The Royal Canadian Mounted Police says a 43-year-old woman driving north into the Canadian prairie province of Saskatchewan was arrested after being stopped Friday with nine people from West Africa in her vehicle. The RCMP will not be confirming the age, gender or nationalities of these people.
"Canadian authorities are managing the increase in asylum seekers in a sound and measured way".
A Saskatchewan woman has been charged with human smuggling following a months-long cross-border investigation. But they fled for fear of being enmeshed in President Donald Trump's immigration crackdown.
The number of people stopped by the RCMP after illegally entering Canada rose in March. Among those, Saskatchewan had only seen five.
Michelle Omoruyi, 43, was charged with one count each of human smuggling and conspiracy to commit human smuggling. She is to appear in court in Estevan, Saskatchewan, on May 15.
Many have claimed that at least in some cases there are likely organized groups or individuals helping to deliver people to the border and get them across. They have filed refugee claims and are living in Canada while they wait for their claims to be decided, police said.
NDP Immigration critic Jenny Kwan said the government needs to find a way to address what's clearly a growing problem by both helping the Immigration and Refugee Board deal with the increased case load and rethinking the Safe Third Country agreement with the US that's pushing folks to cross between regular border entry points. Safe Third Country Agreement - exacerbates human smuggling and unlawful border crossings.
"At the moment, one of the byproducts of the agreement is that we create incentives for people to cross irregularly and that gives business to smugglers and puts peoples' lives and their safety at risk", Janet Dench of the Canadian Council for Refugees told the Guardian earlier this year.
The arrests are part of an ongoing joint four-month investigation by Canada and United States authorities into organised human smuggling.
The arrest was made as a part of Project FADDUCE.