Nearly 70 percent of asylum claimants who entered Canada through unauthorized crossings and had their cases examined between March and September were granted refugee status, according to recently released government data, which are based on the small percentage of instances which have been processed.
Over 15,100 people have crossed into Canada at unofficial points of entry along the U.S. border since January, after U.S. President Donald Trump’s anti-immigration measures.
According to new data from the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB), 10,790 asylum claims were referred to the IRB between March and September. Of the 592 cases — or 5.4 percent — that the IRB processed during that interval, 408 — or 69 percent — were approved as valid refugee claims. The statistics don’t account for border crossers deemed inadmissible or ineligible to file for asylum, as their cases are rejected before they reach the IRB.
“People actually prejudged a number of these folks. So many people saying, ‘Oh they are bogus. They are just queue jumpers,'” Toronto-based immigration attorney Chantal Desloges stated. “The statistics are definitely belying that premise.”
However, the government is warning that the information should be taken with a grain of salt.
“The data released by the IRB are based on a small sample size — just 5 percent of the entire number of asylum claims within this specific cohort which were referred to the IRB. Therefore, these early statistics shouldn’t be used to draw wider conclusions about asylum seekers who cross from the U.S.,” Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen’s office said in an email.
The data come after a new Nanos poll for The Globe and Mail revealed that Canadians were evenly divided over whether the nation should welcome asylum seekers from america or close its edge to them. The survey, conducted Aug. 30 to Sept. 1, discovered that more than one-third of Canadians — 37 percent — say Canada should welcome asylum seekers in america, while the identical proportion of respondents believe Canada should close its borders; 26 percent were unsure.
The IRB took the unusual step of publishing data on irregular boundary crossers on Tuesday — a movement Ms. Desloges said could be tactical.
“I don’t know what their motivation might have been, but I do know that there is a really strong internal drive inside the board to secure more government funding,” Ms. Desloges stated. “They are probably trying to show just how hard they are working with regard to plowing through these claims.”
Calls to provide the IRB with more funds to take care of the surge in asylum claimants have gone unanswered by the Liberal government. The IRB was facing a backlog of 40,800 asylum claims at the end of September, surpassing the board’s operational capability, based on IRB spokeswoman Anna Pape. She stated the projected waiting period for asylum claims is roughly 17 months, depending on the board’s existing resources and caseload.
“The board continues to explore new and innovative ways to improve the timeliness of decisions within existing resources while maintaining fairness and security,” Ms. Pape said.
The government has requested an independent review of the IRB. An interim report on such review will be completed by mid-December, with the last report expected in the summer of 2018.
Janet Dench, executive director of the Canadian Council for Refugees, said the IRB delays could bring more bogus asylum claimants.
“When the government allows a backlog to grow, what occurs is that it creates a situation where there’s an incentive for folks that don’t require protection to join the system, though they know in the end they are going to be refused. But if it is not going to come for some time, then it can be in their interest.”
Ms. Dench said the IRB data published on Tuesday could be skewed if the board is prioritizing cases from particular countries under an expedited program, such as Syria, Eritrea and Iraq.
A vast majority of the border crossers have been Haitians who fear deportation from the USA under the Trump government’s decision to end a program in January, 2018, that allowed them temporary protected status following the gigantic 2010 earthquake in the impoverished Caribbean nation. Thousands of panicked Haitians headed north to Quebec over the summer following misinformation on social media indicated Canada would accept them as refugees.
Courtesy: The Globe And Mail