Opposition MPs press Liberals to be true to refugee rhetoric, change system


OTTAWA — Opposition MPs are using the occasion of World Refugee Day to pressure the Liberal government to make good on a promises to retool Canada”s asylum system.

Conservatives and NDP members alike want the Liberals to take a closer look at the Canada-U.S. border, where upwards of 3,000 people have entered the country between legal crossing points since January in order to claim asylum.

Canada”s so-called Safe Third Country agreement with the U.S. — would-be refugees must file claims in the country where they initially arrive — has been blamed for the problem, but newly released data shows people are still trying the legal route.

Immigration Department numbers show that over six days in March, 123 people arrived at Canada-U.S. border crossings and requested asylum; 66 were allowed in, while 57 were turned away.

A total of 342 asylum claims were filed in Canada in those six days; in total, 3,440 claims were filed in Canada in March.

Worldwide, the UN now says there were 65.6 million displaced from their homes in 2016, and of them, 22.5 million people were refugees at end of the year.

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