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Cost of Trump policy?

The Liberal government is examining whether the fallout from U.S. President Donald Trump's executive orders on immigration will require more cash to be spent north of the border.

But both immigration officials and the federal minister told a House of Commons committee that right now, there's no new money.

Departmental officials say Trump's executive orders are too new for them to be able to estimate how much they could cost Canada and in what ways.

The Immigration and Refugee Board, however, has been saying for months that a rise in the number of asylum claims is already straining its resources and it has put in a pitch for more cash.

Board officials had been hoping to get an answer in Wednesday's federal budget but Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen wouldn't commit Monday to new funds.

He says the fact that claims have been rising at the IRB since 2015 is proof the problem goes beyond the so-called Trump effect.

The board did receive about $4.5 million to deal with an expected increase in claims from Mexican nationals following a government decision to lift visas for Mexicans last December.

Those numbers are already up over last year — 241 Mexicans lodged asylum claims in all of 2016 and 156 have already done so in 2017.

Many anticipate the U.S. president's executive orders curtailing immigration from certain countries, scaling back refugee admissions and speeding up deportations could push the numbers of people seeking asylum in Canada higher.

Hussen and his officials were pressed Monday by the NDP's immigration critic Jenny Kwan on whether any more money has been earmarked yet to deal with the potential fallout.

The executive orders are too new and the money currently being requested from Parliament deals with already identified needs, said Daniel Mills, an assistant deputy minister in the Immigration Department.

"We haven't yet estimated the amount that we will need," he said in French.

What might be needed next is under review at least in one area.



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