A family from Haiti approach a tent in Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle, Quebec, stationed by Royal Canadian Mounted Police, as they haul their luggage down Roxham Road in Champlain, N.Y., on August 7, 2017. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Charles Krupa)

A family from Haiti approach a tent in Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle, Quebec, stationed by Royal Canadian Mounted Police, as they haul their luggage down Roxham Road in Champlain, N.Y., on August 7, 2017. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Charles Krupa)

Trudeau defends changes to asylum laws that have refugee workers alarmed

Bill would prevent people from seeking asylum in Canada if they already have in U.S.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is defending a changes to asylum laws included in an omnibus budget bill tabled this week, saying his government is working to ensure Canada’s refugee system is fair for everyone.

The changes would prevent asylum seekers from making refugee claims in Canada if they have made similar claims in certain other countries, including the United States — a move Border Security Minister Bill Blair says is aimed at preventing “asylum-shopping.”

Lawyers and advocates who work with refugees are sounding the alarm about the legal changes, saying they would strip human-rights protections from vulnerable asylum-seekers.

Trudeau says Canada has been seeing larger numbers of refugee claims because of global instability.

He says his priority is to ensure Canadians retain confidence in the country’s asylum system, which means every person who comes to Canada must do so according to the law.

More than 41,000 asylum seekers have crossed into Canada “irregularly” through unofficial paths along the Canada-U.S. border since early 2017.

READ MORE: Budget bill would tighten loophole that encourages irregular border crossings

READ MORE: Free app launches to help immigrants, refugees as they settle in B.C.

The Canadian Press


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