The illegal immigrant surge is likely to continue, according to Panama statistics

The surge of illegal immigration at Roxham Road in 2021 and 2022 cost taxpayers nearly $87.8 million to pay for 'temporary accommodations for unvaccinated asymptomatic asylum seekers without a suitable quarantine plan.'

The illegal immigrant surge is likely to continue, according to Panama statistics
The Canadian Press / Ryan Remiorz
Remove Ads

According to the Canadian government, from "April 1, 2017, to September 30, 2022, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has incurred expenditures totaling $269.4M for Roxham Road."

"Most significant expenditures relate to interim health services, leases for accommodation, security and transportation services," wrote the House of Commons committee on citizenship and immigration.

The surge of illegal immigration at Roxham Road in 2021 and 2022 cost taxpayers nearly $87.8 million to pay for "temporary accommodations for unvaccinated asymptomatic asylum seekers without a suitable quarantine plan."

While unvaccinated Canadians could not travel via plane or train domestically and internationally, Ottawa accepted refugee and asylum claimants "regardless of their vaccination status." 

To add insult to injury, Canadians also paid for their lodging regardless of vaccination status. Canadians spent $149.2 million to house asylum and refugee claimants between April 2017 and September 2022.

Ottawa is transporting migrants entering Quebec into neighbouring provinces at the province's request. As of June, Ottawa bussed 5,300 migrants out of Quebec to mostly Windsor and Niagara Falls, Ontario. 

Quebec Premier Francois Legault firmly told Ottawa that migrants and asylum seekers could no longer come to Canada through Roxham Road, citing "thinly stretched" resources to accommodate more migrants.

"It is time for Justin Trudeau to put out a new tweet to say not to come anymore because we have exceeded our reception capacity," said Legault. "We have problems with housing, school capacity, and hospital staff. At some point, Trudeau has to send a new message."

Quebec's premier blames Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for promoting an influx of illegal immigrants through a controversial tweet in 2017. Trudeau said that Canada would "welcome" all those "fleeing persecution, terror, and war" in response to then-President Donald Trump's rollback on immigration. 

Following the tweet, Roxham Road, in particular, observed a sharp increase in migrants entering the country.

In 2022, 39,171 asylum seekers crossed Quebec through the unofficial Roxham Road border crossing.

The IRCC said about 3,300 migrants seeking asylum in Ontario came through Roxham Road.

A report by Windsor's social policy and planning manager, Stephen Lynn, said 518 claimants stay in hotels across the city, having "arrived between designated ports of entry on the Canada/US land border."

It added the Roxham migrants are separate from permanent residents, government-assisted or privately sponsored refugees, revealing that Windsor needs federal money to continue helping asylum seekers.

Over the past two months, approximately 1,100 migrants have entered and remain in Windsor.

Other expenditures detailed by the committee report include security "guard services" at hotels that cost taxpayers millions. 

Canadians paid $1.79 million for "guard services at the Best Western Montreal" and $1.39 million for "guard services at Hotel St. Bernard in Quebec near the southern border.

Taxpayers also covered the healthcare services, transportation, rentals and other amenities for illegal immigrants, with the IRCC stating that is a provincial responsibility.

However, the government admits in the report that their decision to exempt visas for Mexican citizens in favour of a simple Electronic Travel Authorization led to a spike in asylum claims. 

"The number of asylum claims from Mexican citizens has increased, which puts additional strain on Canada's asylum system, and Canada is concerned about that," it claimed.

But it only worsens as we travel further south and await the arrival of significant migrant caravans from Central and South America, travelling along the Darien Gap.

Statistics collected by Panama's Department of Migration show about 800 people a day crossing through the Darien Gap in January and February — usually the slowest period of the year.

During the same two months last year, only about 150 people were crossing per day. In January and February of 2021, it was only about 50 per day.

"We are very concerned about the situation, especially because in these months normally it's calmer, and then later we see the peak," said Giuseppe Loprete of the UN's International Organization of Migration in Panama.

"Criminal networks are getting stronger. It's a huge business."

Between August and October 2021, more than 25,000 people crossed the Darien Gap monthly, rising the following year from 30,000 in August to 60,000 in October.

Tyler Mattiace of Human Rights Watch expects summer 2023 will smash all previous records.

"This huge increase that we're seeing in the number of people crossing the Darien indicates, first of all, that the root causes driving people to flee their countries and to attempt to travel north to reach the United States have gotten worse," said Mattiace.

"It indicates that 2023 will be the year with possibly the highest number of people crossing the Darien in history" with most who crossed the Darien in January and February not reaching the US border yet.

Among the migrants are a growing number of Haitians, constituting 16,744 of the 49,291 migrants who crossed the Darien in January and February.

US officials outsourced much migration enforcement to Mexico and Central American countries, with the Biden administration increasingly concerned about more illegal crossings and their effect on the 2024 election.

It pressures Canada to take charge of the deteriorating situation in Haiti — partly to prevent the kind of outflow of people that the Panamanian statistics suggest is already happening.

According to the CBC, "Haitians are generally thought to be one of the nationalities most likely to continue their journeys as far as Canada for reasons of language and family connections."

Mattiace said some of those headed north through the Darien did not depart directly from Haiti but are still responding to events on the island.

"One of the things that we found from speaking to Haitians in the Darien is that many of them have already tried to establish themselves in another country in the Americas, in Chile, in Brazil and Colombia," he said. 

"They often face many challenges that can include legal challenges. They can consist of racism against Haitians, a severe issue in South America."

"We spoke to people who said, 'I made enough in Brazil maybe to support myself, but I didn't make also enough to send money to my family in Haiti, and with the situation the way it is in Haiti, I need to be able to send money back to them.'"

Remove Ads
Remove Ads

  • By Alexandra Lavoie

Contact New York City Mayor Eric Adams

Contact New York City Mayor Eric Adams directly to demand that he immediately stop trafficking illegal migrants to Canada through Roxham Road!

Send an email

Don't Get Censored

Big Tech is censoring us. Sign up so we can always stay in touch.

Remove Ads