OTTAWA, Dec. 2 (UPI) -- The number of illegal border-crossers arrested near the Quebec-Vermont border in October and November is four times the number last year, Canadian police say.
Canadian officials said the increase suggests human traffickers have become aware the region includes a network of rural roads and abandoned logging trails, the National Post reported.
"There's no doubt that some of these illegal crossings are being facilitated by smugglers who are acting as coyotes to bring people across the border in a fashion that's not dissimilar to what happens across the Mexican-U.S. border," Jason Kenney, the federal citizenship and immigration minister, told the newspaper Wednesday. "These are not all spontaneous individual crossings."
Officials say illegal immigrants who have been denied asylum in the United States may be trying to get into Canada to exploit a quirk in the country's immigration law. They would be turned away if they tried to enter at an official border post. But if they cross illegally, they can apply for refugee status in Canada.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police reported that 60 arrests were made in the past two months, quadruple the apprehensions in October and November 2009.