Fewer Canadians being refused entry at U.S. land border

Always important to have the numbers and data to inform discussion and debate, both the numbers of refusals as well as overall numbers of people crossing the border:

Fewer Canadians are being turned away at the U.S. land border in recent months despite mounting concerns that Donald Trump’s immigration policies are making it much harder to cross, The Canadian Press has learned.

Refusals of Canadians at American land crossings dropped 8.5 per cent between October and the end of February compared with the same five-month period a year earlier, according to U.S. government statistics

The total number of Canadian travellers denied entry also dropped: 6,875 out of 12,991,027 were refused entry, a refusal rate of 0.05 per cent.

Between October 2015 and February 2016, 7,619 out of 13,173,100 Canadian travellers were denied entry to the U.S., a refusal rate of 0.06 per cent.

About 180,000 fewer people attempted to cross the border in the most recent figures.

The figures, confirmed by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, contrast with recent anecdotal reports of Canadians denied entry into the U.S., with many placing the blame on the policies of the Trump administration, including its controversial attempts to ban arrivals from several predominantly Muslim countries.

A further breakdown of the border data shows a sharp drop in Canadian refusals at the U.S. border in the first two months of this year as 2,600 Canadian travellers were denied entry, compared with 3,500 for the same two-month period of 2016.

‘Much more cautious about crossing the border’

But Canadian immigration and civil liberties advocates caution the numbers don’t tell the whole story.

Immigration lawyer Lorne Waldman said he is fielding more calls than ever from people planning a trip to the U.S. and wanting to make sure they have the paperwork they need. The decreased rate of refusal could be just that people are now better prepared than they used to be, and so fewer are being turned away as a result, he said.

“People in Canada used to take it for granted that they could just go to the border . . . but that’s no longer the case,” he said.

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About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

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