OTTAWA — canadian officials stationed in Nigeria working with their u.s. counterparts to try to trace the cases of Nigerians who have recently arrived in the United States that would be “high risk” of crossing the canadian border in an irregular manner.
Since the beginning of the year, the majority of asylum seekers entering the country irregularly are Nigerians who recently obtained travel visas for americans.
Hursh Jaswal, director of communications for the Immigration minister, Ahmed Hussen, said that these people are asking for apparently this visa with the intention of travelling to Canada to seek asylum.
They are therefore in the United States and spend some time on the american territory, before heading to Canada, he explained.
It is for this reason that the canadian officials are now working with their american counterparts, to prevent Nigerians who have recently arrived in the United States use their visa as a way to seek asylum in Canada.
The canadian representatives in Nigeria and their vis-à-vis american attempt to develop a tool to identify cases that represent a “high risk”.
Last year, the majority of asylum seekers who have crossed the u.s.-canada border in an irregular manner were of haitian origin. Several have explained this movement of population by the decision of the administration, Trump would abolish the temporary protected status that allowed Haitians without status of stay in the United States.
The “factor Trump”
The increased presence of Nigerians in the year does not surprise Kehinde Olalere, a canadian lawyer specializing in immigration law who grew up in Nigeria and regularly visits the country.
Nigerians are fleeing the violence of Boko Haram and other regular persecution that occur in the country, and they find it easier to obtain a u.s. visa, according to Me Olalere. But several of them have as a goal to seek asylum in Canada, ” he said.
“The United States does not represent an attractive place for Nigerians at this time. It has already been the place more attractive, but with the factor Trump, most will orient themselves to Canada”, has explained to Me Olalere.
Jean-Nicolas Beuze, representative of the united Nations High Commissioner for refugees (UNHCR) in Canada, is not, however, agree with the explanation of the “factor Trump”. According to him, this large influx of Nigerians is more related to about the most welcoming in the canadian prime minister, Justin Trudeau.
Many Nigerians are persecuted in their country because of their sexual orientation, and the women who live there are increasingly affected by the domestic violence and female genital mutilation. The more progressive legislation in Canada and its social atmosphere make it more interesting for these asylum seekers, according to Mr. Beuze.
“They believe that Canada will be a country where they will have the right of asylum, and where they feel that they are able to integrate with and continue a normal life, away from the persecution,” he said.
Individuals and families who are fleeing violence and persecution in Nigeria are probably aware of statistics which show that 35 percent of asylum claims from Nigeria are accepted in Canada, according to Me Olalere.
This is why he believes that the influx of asylum seekers, nigerian is not about to slow down: “I don’t see how it could be stopped anytime soon.”
A spokesman for the u.s. State department said Monday that the administration is prepared to improve the audit process for u.s. visas.
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