Irregular asylum claims fall as experts warn of populist backlash



OTTAWA—The number of asylum-seekers crossing the border “irregularly” into Canada has slowed compared to early last year.Statistics published by the federal government show Mounties apprehended 3,944 irregular migrants between official border crossings in the first third of this year.That’s a 48-per-cent decline compared to the more than 7,600 irregular border crossers intercepted between January and April 2018.Despite this, Darrell Bricker of the polling firm Ipsos Public Affairs says data shows Canadians are increasingly concerned over immigration levels in Canada, due in large part to the influx of irregular migrants.He and other experts who took part in an immigration summit in Ottawa last week are warning against rising populist sentiments that could harden Canadian attitudes against newcomers.Fen Hampson, executive director of the World Refugee Council, says a key concern is that the public doesn’t differentiate between refugees and economic immigrants — and that Canadians may not realize Canada’s refugee influx is nothing compared to the migrant crises facing other countries.

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