Fewer than 1% of illegal border crossers have serious criminal backgrounds, CBSA official says

October 5, 2017

Fewer than one per cent of the asylum seekers crossing into Canada illegally have a serious criminal background, according to the Canada Border Services Agency.

Appearing before the House of Commons immigration committee studying the issue today, CBSA associate vice-president Jacques Cloutier said any potential risks are swiftly identified and dealt with.

"We are dealing with situations on site immediately as they present and they do not present on a regular basis," he said. "It is overall, in our estimation, even less than one per cent of cases that are cases dealing with serious criminality and which are resolved at the time, in their entirety."

Liberal ministers taking questions at the committee worked to downplay any associated problems with the surge in asylum seekers and assure the public that federal officials are managing the influx capably.Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale, responding to questions from Alberta Conservative MP Glen Motz about what the government is doing to restore public confidence, ensure people follow the rules and don't disappear after entering the country, insisted the border is secure.

"The implication in this dump of innuendos that somehow the border is insecure and somehow the safety of the country is being compromised is absolutely wrong," he said.

Officials from various departments, including CBSA and the RCMP, act immediately and effectively to minimize any risks to Canadians, he said.

Degree of difficulty 'relatively small'

"The volume of problems that have to be dealt with at the border, apart from the challenge of volume from time to time, but the actual degree of difficulty with the cases is relatively small overall. The experience has not been one of significant risk to health or safety or the public," Goodale said.

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