The number of people crossing into Quebec from the U.S. and making refugee claims skyrocketed seven-fold last month.
New figures obtained by CBC News show that 724 people made claims in February, compared to just 99 made at the same spot in February 2016. This is on top of the record number of people who claimed asylum at the border crossing in January: 452 people compared to 137 last January—a 230 percent jump.
There's been such a large influx of asylum seekers there that the Canada Border Services Agency in Quebec has converted an unused basement to process the mounting claims.
It's unclear how many of those claims were made by people crossing illegally, but other provinces have also seen an uptick in the number of people taking risky and irregular routes into Canada to avoid getting stopped by border guards and sent back to the U.S. Many of these people cite the election of President Donald Trump and the precarious status of immigrants and refugees in the U.S. as reasons for wanting to flee. Cities across the country are bracing for even more people to cross as the weather warms up.
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