At least 500 migrants illegally entered Quebec from New York over Easter weekend, according to the French-language news station TVA News.
The report states that, “according to knowledgeable sources, between 120 and 150 migrants per day passed through Roxham Road, a well-known border crossing for asylum seekers, over the course of the long weekend.”
A TVA Nouvelles journalist witnessed 15 migrants arriving close to Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle and being intercepted by RCMP officers.
According to TVA, due to the high number of arrivals, insulated winter trailers that had been rented and installed at the customs checkpoint last fall. This renovation costed taxpayers $1 million, and were used for the first-time last weekend. Families were housed inside these winterized trailers, before being sent off to Montreal to live in temporary housing centres.
Some are calling this the opening day of migration season, as border crossings slowed to a trickle over the winter months, with around 50 migrants being intercepted per day through the month of January.
TVA repoers that, “according to the Canada Border Services Agency, around 20,000 asylum seekers were intercepted as they crossed the border into Quebec in 2017, of which 5,530 in August alone. An emergency temporary camp even had to be set up at the border crossing of Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle in order to manage the influx of migrants, while up to 300 asylum seekers per day crossed the border.”
That spike in border crossings back in August was precipitated by the U.S. government’s announcement that it would not be renewing the temporary protected status (TPS) granted to Haitians following the earthquake that rocked that country in 2010. However, the United States ultimately renewed those TPS permits last November through till July 2019.
According to the Government of Canada, the Canada Border Services Agency and Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada received a total of 50,405 asylum applications in 2017—a significant increase over 2016.