Number of asylum seekers illegally crossing border continues to rise

Regina woman charged with human smuggling after investigation into asylum seekers crossing into Sask.

Regina woman charged with human smuggling after investigation into asylum seekers crossing into Sask.

Canadian police on Wednesday said they charged a woman with human smuggling offences in connection with the asylum seekers who have been streaming over the border from the United States in growing numbers in recent months. RCMP say nine people from West Africa were intercepted last Friday while entering Canada between the North Portal and Northgate border crossings in Saskatchewan.

Michelle Omoruyi, 43, is charged with human smuggling and conspiracy to commit human smuggling.

The Saskatchewan charges are part of an ongoing, four-month investigation by Canadian and USA authorities. The CBSA says nine foreign nationals were in her vehicle, who had failed to report to the CBSA upon entering Canada.

Jason Evert, with the Canada Border Services Agency, said during a news conference on Wednesday that investigators uncovered evidence suggesting human smugglers were facilitating illegal border crossings in the area. She is to appear in court in Estevan, Saskatchewan, on May 15.

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The increase has also prompted calls to review the Safe Third Country Agreement, under which Canada is obliged to return refugees to the USA if they make an asylum claim at a border checkpoint.

The arrests are part of an ongoing joint four-month investigation by Canada and U.S. authorities into organised human smuggling.

The two most popular provinces for asylum seekers crossing illegally continues to be Manitoba and Quebec. "At this time, we're doing the same thing", said Fisher.

The RCMP intercepted 1,860 people walking unlawfully across the border in the first three months of 2017.

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Critics have blamed the Safe Third Country agreement between Canada and the USA for rise in border jumping.

Since the beginning of the year hundreds of asylum claimants have been making their way across unguarded border crossings into Canada.

The arrest was made as a part of Project FADDUCE. "They're vulnerable and may be taken advantage of by people looking to gain financially from their situation".

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