Canadians want asylum seekers sent back to US

Mamadou first tried to enter Canada at this border checkpoint north of Plattsburgh New York but he was turned back to the U.S. after it was determined he didn't meet any of the exceptions to the Safe Third Country Agreement. (Kathleen Masterson  VP

Nearly half of Canadians believe that migrants who are illegally crossing into Canada from the US should be deported, according to a Reuters Ipsos opinion poll.

Some 48 percent of Canadians said they support "increasing the deportation of people living in Canada illegally", in the Reuters/Ipsos survey, and almost half said those crossing into their country from the us should be sent back.

These numbers mirror those of the United States, where 50% of Americans support the deportation of illegal immigrants- divulged by a similar poll by Reuters, which ran at the same time as the Canadian poll.

Although there is broad support for legal immigration in Canada, and the prime minister is not up for re-election until 2019, the global shift toward nationalism - which underpinned the United Kingdom's decision to leave the European Union and the election of Trump in the USA - could hurt Trudeau politically.

Some 41 percent of those surveyed expressed concern that illegal migrants would make Canada less safe, though 41 percent said they won't.

The RCMP have said more than 430 people have cross the border illegally this year, mostly in border town in BC, Manitoba and Quebec. "These guys are jumping the border", he said.

"Refugees are much more welcomed when we have gone and selected them ourselves as a country, as opposed to refugees who have chosen us", said Janet Dench, executive director of Canadian Council for Refugees. On the other hand, 46 percent said that the migrants will make no difference for Canada and four percent said they would make Canada safer. Trudeau's office declined to comment on Monday's survey when contacted by Reuters.

Canadian authorities dismiss the idea they are being lax.

Dan Brien, spokesman for Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale, said trying to come across the border under the radar "is not a "free" ticket to Canada", adding that all asylum seekers who enter the country illegally are immediately arrested.

"If they are found to be inadmissible without a valid claim, deportation procedures are begun", he said by email when asked about the poll.

A similar Ipsos poll from January showed that 59 percent of Canadians supported the prime minister's approach to the issue.

The Reuters/Ipsos poll, which was conducted online in both English and French on March 8 and 9, included 1,001 people over 18 years old. "We will continue to strike a balance between a rigorous system and accepting people who need help", he said as he announced a plan to resettle 1,200 Yazidi women.

The poll has a credibility interval, a measure of accuracy, of 4 percentage points.

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