Canada has seen a notable surge in asylum seekers showing up at the border this year, including in B.C.
A report released last week by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada shows that 27,440 claims for asylum have been filed between January and August. That follows peak numbers between 36,000 and 33,000 in 2008 and 2009.
While most people claiming asylum have arrived in Quebec, B.C. has also seen a spike.
Here, the RCMP intercepted 102 people at border crossings in August – up from 51 in July and equating to 485 total interceptions from January to August.
So far this year, 350 asylum claimants have been processed in B.C. by the Canada Border Service Agency, and 530 claims processed by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada – surpassing last year’s rates.
B.C. settlement organizations say they saw refugee seekers from dozens of different countries last month, with Afghanistan, Iraq, Colombia, Mexico and Turkey leading the list.
As the surge continues, so do the costs.
Each claim costs the government $12,900 to $20,000, according to the Immigration Department. As processing claims amid the services needed for refugees pile up, governments are on track to reach $350 to $550 million in spending.
Quebec getting lion’s share of asylum seekers
During the summer alone, the RCMP stopped 5,530 people crossing illegally into Quebec in August, up from 2,996 in July.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has spoken at great lengths on what many in that province have called an asylum crisis.
Shortly after U.S. President Donald Trump took office and pursued strict travel bans, Trudeau took to Twitter, welcoming refugees to Canada.
Since then, he’s spoken more sternly, saying those who choose to enter Canada “irreuglarly” won’t have an advantage.
“You must follow the rules and there are many,” he said.