Asylum seekers are pouring into Canada by the thousands, with the City of Toronto activating an emergency contingency plan to shelter new refugee claimants.
On Wednesday, Toronto arranged 400 beds at the Centennial College Residence and Conference Center to house 400 refugees. As of June 1, the city will also begin using another 400 beds at Humber College in Etobicoke to house refugee claimants.
“The city’s shelter system has reached its capacity to accommodate new refugee arrivals,” stated James Kilgour, Director of the Office of Emergency Management in a press release.
Canada has begun rejecting more refugee claims from people who crossed its border illegally as the government seeks to dissuade, block, and turn back thousands more, according to new data obtained by Reuters.
Forty percent of such border crossers whose claims were finalized in the first three months of this year were granted refugee status, down from 53% for all of 2017, according to data from Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Board.
With the United States tightening its immigration policy, scores of illegal residents are crossing the border into Canada in a desperate bid to avoid detention.
More than 27,000 asylum seekers have illegally crossed the Canada-U.S. border since Donald Trump came to office last year.
Citizens of Haiti and Nigeria reportedly make up a large chunk of people seeking asylum in Canada.
“Toronto has a long history of welcoming refugees but the city can no longer absorb the cost and impact of the increasing numbers of refugee claimants coming into the country,” said the city’s Mayor John Tory.
At the current rate of arrivals, the Toronto projects that refugee claimants will represent more than 53.6% of the city’s shelter population by November.