The Conservatives say the Justin Trudeau government should stop the flow of people illegally crossing the border from the U.S. to seek refugee status in Canada.
Tory MP Tony Clement said the illegal crossings are unsafe and place a burden on local law enforcement.
Tory MP Michelle Rempel called on the government to come up with a plan and “if necessary, strengthen our laws to stop” the influx of asylum seekers.
Rempel also tweeted that the government should send a message to those considering crossing illegally that there are proper channels to ask for refugee status.
Tory MP Ted Falk, the MP for Provencher which includes the town of Emerson, says the Liberal government needs to close the loophole in the agreement that allows the refugees to claim status.
“These migrants are being coached to purposefully avoid border crossings and are taking advantage of a loophole in the existing law,” Falk wrote in a statement on his website.
The tactic is a way to avoid the Safe Third Country Agreement, which prevents most people who’ve been living in the US from making a refugee claim at an official border crossing on the premise they’re already somewhere safe. But they are allowed to claim refugee status if they are already in Canada rather than at a border crossing.
The Tories’ call comes as Manitoba RCMP announced another 22 people were intercepted at the border near Emerson on Saturday.
Emerson officials say the refugees are entering through abandoned border crossings, which lead directly to the heart of the town.
“When that happens it creates security issues. Now they’re in town, if they get lost, they’re going to go to households,” Emerson city councillor Doug Johnston told Global News last week.
The refugees are part of a growing number of people illegally crossing the border into Canada as the United States wrestles with President Donald Trump’s executive order for a travel ban on refugees and citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries.
Illegal crossings have increased lately, and much of the activity has been concentrated in Quebec, RCMP spokeswoman Cpl. Camille Habel told Global News last week.
NDP MP Jenny Kwan, along with many advocacy groups, has called on the government to suspend the Safe Third Country agreement in the wake of Trump’s attempted travel ban.
Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen’s office says efforts are underway to address the problem, but as of now, the US meets all the requirements of the agreement.
— with files from Rebecca Joseph and Jesse Ferreras