Border agents diverted to help with asylum influx, could lead to travel delays

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Border agents diverted to help with asylum influx, could lead to travel delays
Asylum seekers line up to enter Olympic Stadium Friday, August 4, 2017 near Montreal, Quebec. Border security officers are being diverted from areas across Canada to help with an anticipated spike in the number of illegal border crossers seeking asylum in Quebec. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson

OTTAWA:  Border security officers are being diverted from across Canada to help with an anticipated spike in the number of asylum seekers crossing irregularly into Quebec.

The Canada Border Services Agency has sent memos to members across the country advising them that agents from other regions will be sent to Quebec to alleviate pressures caused by the influx of refugee claimants coming across the Canada-U.S. border at unofficial entry points.

Jean-Pierre Fortin, national president of the Customs and Immigration Union, says this will lead to delays at major airports like Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver as well as land ports like Windsor and Niagara Falls _ due to CBSA staff shortages.

Fortin says he worried the shortages could also lead to security issues.

The RCMP intercepted 7,612 refugee claimants between January and April this year _ more than the number who crossed the border irregularly in the same period last year _ and officials are preparing for a spike over the warm summer months.

The diverted CBSA officers will be stationed in Quebec from May 28 to Sept. 16.