While the United States is confronting a “migrant caravan” of prospective asylum seekers, mostly of Honduran origin, our neighbor to the North is experiencing a mini-migrant crisis of their own.
Nigerian migrants have been using the U.S. as a sort of “landing point” before crossing the Canadian border, presumably because of the heightened risk of deportation with Donald Trump as President. “He (President Trump) says he doesn’t want immigrants. I am illegal in the United States. My visa expired in July,” said one Nigerian migrant stopped at the Canadian border (and then allowed entry).
According to the 2002 “Safe Third Country Agreement” between the U.S. and Canada, asylum seekers can only claim asylum in the first country they enter, but a loophole is being exploited to circumvent that. If an asylum seeker gets into Canada through an unofficial crossing, they are not subjected to the agreement. And since asylum seekers have a right in Canada to make a refugee claim, and one that can take years to process (as the applicant gets to live in Canada in the meantime), the bureaucracy is working in the favor of illegal migrants.
And while Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had publicly touted Canada’s “open immigration system” last year in reaction to Trump’s travel ban executive orders, Canada is now asking the U.S. for help, by further strengthening our own immigration laws.
According to the Washington Post:
As Nigerian asylum seekers flood into Canada across a ditch in Upstate New York, Canadian authorities are asking the United States for help — but not with managing the influx at the border.
Instead, they want U.S. immigration officials to reduce the foot traffic by screening Nigerians more stringently before granting them U.S. visas.
It is a ripple effect that few expected last summer when people, mostly Haitians, began to walk into Quebec via an “irregular” border crossing north of Plattsburgh, N.Y., and seek refugee status.
With the coming of spring, the flow has picked up again. But recently, the asylum seekers have been mostly Nigerian, and their route to the border is more problematic, Canadian officials say.
As of mid-April, over 6,000 have entered into Quebec “unofficially,” which is three times more than during the same period last year. And last year, claims had doubled from where they were in 2016.
It’s interesting that Canada wants America to be more conservative in issuing visas to those who may then migrate to their country. Given how often Trudeau virtue signals about Canada’s “openness” and “tolerance,” it’s hard not to believe it’s because he wants to avoid the bad PR from deporting his nation’s own illegal immigrants.
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