The majority of asylum seekers take Roxham Road from the United States to enter Quebec irregularly.
Quebec Immigration Minister Jean Boulet on Monday welcomed Ottawa's decision to transfer about 100 asylum seekers who entered the province irregularly, but said that that wasn't enough.
Quebec says its ability to house and care for potential refugees is under strain, as an estimated 13,350 people entered Canada illegally. irregular between January and May, mainly via Roxham Road, a rural road leading from the United States to Quebec.
Quebec is calling for a significant portion of asylum seekers crossing the border to be redirected to other provinces, Boulet said in a written statement, referring to the referred transfer to Quebec. ;Ontario as a step in the right direction.
“We are talking about a hundred people, the equivalent of one or two days of daily passages through Roxham. So it's not enough. Ottawa will have to quickly find lasting solutions to facilitate these transfers and ensure that asylum seekers use the official entry points at the border. »
—Jean Boulet, Minister of Immigration of Quebec
Since June 30, Ottawa has begun transferring a small number of asylum seekers to Ottawa and Niagara Falls to reduce pressure on Quebec, Aidan Strickland, a spokesperson for Immigration, Refugees, said Monday. and Citizenship Canada, without giving details.
The exact number of asylum seekers who will make an onward journey to Ontario is not definitive for the moment, Mr. Strickland said in an email.
Roxham Road remains the main point of entry for the majority of asylum seekers entering Canada irregularly, according to Strickland. Many of these people have no intention of staying in Quebec, he added.
The number of people intercepted outside official points of entry into Quebec by border agents between January and May is more than double the number of people who entered Quebec irregularly during the same period in 2019, before the points of entry were closed. entering Canada due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Roxham Road was reopened to potential refugees in November 2021.
Premier François Legault has called on the federal government to close Roxham Road due to pressure from the government. increase in the number of asylum seekers is straining Quebec's ability to care for newcomers.
The Canada Border Services Agency has announced that it has increased its temporary accommodation capacity for asylum seekers at the Roxham Road border crossing, increased from 297 to 477 people.