CANADA-REFUGEES
Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) officers assist a child from a family that claimed to be from Sudan as they walk across the US-Canada border into Hemmingford, Canada, from Champlain in New York, USReuters/Christinne Muschi

Almost half of Canadians believe that migrants who are illegally crossing into Canada from the USA should be deported, according to a Reuters Ipsos opinion poll.

48% of the 1,001 people polled said they supported "increasing the deportation of people living in Canada illegally", while 41% think that illegal migrants will make Canada "less safe."

At least 36% believe that Canada should accept migrants coming from the US and allow them to apply for refugee status.

Canadians are just as concerned about illegal immigration as their neighbours, the poll reveals. 50% of US adults support deporting illegal immigrants, according to a Reuters Ipsos poll conducted at the same time (8-9 March).

Canada has seen a major influx of asylum-seekers entering the country in the past few months, since President Trump introduced a travel ban on refugees and migrants from seven majority-Muslim countries.

In the first two months of 2017 around 1,700 refugee claims were filed at the Canadian-US border, according to the Canada Border Services Agency. More than 7,000 refugees entered the country by land in 2016, an increase of 63% compared with the previous year.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is facing increasing pressure to address the steady flow of illegal migrants entering the country. The Conservative opposition have called on him to enforce stricter border controls and to suspend the Safe Third Country Agreement which prohibits most migrants in the US from making a refugee claim at an official border post and forces them to enter the country via dangerous routes.

46% of those polled by Reuters said they disagreed with the way the Trudeau government has handled the influx of migrants entering Canada from the US. 37% said they agreed with government's current immigration policy.

Despite growing political pressure and public dissatisfaction, Trudeau has refused to stem irregular migration across the border. "One of the reasons why Canada remains an open country is Canadians trust our immigration system and the integrity of our borders and the help we provide people who are looking for safety," he told Parliament last month. "We will continue to strike a balance between a rigorous system and accepting people who need help," he said as he announced a plan to resettle 1,200 Yazidi women.

The Canadian government has set an immigration target of 300,000 for 2017, comprising 1% of the population. The 2017 target for resettling refugees is 25,000, significantly lower than in 2016 when the country welcomed 44,800 refugees.

Syrian refugees are greeted by Justin Trudeau
Syrian refugees are greeted by Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on their arrival from Beirut at the Toronto Pearson International AirportReuters