For months, the federal government denied the influx of refugees from the United States was anything to worry about but now the Trudeau government appears to have changed its tune.
In January, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted, “To those fleeing persecution, terror & war, Canadians will welcome you, regardless of your faith. Diversity is our strength.”
But the feds appear to have cooled their heels on that type of talk as cabinet ministers try to stem the tide of refugees flowing into Canada.
“People should not think that border hopping is a desirable or productive thing to do,” Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said Monday.
More than 6,000 people have crossed illegally into Quebec from New York since July, the vast majority Haitians.
The feds have sent Haitian-born MP Emmanuel Dubourg to Miami to speak with the Haitian community as it attempts to curtail the flow of immigrants into Quebec.
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He says Rempel’s numbers do not paint an accurate picture of what awaits asylum seekers when they arrive in Canada.
“That process does not take years,” Hussen said. “That is, unfortunately, misinformation being disseminated by Michelle Rempel.
“She has been saying that the wait process for IRB hearings is 11 years.”
Rempel has referred to an internal government analysis which was made public in June which said an increase in asylum claims could trigger an 11-year wait for claimants.
With 2017 application numbers expected to far exceed earlier projections, the board simply can’t keep up, says the memo.
WATCH: Is Canada in control of refugee crisis in Quebec?
Hussein says the number in the report is far from accurate.
“In fact, refugee hearings at the moment take from five to seven months and that is actually a moving target,” he said.
Rempel countered by saying Hussein is the one that is offering misleading information.
“I think it’s unfortunate that the minister has pedalled misinformation himself saying, ‘there’s nothing to see here folks’ and refusing to acknowledge internal government reports that do show a forecast 11-year wait time,” she told Global News.
— With files from Global News’ Vassy Kapelos and Canadian Press