OTTAWA — Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen will be on the hot seat today as the Opposition ramps up political pressure on government to do more to address the influx of asylum seekers illegally crossing into the country from the United States.
Hussen faces a four-hour grilling in the House of Commons as part of an examination of his department’s budget, but Opposition MPs are expected to focus on the border crosser issue and the pressures caused by thousands of refugee claimants entering through unofficial entry points.
Conservative immigration critic Michelle Rempel says the only answer is to close a loophole that exists in the Canada-U.S. Safe Third Country Agreement, which is believed to be a major factor in the spike of irregular border crossings, or designate the entire border an official port of entry.
She points to pamphlets being circulated in Plattsburgh, N.Y., that offer step-by-step instructions for asylum seekers who wish to cross into Canada.
Rempel says she blames Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for his January 2017 tweet welcoming migrants, which she says was merely an attempt to grab headlines by contrasting him with President Donald Trump.
A spokesperson for Hussen’s office says the department has been working diligently on efforts to dispel “misinformation” about Canada’s immigration system being spread by groups like those in Plattsburgh.
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The Canadian Press