Stories of our connected and rapidly changing region.


Immigration Tribunals Stressed As Refugee Applicants Arrive In Canada On Foot

Migrant advocate Esther Guillaume helps arrange housing for two men from Nigeria who crossed illegally into Canada in November 2017.
Photo by Lorne Matalon for VPR

The flow of people seeking refugee status in Canada has grown exponentially in recent months. More people have walked into the province of Quebec since August than in all of 2016 across the entire length of the Canadian border.

On one recent day, people from Yemen, Haiti, Burundi and Nigeria crossed illegally into Canada from upstate New Yorkseeking refugee status. Had they tried to cross at a legal border crossing, they would have been sent back immediately. The net result is a continued flow of migrants on foot who don’t use legal border crossings, testing a nation that historically welcomes refugees.

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