Some 48 percent of Canadians support “increasing the deportation of people living in Canada illegally,” according to a new poll released on Monday.
The same number of respondents suggested that the migrants should be sent back to the US, while 36 percent said Canada should “accept these migrants” and allow them to apply for asylum.
Canadians’ view of illegal immigration mirrors that of their neighbors in the US, where a similar Reuters/Ipsos poll conducted earlier this week showed 50 percent support for deportations.
The increased flow of asylum seekers from Africa and the Middle East fleeing the US fearing a crackdown by Trump has become a hot topic in Canada in recent months.
Hundreds have crossed into Canada illegally, bringing Prime Minister Justin Trudeau under fire from both sides of the political spectrum.
The Canadian population is also unhappy with the PM, as 46 percent say they are dissatisfied with how Trudeau has handled the migrant flow.
A similar Ipsos poll from January showed that 59 percent of Canadians supported the prime minister’s approach to the issue. Trudeau’s office declined to comment on Monday’s survey when contacted by Reuters.
Some 41 percent of those surveyed expressed concern that illegal migrants would make Canada less safe, though 41 percent said they won’t.
The Reuters/Ipsos poll, which was conducted online in both English and French on March 8 and 9, included 1,001 people over 18 years old. It has a margin of error of 4 percent.
“There are so many people in the world who want to come in and go through the right channels. That’s what’s pissing most people off. These guys are jumping the border,” Greg Janzen, the head of a Manitoba border municipality, said, in commenting on the poll.
Janzen told Reuters that he himself saw hundreds of people illegally crossing the border from the US.
Warm weather may lead to an even greater spike in illegal immigration into Canada, warned Brian Lee Crowley, head of the Macdonald-Laurier Institute public think-tank.
“If people become convinced there’s a large uncontrolled flow of illegal immigrants, I think that will be a very serious political issue for the government,” Crowley said.