There are around 1,277 refugees who are waiting to claim their refugee status in British Columbia, Canada after illegally crossing the US – Canada border. The total is given by Immigrant Services Society of British Columbia. Around 90 percent of them have arrived in Canada by walking their way from Washington, US, through the Peace Arch Park, which is between Surrey and Blaine.
Ribwar Omar, 38-years old, is one of those 1,277 who walked their way to Canada. Omar is from Iraq. Chris Friesen, the spokesperson for the Immigrant Services Society of British Columbia, said that most of these people come from Iran, Colombia, Mexico, Iraq, and Afghanistan. In the summer of 2017, over 7,000 refugees crossed the border and reached Quebec, Montreal. Friesen expects more to cross this year as the temperature rises. You might be wondering how do so many refugees enter illegally and why aren’t they stopped at the border. Well, it is because of the Safe Third Country, which Canada and the US have signed.
It was signed when Harper was the prime minister of Canada. According to the agreement, if a refugee comes to Canada from the US through the official border crossing points, they will be detained and then sent back to the US. That is why these refugees cross the border through farmlands or border parks, which aren’t official border crossing points.
Two types of refugee waves
Friesen said that he expects two types of refugee waves to hit Canada. One will be those refugees who are living in the US for a long time but are threatened by the Trump administration. The second wave will represent people like Omar who have a legal visitor visa to the US and consider it as a transit point to enter Canada. He fears that too much illegal immigration will create a hot mess.