New $1B border strategy will get tough on irregular asylum seekers
The Canadian Press
Published Tuesday, March 19, 2019 4:25PM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, March 19, 2019 5:01PM EDT
OTTAWA - The Liberal government is signalling its intent to stem the flow of asylum seekers crossing into Canada at unofficial entry points with a new border-enforcement strategy aimed at detecting, intercepting and removing irregular migrants.
A plan costing $1.18 billion over five years is promised in the 2019 federal budget to beef up border security and speed up the processing of asylum claims.
Finance Minister Bill Morneau says the government wants to ensure Canada's asylum system is fair and effective, and governed by the rule of law.
More than 40,000 asylum seekers have crossed into the country via the Canada-U.S. border "irregularly" since 2017 -- avoiding official border checkpoints where they would have been turned back to the U.S. under the Safe Third Country agreement between the two countries.
The new border-enforcement strategy will not only add resources to strengthen border security and speed up the processing of claims, it also promises to prioritize removing asylum claimants who entered the country irregularly.
The Trudeau government is also planning to crack down on a rise in anti-immigrant sentiment in Canada with a new anti-racism strategy, complete with a $45-million budget.