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Immigration Wahala! Washington Post Exposes Nigerians Walking Into Canada To Seek Asylum

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Washington Post Exposes Nigerians Walking Into Canada To Seek Asylum

United State newspaper, the Washington Post has done an expose on Nigerians walking through the United State Border to seek asylum in Canada, a move that concerned authorities are making effort to reduce by putting stringent measures in place to deny visiting visa to applicants.

It was gathered by BlackBox Nigeria, that Ni­ger­ian asylum seekers are flooding into Canada across a ditch in Upstate New York. The flow of asylum seekers it was reported began last summer and has resumed this spring. Before now, it used to be Haitians who had lived in the United States for years before suddenly learning they would lose their protected status and are fleeing north. But Mathieu Genest, a spokesman for Canada’s immigration minister said many Nigerians are arriving in Quebec with recently issued U.S. visitor visas to seek asylum.

The Nigerian asylum seekers usually walk into Quebec via an “irregular” border crossing north of Plattsburgh, N.Y., causing Canadian authorities to ask the United States for help. Canada is not asking U.S. officials to refuse entry to Nigerians, Genest said. It is seeking stricter screening to ensure that Nigerians who are granted U.S. visitor visas truly intend to return home. Canada wants the U.S. immigration officials to reduce the foot traffic by screening Nigerians more stringently before granting them U.S. visas.

Nigerians seeking asylum in Canada are captured into the Canadian system at a  shelter on the city’s outskirts, in a onetime youth detention center that was converted last year into emergency housing for refugee claimants.

The Canadian government has been trying to tone down its welcoming image — or, rather, to provide accurate information about how it processes refugee claims. Ethnic communities in the United States have been warned that actually winning refu­gee status here is hard.

But the campaign has been ineffective. As of mid-April, nearly 6,000 people had entered Quebec unofficially, three times as many as during the same period in 2017. And in 2017, claims across the country had doubled from the year before.

One of the asylum seekers Mary Chukwuwuekezie, who walked into Quebec with her three children in November after staying in the United States for 11 months on a visitor visa, said conditions in Nigeria are worsening. She claimed that kidnapping, arson and attacks on churches are are reasons for leaving the country.
For Nigerians to enter Canada to lodge a claim in the first place, the need a visa to board a flight to North America, and the United States grants visitor visas more freely, said Benn Proctor, a researcher at the Wilson Center’s Canada Institute.

No one can officially enter Canada from the United States as a refugee claimant because of the Safe Third Country Agreement, which forces people arriving in either country to make their claim where they first land. Last year, however, a way around that became apparent, when news organizations and past border-crossers on social media publicized the locations of Canada’s unofficial land crossings, opening an opportunity for Nigerians.

As a signatory to international conventions, Acer said, Canada should open its doors further and “actually terminate its Safe Third Country Agreement . . . if the United States is simply not meeting that standard, given its harsh treatment of asylum seekers.”

Canadian officials have said they are not looking to abandon the agreement, although last week, they struck a slightly different tone.

Given the current numbers of asylum seekers, “we have contingency plans,” Genest said. “That being said, we are constantly in conversation with the U.S., making sure that the Safe Third Country Agreement is working for both countries.”

BlackBox Nigeria gathered that new asylum seekers may end up disappointed as more than half of the Nigerians who seek asylum last year were rejected.

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