OTTAWA — New figures from the federal government show 16,503 people were intercepted by the RCMP last year crossing between formal border points, likely to seek asylum in Canada.
Those numbers are down from 2018, but overall, the number of people filing asylum claims in Canada has risen.
The data from the Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship department shows that in 2019, 63,830 of those claims were filed, up from 55,040 in 2018.
Asylum claims made in Canada have been rising for years, pegged partially on the growing movement of refugee seekers around the world.
But the issue at the border specifically has been linked to the Safe Third Country Agreement with the United States, which governs where and how people moving between the two countries can file for asylum.
The Liberals have repeatedly promised efforts to update the agreement, but briefing notes for the immigration minister prepared in December say there are no formal negotiations with the U.S. underway.