Cross Country Checkup·Updated

Are you satisfied with the way Canada is handling the migrants coming over the U.S. border?

They've been trickling over the border into Canada steadily ever since U.S. President Trump started tightening up regulations on immigrants and refugees. Some say it's time to bring some order to what's happening. Others say open up the borders to those in need. What do you think?
Asylum seekers move carefully along a railway overpass in Emerson, Man., early Sunday morning. (John Woods/Canadian Press)
Listen to the full episode1:35:29

They've been trickling over the border into Canada steadily ever since U.S. President Trump started tightening up regulations on immigrants and refugees. Some say it's time to bring some order to what's happening. Others say open up the borders to those in need. What do you think? 

It's a dangerous, desperate journey.

They come seeking refuge, trudging for hours through wind, sub-zero temperatures, forests, farmers fields and unmarked country roads.

Hundreds of asylum seekers have entered Canada over the past few months. After trying to escape troubles in their home countries, they're now fleeing the United States and illegally crossing the world's largest undefended border hoping Canada offers a safe haven.

What drives them to make this perilous journey in the dead of winter? Most say they're afraid, fearful that a crackdown on immigrants and refugees by President Donald Trump will mean deportation from the U.S.

Despite the spike in illegal crossings, it's worth remembering the numbers are still below historical highs. But the little town of Emerson, Man. has seen a fivefold increase. On the West Coast, the number has doubled. In Quebec, it's more than quadrupled. Some believe more will come this spring as soon as the weather warms.

Many blame a quirk of the law — the Canada-U.S. Safe Third Country Agreement — for forcing people to take dangerous risks. The only way to claim refugee status, if someone arrives via the United States, is by sneaking in. What do you think? Should Canada suspend or withdraw from the Agreement and open the doors to more?

Others argue asylum-seekers could pose a threat to national security. As images spread of more people trekking across that vast border, do you worry Canada becomes more vulnerable?

The U.S. Homeland Security Secretary told Canadian officials Friday he's "perplexed" by the surge of would-be refugees coming North, and wants more data. What do you think of the Trudeau government's approach toward the Trump administration when it comes to the risky movement of migrants?

Our question: Are you satisfied with the way Canada is handling the migrants coming over the U.S. border?

Guests

Wayne Arseny, former Mayor of Emerson and retired Canadian Border Services superintendent

Julie Taub, Immigration and Refugee lawyer and former Member of the Immigration and Refugee Board

François Doré, a retired police officer who lives in Hemmingford, Quebec, less than a mile from the US border

Gloria Nafziger, Amnesty International Canada Refugee Coordinator 

Jack Jedwab, President of the Association for Canadian Studies and co-chair of the National Metropolis Conference on Immigration and Integration.

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What we're reading

CBC.ca

Globe and Mail

National Post

Maclean's Magazine

Toronto Star

PRI

Amnesty International