Nearly half of Canadians want to deport people who are illegally crossing into Canada from the United States, and a similar number disapprove of how Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is handling the influx, according to a Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll released on Monday.
A significant minority, four out of 10 respondents, said the border crossers could make Canada “less safe,” underlining the potential political risk for Trudeau’s Liberal government.
The increasing flow of hundreds of asylum-seekers of African and Middle Eastern origin from the United States in recent months is becoming a contentious issue in Canada.
Although there has been broad bipartisan support for high levels of legal immigration for decades in Canada, Trudeau is under pressure over the flow of the illegal migrants.
He is questioned about it almost every time he appears in parliament, from opponents on the left, who want more asylum-seekers to be allowed in, and critics on the right, who say the migrants pose a potential security risk.
Canadian opposition parties seized on the poll results, with both those on the left and the right saying they underscored their positions.
Canadians appeared to be just as concerned about illegal immigration as American, according to the poll, which was conducted between March 8-9. Some 48 percent supported “increasing the deportation of people living in Canada illegally.” (For graphics on asylum process, immigration poll see tmsnrt.rs/2nyY8CJ)