Misleading asylum seekers

The Liberal government is misleading people when it says there's no advantage to crossing illegally into Canada to seek asylum, NDP MP Jenny Kwan says.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made those comments over the weekend as the Liberals have become more assertive in their efforts to tamp down the volume of asylum seekers. Nearly 7,000 have arrived in the last six weeks, mostly via Quebec.

But in a letter to Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen, Kwan suggests there is in fact an advantage.

If they go the legal way, she says, they'll be turned away, because of the agreement between Canada and the U.S. that precludes people from making asylum claims at official land border crossings.

"Under international law, once they have crossed the border Canada must take them in and process their refugee claims," Kwan said in the letter, sent late Tuesday.

"If the prime minister was serious about reducing unsanctioned border crossings, let alone truly welcoming refugees, he would have already suspended the Safe Third Country Agreement."

The Liberal government has repeatedly insisted there's no reason to suspend the deal, noting that the asylum system in the United States is still functioning and the country remains open to granting people refuge.

In her letter, Kwan points to violent clashes between white nationalists and counter protesters in Virginia earlier this month as a sign of increased insecurity for all minorities.

But more so, she said, the influx of people into Canada makes it clear they no longer feel the U.S. is safe.

The government is ignoring what should be a manageable issue, she said.

"Given the current trend of anti-immigration and anti-refugee rhetoric throughout the developed world, maintaining the highest degree of public confidence in Canada's immigration system should be a top priority for your government to reduce the risk of those views taking hold in Canada," she wrote.

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