Amid worries at the rise of Nigerian migrants crossing into Canada with refugee claims, the government is putting measures in place to stem the practice.
According to a report by Reuters, the Canadian government has noticed a growing trend of asylum seekers illegally walking across the United States of America's border to file refugee claims in Canada. Many of the Nigerian asylum seekers are noted to have arrived bearing valid U.S. visas after having spent very little time in the United States.
A Canadian immigration official told Reuters, "It is apparent that they obtained those visas with the express intent to actually go to Canada."
To arrest the situation, Canadian officials are leaning on U.S. visa officials in Nigeria with the hope of limiting the number of visas issued to Nigerians to move to America before making refugee claims in Canada.
"We've been sharing that information with the United States with the view of preventing the abuse of U.S. visas," the official added.
A spokeswoman for Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada told Reuters on Wednesday, May 2, 2018, that two Canadian officials were sent to Lagos to work directly with their counterparts in the U.S. visa office.
She noted that the officials are "meeting regularly to exchange information on migration movements" hoping to lower the number of migrants who make asylum claims in Canada using a U.S. visa.
Since June 2017, Canadian authorities have reportedly intercepted more than 7,600 Nigerian asylum seekers with 81% of them having valid U.S. non-immigrant visas in their possession.
A spokesperson for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has disclosed that it is reviewing Canada's proposal, saying, "consular officers in the field often coordinate with our close partners from other countries to discuss matters of shared concern."
Canada's immigration dilemma
According to estimates from Canada's federal immigration and refugee department, more than 26,000 people illegally crossed the Canada-U.S. border in the past 15 months to file refugee claims. In April 2018 alone, about 2,500 asylum seekers crossed into the country to file refugee claims, the highest in eight months.
The Canadian government is under pressure to get the situation under control and is trying to secure its borders more while also obeying its law on refugees and maintaining its image.