According to statistics shared with Global News, the total number of “failed irregular-arrival asylum claimants” deported by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) between Jan. 1 and Nov. 5, 2018, was 296.
Another 534 “actionable removal cases” are currently green-lit for deportation but have not yet been carried out.
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Removal of failed claimants who walked across the border has become a priority for the government as the clock ticks down to the next election, with the CBSA on track to triple its deportations of irregular border crossers.
Since 2017, more than 35,000 people have walked across the border from the U.S. at unofficial entry points to file asylum claims.
That has come as U.S. President Donald Trump has revoked the temporary protected status of several groups of people, including those from Haiti, and has launched attack after attack against immigrants.
Roughly 65 per cent of the 24,657 people intercepted by police in Quebec between June 30, 2017, and June 3, 2018, held what immigration officials call “legal status in the U.S. prior to their travels to Canada.”
That could range from permanent residency status to a soon-to-expire temporary protected status or even a travel visa.
Fifty-six per cent of those held a valid U.S. non-immigrant visa.
Officials have said those were mostly Nigerians who got visas to legally travel to the U.S. and then walked across the border to make their claim for asylum in Canada.
Another seven per cent or 1,632 held U.S. citizenship — generally, the children of non-U.S. citizens.
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As well, 3,937 or 16 per cent of the 24,920 asylum seekers intercepted in Quebec between June 30, 2017, and June 17, 2018, “reported having previously sought and/or claimed asylum in the U.S.”
And between April 1, 2017, and June 17, 2018, 891 of the 29,389 asylum seekers who crossed the border during that period were subject to a removal order in the U.S.
In July, the CBSA responded to an order paper question from the Conservatives saying that 55 of the individuals who were under removal orders in the U.S. and had crossed into Canada who were also subject to enforceable CBSA removal orders.
As of June 28, 2018, six of those 55 had been removed from Canada.
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The CBSA also noted it took an average of 126 days to remove each of those six individuals.
The 296 failed irregular-arrival asylum claimants come after the federal government set new targets for CBSA at the end of October to remove 10,000 failed refugee and asylum claimants by the end of the 2018-2019 fiscal year, which is March 31, 2019.
That would represent a jump of 35 per cent compared to the last two years.
There were only 135 removals between Jan. 1, 2017, and March 31, 2018, of failed irregular-arrival asylum claimants.
The data stating 296 have been removed so far in 2018 did not specify how many of those took place between January and March 2018, which would have been included in the 135 removals described above.
As of September 2018, a total of 398 irregular border crossers had been removed since April 2017.
That’s roughly one per cent of the more than 35,000 who have arrived since the wave began in early 2017.
— With files from Global News’ Rebecca Lindell