Quebec expects a record year for asylum seekers

Quebec is heading for a record year: The Legault government expects 35,000 asylum seekers to enter irregularly via Roxham Road in 2022.

Today, more than 100 people illegally cross the border at the Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle post in Montérégie every day.

• Also read: Roxham Road Closure Claims: The PQ accuses the federal government of “deliberately” harming Quebec

• Also read: “Border”: daily challenges for the RCMP

• Also read: Ottawa has lost track of 25,800 asylum seekers

During the pandemic, this entry route was closed to irregular immigration for health reasons. Roxham Road has been a busy place since it reopened in November.

Between January 1 and May 9, as many as 10,653 people illegally crossed the border, according to the latest figures from the Quebec Ministry of Immigration, Franciscanization and Integration (MIFI).

The cold and snow didn’t stop these thousands of migrants from making the journey and seeking asylum in Canada in the early months of the year. With the arrival of fine weather, the government expects an increase in influx.

“The number of irregular asylum seekers on Roxham Road increases steadily during the summer months. At the speed we are tracking, we estimate that 35,000 asylum seekers will pass through Roxham Road in 2022,” MIFI said.

The only problem is that accommodation capacities in Montreal are limited and practically saturated. Currently 1040 of the 1150 available places are occupied. “The number of beds occupied by people accommodated in Quebec has been at the red threshold since April 10, 2022,” notes the MIFI.

The federal government has committed to providing asylum seekers with temporary housing beyond Quebec’s maximum capacity. The occupancy rate of hotels sponsored by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada in Quebec is 72%.

This year, a third of those applying after illegal entry had Haitian citizenship, while 14% were Turkish.

Last December, Quebec unsuccessfully requested the closure of Roxham Road in the face of a surge in COVID-19 cases.

The PQ returned to the charges yesterday in the National Assembly, accusing the federal government of “willfully” damaging Quebec’s integration and franking capabilities.

In a letter sent to his Canadian counterpart a few days ago, Minister Jean Boulet called for mechanisms for the transfer of migrants to other provinces to take account of Quebec’s reception capacity. He also called on Ottawa to expedite the issuance of work permits for asylum seekers, who currently have to wait 11 months for their papers.

Irregular entries via Roxham Road

2017: 18,836

2018: 18,518

2019: 16,136

2020 (closed during the pandemic): 3189

2021 (closed during the pandemic): 4095

From January 1st to May 9th, 2022: 10,653

Do you have any information about this story that you would like to share with us?

Do you have a scoop that might be of interest to our readers?

Write to us at jdm-scoop@quebecormedia.com or call us directly at 1-800-63SCOOP.

Leave a Comment