Record number of migrants enter Canada through Montreal airport

According to Immigration Canada data, Quebec processed 25,755 asylum claims at Montreal's Trudeau Airport last year — more than double the 11,665 claims in 2022.

Record number of migrants enter Canada through Montreal airport
THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
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A record number of migrants seeking asylum in Canada are entering the country through Montreal’s Trudeau Airport, following the closure of the illegal Roxham Road crossing last March.

According to Immigration Canada data, Québec processed 25,755 asylum claims at the airport last year — more than double the 11,665 claims in 2022.

Québec Premier Francois Legault penned a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau last month to outline his concerns about the growing number of asylum claimants in his province. The province’s immigration ministry has observed a huge uptick in refugee claims since the past two years, up from 10,085 in 2021 to 59,640 last year. 

They have posed considerable challenges to the provision of social services in the province, with 30.2% of the 9,840 Québec labour requests between January 1 and 15 coming from claimants.

Those who land at Trudeau Airport without securing accommodation beforehand seek government-run shelter, courtesy of the Regional Program for the Settlement and Integration of Asylum Seekers (PRAIDA).

Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante told Global News her constituents are facing challenges to accommodate asylum seekers.

"What I question is how do we make sure we can have, we can create more housing opportunities, to me that’s really what we need," she said on January 31.

On the same day, Immigration Minister Marc Miller announced Québec would receive $100 million to partially reimburse the province for their $362 million in asylum expenditures.

"We are very close to the breaking point due to the excessive number of asylum seekers arriving in Quebec month after month," added Legault. "The situation has become unsustainable."

The Trudeau Liberals lifted visa requirements for Mexican nationals in 2018, but the federal government is now considering a rollback on that policy. Legault specifically urged Trudeau to curb the influx of asylum seekers.

"Mexican nationals represent a growing proportion of the asylum seekers arriving in Quebec, the possibility of entering Canada from Mexico without a visa certainly explains part of the flow of asylum seekers," the premier wrote.

Among those to enter the province last year are 15,210 Mexican nationals, followed by Haitian and Colombian citizens.

This is a developing story.

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