Scheer criticizes Trudeau on immigration, argues system's integrity damaged

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer says the prime minister damaged the integrity of Canada's immigration system when he tweeted two years ago that Canadians will welcome all those fleeing persecution, terror and war.

Scheer was asked about illegal immigration today at a town hall in suburban Vancouver held by the Surrey Board of Trade, where audience members applauded his response.

He says people crossing the U.S. border into Canada outside regular checkpoints are "jumping the queue'' and causing longer wait times for refugees and immigrants going through traditional channels.

The federal government says 34,854 refugee claims were made by irregular border crossers between February 2017 and September 2018 and of those 3,142, or nine per cent, have been accepted.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau recently warned people to be wary of fear-mongering about immigration, suggesting the issue will be a hot-button topic during the federal election campaign this fall.