There has been no specific policy change, but some see Trump’s influence in the increase.
In the period between October 2018 and September 2019, US border officials issued expedited removals—associated with a minimum five-year ban—to 616 travellers entering the US by land from Canada.
The figures, provided by US Customs and Border Protection (CBP), amount to an almost 100% increase compared to the previous 12-month period.
The rise in expedited removals—those issued without a hearing—comes as no surprise to some immigration lawyers, who told CBC News that cases that used to result in a simple denied entry can now lead to a five-year ban.
“If they just think you’re being sneaky, that’s all it takes,” Vancouver-based immigration lawyer Andrew Hayes told the outlet. “The benefit of the doubt is not being afforded to people.”
CBP offered no explanation for the surge in removals, telling CBC News there have been no recent policy changes.
Yet a number of lawyers told CBC they believe US President Donald Trump’s tougher stance on immigration may be influencing border officials.
“He gives the officers more comfort in issuing expedited removals, that they’ll at least be backed up by the US government,” said immigration lawyer Len Saunders.
Canadian residents made 25 million round-trips by vehicle to the US from January to September 2019, a decrease of 3.6% from the same period in 2018.
CBP wouldn’t comment directly on specific cases documented by CBC. It said that border officers make decisions on a case-by-case basis given the evidence available at the time. Non-US citizens “bear the burden of proof” to show that they’re eligible to enter the country, spokesperson Stephanie Malin told the Canadian outlet in an email.