Irregular migrant numbers drop to lowest levels since June 2017

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It comes as a relief to the governing federal Liberals to learn that the number of irregular asylum seekers arriving in Canada appears to be slowing. Meanwhile efforts are being made to speed up refugee processing and address a major backlog of asylum claims that has been growing steadily since early 2017.

Newly published federal data shows 1,019 irregular migrants were apprehended by the RCMP crossing into Canada between official border crossings last month. That was the third consecutive month of decreases in irregular migrant arrivals and the lowest monthly number since June 2017.

Of the 34,854 irregular migrant claims that have been referred to the IRB, less than one quarter of them have been finalized. A total of just over 64,000 refugee claims – including irregular arrivals and those from various other streams– are awaiting a decision at the IRB. Refugees are now waiting close to two years to have their cases heard.

The Trudeau government also recently reopened the IRB’s Ottawa office, which the previous Conservative government closed in 2014.

That, coupled with adding more staff, has made a difference in speeding up some refugee claims, says Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen’s press secretary Mathieu Genest says the board will be able to hire 248 new staff over the next two years, including 64 new decision-makers, thanks to this year’s cash infusion from the Trudeau government.

While the number of so-called ‘irregular’ immigrants crossing the border has gone down, the number is still above 1000 a month and depending on how the immigration debate goes in the US, there is every reason to believe that a crackdown there could result in thousands deciding to cross into Canada. -CINEWS

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