Asylum-seekers who tried to cross from U.S. last month turned back

cbsa

The Canada Border Services Agency says it turned back 21 people who tried to enter the country from the U.S. in May to claim asylum.

The CBSA says 17 were sent back to the U.S. from the Quebec region and four were sent back from the Pacific region after they were stopped by the RCMP entering between formal border control points.

The 21 were turned away under the rules governing the current shutdown of the Canada-U.S. border to non-essential traffic in order to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Before that closure, hundreds of people a month entered away from official border points to be able to claim asylum.

The first agreement sealing the border allowed Canada to turn them all away, but after criticism Canada was abandoning its obligations to refugees, the rules were relaxed to allow some people to file claims.

To do so, they have to be exempt from the Safe Third Country Agreement that governs refugee claims at the Canada-U.S. border.
    
(With files from Stephanie Levitz of The Canadian Press)<