Border crossers get special staffing
OTTAWA — The prospect of growing camps of migrants on the Quebec-New York border prompted Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Board to exclusively dedicate 20 of its members Friday to the handling of their sudden barrage of asylum claims.
The agency had been watching carefully the flow of wouldbe refugees into the province, but it was a sudden recent spike in arrivals that prompted more aggressive action, said Shereen Benzvy Miller, the head of the refugee protection division.
“We want to anticipate and make sure if winter is coming, that there isn’t a tent city of people awaiting determination in February,” Benzvy Miller said Friday.
Between Aug. 1 and Aug. 7 alone, 1,798 people showed up at an unofficial crossing from the U.S. into Quebec. By comparison, only 2,920 claims were filed in Quebec in all of 2015.
“Projections that we are given don’t look like it is going to slow down any time soon.”
The IRB has no control over how long people will be in temporary accommodation on the border. The Canada Border Services Agency has said the pace of arrivals means that initial screening process is taking far longer than normal.