The RCMP intercepted close to 3,000 people jumping the Canada-U.S. border into Quebec in July – a 284 per cent increase compared to one month earlier, and a more than 1,000 per cent increase than in January, according to Citizenship and Immigration Canada.
The influx of asylum seekers – which on some days sees hundreds crossing over – led the federal government recently to set up a border camp near the New York State border.
Manitoba also saw an increase month-over-month, with 88 interceptions at the border in July compared with 63 in June. But the numbers in that province are down from a peak of 170 interceptions in March.
British Columbia was the only other province where the RCMP stopped would-be refugees hopping the border in July. The 51 asylum seekers caught there last month is up from 39 in June, but down from a high of 84 in February, according to the federal government’s numbers.
Overall across the country, the RCMP intercepted 3,135 people “irregularly” crossing the border – that is, crossing where there is no official border station. That’s up from 884 in June.
By and large, however, Quebec is seeing the highest number of people irregularity — or illegally — crossing the border, leading to RCMP interceptions.
Earlier this week, Quebec’s immigration department said 6,580 people entered the country via Quebec and made claims there in the first six months of the year. In all of 2016, the province saw 5,505 similar cases, officials said.
WATCH ABOVE: A mayor south of Montreal is calling for a barrier to be erected at the informal border crossing being used by asylum seekers. Mike Armstrong reports.
In that context, a recent poll of Canadians found a majority are skeptical Ottawa is in control of the situation.
In the same poll, many Canadians doubt whether those crossing into Quebec illegally are legitimate refugees; 67 per cent of respondents said they believe the migrants are trying to skip the legal immigration process.
A spokesperson for Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said recently the Canadian Border Services Agency maintains “rigorous security measures,” and said of the child pornography interceptions reflect that system is working well.
Last week, the Canadian government deployed soldiers to set up tents near St-Bernard-de-Lacolle, Que., which sits across the border from Champlain, N.Y., in order to temporarily house hundreds of asylum seekers.
Many of the men, women and children crossing the border are Haitians fearing deportation from the United States.
The city of Montreal, which is 60 kilometres from the border point, last week said it is receiving between 250 and 300 asylum claimants who crossed the Canada-U.S. border every day — the number is up from 50 per day in the first half of July.