Canadian authorities caught 887 asylum seekers crossing unlawfully into Canada from the United States in March, nearly three times the number in January.
This brings the total number of asylum seekers caught walking across the border to 1,860 so far this year. The new statistics suggest that those numbers could rise further as the weather warms.
Canada is on track to see the highest number of asylum claims in six years, given the pace of claims filed so far, as increasing numbers of people cross into Canada to make refugee claims following US President Donald Trump’s election and his crackdown on refugees and migrants.
“The majority of irregular migrants are holders of visas for the United States,” according to a statement released on Wednesday by the office of Canada’s Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale.
“Canadian authorities are managing the increase in asylum seekers in a sound and measured way … To be clear – trying to slip across the border in an irregular manner is not a ‘free’ ticket to Canada.”
Almost three-quarters of the asylum seekers caught crossing so far this year were taken into custody in Quebec, government data showed. Roxham Road, which straddles Champlain, New York and Hemmingford, Quebec, has become such a common spot that photographers cluster there and would-be refugees refer to it by name.
Most of the others were taken into custody in Manitoba and British Columbia – 331 and 201, respectively.
Police said on Wednesday that they have charged 43-year-old Michelle Omoruyi with human smuggling and conspiracy to commit human smuggling.
Police allege they found Omoruyi driving nine West African asylum seekers across the US border into the prairie province of Saskatchewan on Friday night. The nine asylum seekers have filed refugee claims and are not in custody.
Reuters news agency