Canada is accepting a higher proportion of asylum seekers than it has at any time in nearly three decades. Almost 90,000 asylum claim decisions made by the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada between January 2013 and September 2017.
The decisions indicate where each asylum seeker comes from, why they said they had to flee their homeland and whether their bid to stay in Canada was successful.
Reasons for fleeing
As President Donald Trump looks to clamp down further on immigration, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has overseen a record-high acceptance of asylum seekers.
According to data from the Canadian government, some of the top reasons for seeking asylum was to flee criminals or gangs, but individuals who made such claims were among the least likely to be approved by the IRB.
One of the criteria for a successful refugee claim is to what degree a claimant fits the United Nations definition of a convention refugee: Having a well-founded fear of persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group.
Those fleeing criminals or gangs often do not meet these criteria.
Political and religious refugees were the most likely to be accepted.
Asylum seekers are separate from the government or privately sponsored refugees who make their claims while still overseas and whose stories are verified before they arrive in Canada.
Asylum seekers from China had the highest number of refugee claim decisions over the five-year period, but that number began dropping significantly in 2015.
The drop was attributable to two factors unique to that country: fewer claims from the Falun Gong spiritual group and the end of the one-child policy in 2016.
Decisions on claims from Hungary also dropped from almost 2,000 in 2013 to about 400 in the first nine months of 2017. This was due to substantially fewer claims from members of the Roma ethnic group.
Meanwhile, Nigeria surpassed China as the country with the most refugee claim decisions in Canada last year. Many of the claims from Nigerians relate to sexual orientation and gender persecution.
Claims from Turkey have also increased significantly, making that country Canada’s second-largest source of asylum seekers. These claims were mostly political in nature, or from members of the Kurdish ethnic group.
Canada has not seen such high acceptance rates since 1991, which was 27 years ago.
It comes as Trump has signalled a refusal to bend on his bid to implement tighter immigration rules.
The U.S. leader has said he would welcome another U.S. government shutdown if he does not get his way on immigration.
“I’d love to see a shutdown if we can’t get this stuff taken care,” Trump said, speaking at the White House. “If we have to shut it down because the Democrats don’t want safety … let’s shut it down.”
His comments came just two days before a short-term agreement to keep the government running expired on February 8. The government shut down briefly last month when Democrats attempted to push for a deal protecting undocumented citizens, known as Dreamers, who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children.