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Federal task force eyes next steps to tackle influx of illegal border crossers

Federal task force eyes next steps to tackle influx of illegal border crossers
From CBC - November 23, 2017

A federal task force will meet later today to map out a contingency plan to deal with the influx of people illegally crossing the border into Canada.

It will be the group's sixth meeting, and comes as the spike in summer crossings begins to slow down.

Officials say the number of irregular crossings has decreased to about 60 a day, from what had swelled to 250 in the warmer months.

The decline comes as a government outreach and public awareness campaign continues to try and correct misinformation spreading on social media that Canada has an open door to migrants.

MPs and embassy staff have been meeting with diaspora, community groups, lawyers and government officials to explain how Canada's immigration system works and to send the message that crossing outside a legal border point is not a "free ticket" into the country.

Data released by the Immigration and Refugee Board Wednesday shows that3,257 cases of irregular crossers were referred to theIRBin October, down from 5,400 in September.

In a nine-month period this year, therewere 14,467 refugee claims made by people who crossed into Canada outside legal border points, and nearly half of them were from Haiti.

The 6,304 citizens of Haiti who claimed refugee status after crossing illegally into Canadabetween February and October represented about44 per cent of the total number.

Only 298 have had their claimsfinalized so far, and just 29 of them, or 10 per cent, have been accepted.

Another 139 claims from Haitians were rejected, 68 were abandoned and 62 were withdrawn or terminated, according to the data.

'Cautionary tale'

The fact that the number of successful Haitian claims is "very low" should serve as a cautionary tale for those still contemplating crossing into Canada illegally from the U.S. to seek asylum, said Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen.

"Coming to Canada first of all has to be done through regular channels, and secondly the asylum system is only for people who are in genuine need of protection," Hussen said.

"It's not for everyone."

742 Haitians on deportation list

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