(For The New York Times and The Globe and Mail, 2017)
The incidence of asylum seekers entering Canada through irregular border crossings has risen sharply in 2016 and 2017. Not since the 2008 recession have their numbers been higher. Experts, analysts and the asylum seekers themselves are citing the presidency of Donald Trump as the primary reason behind the surge.
Those who are able to gain official refugee status in the U.S. are still not immune to incidences of violent racism, which have ramped up since the beginning of the presidential election campaign. Since Trump’s election, the incidence of hate crimes in the U.S. have risen sharply. This increasingly hostile climate for asylum seekers in the United States has motivated many to continue migrating north to Canada.
The Safe Third Country Agreement, a law which prevents anyone with an outstanding refugee claim in the U.S. to enter Canada lawfully has prompted tens of thousands of irregular border crossings in Manitoba and Québec.
Montreal, Québec was overwhelmed by the volume of asylum seekers, prompting the city to convert their Olympic stadium into a makeshift emergency shelter. Meanwhile, anti-immigration and white supremacist groups in Canada have begun to mobilize at an increasing rate, staging protests at border crossings and in several cities.