There has been a sharp rise in the number of illegal immigrants crossing the US border into Canada, as the White House warns American employers against hiring undocumented workers.
Between January and November 2017, more than 2,000 immigrants from a wide array of countries, including Mexico and Colombia, sought refuge in the Canadian province of British Columbia alone, an increase of 78% from the previous year.
Tightening immigration laws and a fear of surprise raids on their US places of employment are the factors driving people northwards to Canada. Many of them have no legal papers whatsoever, but a few have a tourist or student visas, say analysts.
Latin American undocumented workers, many of whom have lived quiet lives in the United States for years, make up the bulk of people seeking asylum in Canada.
Undocumented migrants often seek one Canada’s three sanctuary cities in Ontario, namely Toronto, Hamilton, and London, which have adopted policies that are intended to protect them from deportation and allow them to access municipal services.
Earlier this year, President Donald Trump decided to end Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for some 200,000 Salvadorans, giving them until September 2019 to leave the country or find other means of staying. A similar fate appears to be awaiting thousands of immigrants from Honduras, Haiti, and Nicaragua.
Immigrants felt the pressure mounting when US ambassador Nikki Haley announced that the United States would not be continuing with the UN global compact on migration.