Young Refugee Claimants From U.S. Concern Officials

Young refugee claimants from U.S. concern officials

By TOM GODFREY, Toronto Sun
Last Updated: April 12, 2010 9:06pm

Young children from the U.S. are being spirited to Canada for their own safety and are among the top refugee claimants at some southern Ontario border crossings, intelligence officials say.

In August last year, 51 U.S. children were claimants, 46 of whom were under the age of 11, according to a Canada Border Services Agency intelligence report obtained under an access of information request.

Canadian border officials say theyre concerned for the children, some of whom have been brought or sent here to avoid deportation, while their parents remain in the U.S. to work illegally.

They are predominantly the accompanying minor children of land border claimants of other origins, said an officer of a CBSA Intelligence Risk Assessment and Analysis Division.

The agency said most of the claimants arrived at Ontario land crossings and were processed at an immigration office in Fort Erie.

Many of these people had been living illegally in the U.S. for years and had children there, said immigration lawyer Richard Kurland, who obtained the classified bulletin. The children are Americans but their parents are not.

The refugee report was conducted in November and provided a snapshot of other months of the year.

In November, for instance, the top refugee-producing country for Canada was Colombia with more than 80 of 420 claimants.

The agency said also during November, 572 refugee claims were filed at Canadian airports, with 83% of them made at Pearson airport and 9% at Trudeau airport in Montreal.

Officers said organized human smuggling by ship remains a threat with the arrival of a vessel in October last year carrying 76 Sri Lankan refugee claimants.