U.S. President Donald Trump today unveiled a suite of new measures aimed at tightening America’s borders, including building a border wall with Mexico, cutting back on refugee intake, and more intensive visa vetting for people from certain countries.
But while Trump is taking a harder line on immigration than any president in recent memory, The Immigrant Services Society of BC says so far, it hasn’t meant a big bump in the number of immigrants choosing to come north of the border.
However, Director of Settlement Services Chris Friesen says there is a strategy in place for an influx of people moving to Canada.
“My colleagues across the country have been discussing this. We have contingency plans for housing and pre-settlement services and food security pieces. So far we haven’t seen it. Here in the Lower Mainland, we’ve only seen a couple of families since December 1st.”
However, Friesen says there is a chance Mexican refugees could seek asylum in Canada if Trump pushes on with a US-Mexico border wall.
“President Trump spoke about deportation of millions of illegal Mexicans. If that happens, along with the wall, I think that there is a chance that we’re going to see some increase spontaneous arrivals of Mexicans seeking asylum.”
He says only a few Mexican families have landed in the Lower Mainland since December.
Friesen notes the US has resettled more than 750,000 refugees since 9/11. None of them have been arrested on terrorism charges.