MONTREAL—Quebec government is demanding that Ottawa come up with a new plan for handling asylum seekers with projections that up to 400 people each day could begin crossing into Canada this summer.
“Last year, we peaked at about 250 a day and that was considered massive,” said Quebec Immigration Minister David Heurtel. “Right now, there are projections on the table saying that we could go in the neighbourhood of 400 people per day.”
The province says it wants the federal government to investigate a suspected trafficking network that is helping refugee claimants — most of them Nigerian — to travel to the United States and sneak across the border into Canada at Roxham Road, which connects New York State with Quebec.
It also wants refugee claimants to be sent to other provinces or regions to ease the burden on Quebec, particularly its education and health systems.
As if to underline the gravity of the problem, Heurtel said the 1,850-bed shelter system in the Montreal area will stop accepting new arrivals as of next week when the level of occupation hits 85 per cent.
“We can’t take this situation lightly. The new reality with migrants demands a new way of doing things. We are ready to work with the federal government to develop a new solution. The status quo is not acceptable,” he said.