Canada has a strong reputation as a fair and welcoming country, but one that is also governed by the rule of law. Securing the integrity of Canada’s borders and of our asylum system is essential to making sure we continue to benefit from a world-class immigration system. In recent years, elevated numbers of asylum seekers, including those that have crossed into Canada irregularly via land borders, have put challenges on Canada’s asylum system. To help address these challenges, the government will implement a comprehensive Border Enforcement Strategy with new funding from this year’s federal budget.
Budget 2019 will invest $1.18 billion over five years to process 50,000 asylum claims annually, support the implementation of the Border Enforcement Strategy, and facilitate removal of failed asylum claimants in a timely manner. Additional resources will be provided to strengthen processes at the border and accelerate the processing of claims and removals. This will ensure the asylum system remains available to those genuinely in need of refugee protection.
Many of my Conservative colleagues have tried to persuade Canadians that there is a crisis at our southern border. They are wrong. The phenomenon of irregular migration is not a crisis – it is a challenge, and one that our government is well-equipped to manage. Conservatives are playing a dangerous game of stoking fears, spreading misinformation, sowing division and pitting communities against one another while offering unworkable solutions. When someone on Canadian soil seeks our protection, it is our domestic and international legal obligation to provide them with due process. This is not a choice made by our government – it is the law. People seeking asylum in our country must be treated with compassion and afforded due process. As a representative from the UN High Commission on Refugees said during a summer meeting on the subject of irregular migration – Canada is very well-placed to deal with this challenge in a way that espouses our values of openness and inclusivity, and our government will continue to do just that while maintaining the integrity of our asylum system.