644 people crossed border into Quebec illegally so far in 2017: RCMP
Published Thursday, April 20, 2017 9:23AM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, April 20, 2017 6:38PM EDT
A spokesman for Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale says Ottawa is reviewing the latest figures showing the number of people stopped by the RCMP after illegally entering Canada has climbed by more than 500 since January.
Last month, the RCMP intercepted 887 people crossing between official border points, with 644 of them crossing into Quebec.
Officers had stopped 658 people in February and 315 in January.
Canada Border Service Agents say their American counterparts are not helping the situation.
Most of the people crossing illegally have claimed asylum, with federal government figures showing three-thousand-440 asylum claims processed in March, compared with 2,885 the previous month.
Some of those coming to Canada have told authorities they were motivated to leave the U.S. because of the new administration -- fearing their asylum claims won't be treated fairly or that general anti-immigrant sentiment is rising.
Others have had Canada in their sights all along as their destination, obtaining U.S. visas solely for the purpose of coming here.
Under the Safet Third Country Agreement, refugee claimants are required to claim asylum in either the U.S. or Canada, whichever country they arrive in first.
However if a person enters Canada somewhere other than a border entry point, they are not considered to have been in another safe country such as the United States.
CTV made a number of requests with American authorities for an interview on this issue but no one was available to talk to us.
American officials have said that it is not a crime in the United States for someone to cross into Canada illegally
The union for Canada Border Service Agents is now asking for more staff to deal with illegal migrants.
Goodale's spokesman says all of this is under review.