Officials prepare for anticipated spike in border crossings

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OTTAWA — Border officials are preparing for another anticipated spike in asylum seekers coming illegally into the country from the U.S. as the weather gets warmer.

More than 5,400 people have already crossed the border irregularly this year, including over 600 asylum seekers who came in through Quebec over the Easter weekend.

Last summer, a spike in illegal border crossers caught officials off guard.

Since then, the Immigration Department and the Canada Border Services Agency have been preparing to deal with another expected influx of migrants this summer.

The department has pledged new money to help address backlogs in processing times for refugee claims and to cut work permit wait times for asylum seekers in Quebec.

But the Canadian Council of Refugees says it is concerned about vulnerable migrants being exploited by scammers who offer to help them cross the border for a hefty fee.

The Canadian Press