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Document Reveals Most Deportation Order Recipients Stay in Canada

The majority of individuals issued deportation orders by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) are believed to still be in the country, according to internal government data.

Between Jan. 1 and May 24 of this year, 1,004 deportation orders were issued, of which 185 recipients complied. Enforcement agents removed another 168 individuals, with the rest still in Canada, according to data contained in an order paper requested by Calgary-Shepard Tory MP Tom Kmiec.

“Everyone ordered removed from Canada is entitled to due process before the law, and all removal orders are subject to various levels of appeal, including judicial review,” says CBSA in the document filed on Sept. 18. “Once all legal avenues have been exhausted, foreign nationals are processed for removal.”

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Deportation letters may be issued after a departure order has not been respected.

There were 2,509 deportation orders issued in 2017—the highest annual total between 2016 and May 2023—of which only 460 were enforced. Of individuals ordered to leave Canada that year, 1,518 remain in Canada. There is no available information on how many voluntarily left the country.

Of the 14,609 deportation orders issued by the CBSA between 2016 and May 24, 2023, 771 individuals left Canada voluntarily, 3,087 were enforced, and 9,317 are believed to still be in the country. With respect to the numbers, enforced deportation is independent of the number issued in a specific year.

No elaborate details were provided about the most common reasons deportation orders were issued in the first place. They could target individuals who broke immigration laws while in Canada or who entered the country illegally.

In recent years, tens of thousands of asylum seekers entered the country through the unofficial border crossing at Roxham Road in Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle, Que. In March, the Canada-U.S Safe Thirty Country Agreement was amended to make rules governing asylum more stringent. The RCMP intercepted over 39,000 illegal migrants in Quebec in 2022.
“There are no accurate figures representing the number or composition of undocumented immigrants residing in Canada,” Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) said in a briefing package for the minister. “Estimates from academic sources range between 20,000 and 500,000 persons, although there may be more.”
According to IRCC statistics, of 103,738 refugee claims made by illegal border crossers between February 2017 and June 2023, 33,913 have been accepted, 21,627 rejected, 1,534 abandoned, and the remainder pending.

Only 2,403 individuals who crossed Canada’s border illegally were detained by the CBSA during the aforementioned period.

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