February 5, 2019 6:10 pm

Feds working to deal with backlog of asylum-seeker screenings, Bill Blair says

WATCH: Bill Blair admits to backlog in 'additional screening' for asylum requests


OTTAWA — Canada’s border-security minister says there is a backlog in the screening of asylum seekers, including those who are considered irregular border-crossers walking into the country from the United States.

The Toronto Star reported Tuesday that internal government documents, obtained by lawyer Richard Kurland under the access-to-information law, show 11,745 asylum-seekers are waiting for detailed security screenings.

READ MORE:  Is Canada facing an asylum seeker ‘crisis?’

The documents helped light a political fire in the afternoon’s question period in the House of Commons.

Border Security Minister Bill Blair says officials screen all asylum-seekers at the border and that there is no security problem.

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He says there is a backlog in additional background checks involving the Mounties and Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, but isn’t saying how many people are in the queue.

READ MORE: ‘Illegal’ or ‘irregular’? Debate about asylum-seekers needs to stop, experts warn

Conservative immigration critic Michelle Rempel is questioning how Blair can say there are no security threats if screening hasn’t been completed for those stuck in the backlog.

© 2019 The Canadian Press

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