Roughly the same percentage of Canadians as Americans want to deport those who illegally cross the border into their country, as almost half of Canadians surveyed in a recent poll said that anyone who crosses their border without proper authorization should be kicked out. A similar number of people surveyed did not support Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's liberal policies toward immigrants and refugees.
In the Reuters/Ipsos survey, 48 percent of respondents said that they would be fine with "increasing the deportation of people living in Canada illegally." The same number said that Canada should send back migrants who come from the U.S., while 36 percent said that the nation should accept those who cross illegally from American and allow them to pursue refugee status.
"Refugees are much more welcomed when we have gone and selected them ourselves as a country, as opposed to refugees who have chosen us," said Janet Dench, executive director of Canadian Council for Refugees, according to Reuters.
The Canadian numbers are remarkably close to American poll results: during the same week, 50 percent of Americans told Reuters in a similar poll that they support "increasing the deportation of illegal immigrants."
"There are so many people in the world who want to come in and go through the right channels," said Greg Janzen, the leader of Emerson-Franklin, a rural border municipality in Manitoba, Canada, that reportedly sees hundreds of people cross the border. "That's what's p***ing most people off. These guys are jumping the border."
That is indeed what many Americans are doing. Refugee claim applications and illegal crossing from the U.S. to Canada are higher than they have been in years, reports the Guardian. In 2016, 63 percent more refugee applicants entered Canada by land, with at least 2,000 of those believed to have come into the country in an irregular manner.
"They're not crossing at the actual point where there's an immigration and customs offices," Rita Chahal of the Manitoba Interfaith Immigration Council told the Guardian. "They're walking through prairie fields with lots and lots of deep snow. In Europe we're seeing people in boats; now just imagine a prairie flatland and snow for miles and miles."
A number of these people, some of whom first attempted to become refugees in America, said that they crossed into Canada to flee President Donald Trump's policies.
Whether or not that influx of border crossing and refugee application has changed Canadians' immigration opinions is unknown. However, 46 percent of respondents in the Reuters poll said that they did not approve of Trudeau's approach to the situation, while 37 percent approved and 17 percent did not know. In a different Ipsos poll in January, 59 percent of Canadians approved of their prime minister, and 41 percent disapproved.