Update on number of asylum seekers only tells part of the story

In News by MIIC

Asylum seekers walk up the rail tracks leading from the U.S. into Canada near Emerson, Man. (John Woods, Canadian Press )

The statistics are trickling out very slowly, but the overall picture of the number of asylum seekers crossing from the U.S. into Canada, and what is happening to them, is becoming slightly clearer.

Last month, the federal government promised monthly updates on the numbers of people being intercepted at the Canada/U.S. border. That was after the RCMP and Canada Border Services Agency stopped releasing those numbers, citing inconsistencies in their own record keeping — much to the frustration of local and opposition politicians, and many of the people living in border communities.

What the first update shows is what many expected — a sharp increase in people crossing the border from February into March, as weather warmed and the crossing into Canada became easier.

In March, the national numbers nearly matched those of the two previous months previous, as the RCMP intercepted 887 people crossing over the border that month.

All told, between Jan. 1 and March 31 of this year, 1,860 people were intercepted crossing into Canada seeking to claim asylum, including 331 in Manitoba. (Keep in mind these stats do not reflect people who may have crossed undetected and did not report to Canada Border Services Agency.)

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