Many people believe the people who are crossing the US-Canada border illegally are tapping into the loophole that Canada provides. Canada is part of the Safe Third Country Agreement which allows a person to make a refugee claim in Canada as long as they do not enter the country at an official port of entry++++. So once the refugee passes through a non-official port, such as the Roxham Road, they are taken in and processed as a refugee who can claim refugee status to stay in Canada.
Immigration Lawyers have taken it upon themselves to represent many of these asylum seekers. Eric Taillefer, a Montreal immigration lawyer, has represented many of the travelers who pass through on the Roxham Road. “What the agreement does, it forces people to enter Canada by any means that they can find, whether it be hiding in a car, crossing through the woods or finding any other kind of method of crossing.” Immigration specialists say that although the agreement does increase numbers of illegal immigration if the contract were suspended it would double the number of legal refugees in Canada.
Plattsburgh Cares is a coalition of social groups, faith-based organizations and others in the city about 25 kilometers south of the border who are trying to stop anti-immigration ideals. Jo Ellen Miamo, one of the founders of Plattsburgh Cares, says “Our hearts are really broken that this has tarnished who we feel we still are. The best thing we can do is articulate that we are determined to hang on to the values that are fundamental to the United States of America. Another one of the Plattsburgh Cares founders, Carole Slatkin, added: “Somehow this country seems to have lost sight that it was founded by immigrants.” Out on the Roxham Road, these asylum seekers are not waiting to see if America can grasp that idea again but instead are immigrating to Canada for a better chance at life.
Even though statistics have shown more Americans are being turned away, Canadians have taken into their own hands the dangers of traveling over the U.S. border. The Toronto District School Board, which represents over 245,000 students in its district, has suspended school trips to the United States. The board officials allegedly blamed Trump’s past travel bans which banned future visitors and immigrants from Iran, Syria, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen, and Libya. “We strongly believe that our students should not be placed into these situations of potentially being turned away at the border,” the Toronto District School Board director John Malloy said+++++.
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Source: + https://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2017/03/29/americans-increasingly-refused-entry-to-canada-documents-show.html ++ http://www.travelpulse.com/news/impacting-travel/americans-are-having-a-harder-time-getting-into-canada-too.html +++ http://www.maharlikanews.com/2017/03/30/a-smile-and-arrest-welcome-asylum-seekers-to-canada/ ++++ http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatoon/trump-muslim-safe-1.3972353 +++++ https://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2017/03/29/americans-increasingly-refused-entry-to-canada-documents-show.html
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