Task force on Irregular Migration meets to discuss influx of asylum seekers entering Canada

Canada’s Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, Ahmed Hussen told the Ad Hoc Intergovernmental Task Force which met mid-October that the region has witnessed a growth in irregular migration with movements of migrants from Central America, Cuba, Venezuela and Haiti, among others as well as an increase in the number of extra-continental arrivals from Asia and Africa.

But Minister Hussen said that new measures put in place to address the influx of irregular migration have made a difference, resulting in reduced backlog for eligibility interviews and issuance of work permits, according to a report from Ottawa.

The urgency for Canada to halt irregular migration from the United States was reported in the July-August edition of Touch BASE. The report then drew pointed attention to refugees crossing the US border to enter Canada thus flouting the US-Canada Safe Third Country Agreement.

At the October meeting, Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety, said that while the overall volume of asylum claims remains elevated, there has been a decrease in recent weeks. He reiterated that Canada is taking a whole of government approach, and working closely with affected provinces, to plan for operational contingencies. He said he would also be speaking with his United States (US) counterpart later this month on the margins of the G7 meeting to discuss this issue and its impact on Canada and the US.

“We are working closely with the provinces and we continue to engage with our neighbours to address irregular migration in accordance with Canadian and international law, and in keeping with our values as an open and welcoming country.” Marc Garneau, Minister and Chair of the Ad Hoc Intergovernmental Task Force on Irregular Migration said.

Minister Hussen reassured the Task Force, that Citizenship and Immigration Canada is pursuing outreach efforts in Canada and the US to correct misinformation about Canada’s asylum system among groups of potential migrants. The report from Ottawa said Canada’s Embassy in Washington D.C. and network of twelve Consulates General in the US have engaged close to 25 US decision makers including members of Congress, Governors and Lt Governors and have met with over 200 diplomatic representatives, NGOs, community leaders, and municipal, county, state-level officials in communities across the country.

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