He told reporters in Montreal today that Canada has been working closely with the United States over the alleged abuse of USA visas by Nigerians seeking to enter Canada.
The Safe Third Country Agreement took effect in December 2004 and states Canada and the United States recognize each other as safe places for refugee claimants to seek protection.
"Just over 90 percent of irregular migrants do not meet our criteria (for asylum) and they will have to leave Canada", Garneau said, adding that 200 now face imminent deportation after their refugee claims were rejected.
With the number of asylum claimants expected to increase over the summer and the great majority arriving in Quebec, the federal government is putting up shelters for 500 beds near the town of Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle to temporarily house applicants while their cases are being processing.
About 2,500 asylum seekers crossed into Quebec from the U.S.in April, Garneau said.
Canada's Liberal government, meanwhile, has dismissed calls by the Conservative Party of Canada to designate the entire Canada-U.S. border an official crossing, which would remove the loophole in the Safe Third Country Agreement that has allowed thousands to gain entry at unofficial crossings and claim asylum in Canada.
The $173 million set aside for asylum seekers in this year's budget will go, in part, toward hiring new immigration and refugee board officials to speed up the wait for a hearing.
At Ottawa's request, United States authorities have also recently tightened their visa rules for Nigerians to try to prevent tourists from flying to the USA and then hopping across the border to file Canadian refugee claims.
"Why is this a problem?" she added. In fact, over 12,500 people who illegally entered the country have had work permits given to them this year. "I'm concerned that Canadians are watching the government's inability to secure our borders and say, 'Why are we having immigration to begin with?' And that is not the debate we want to have".
These developments follow news that American officials are studying amendments proposed by Canada to its Safe Third Country Agreement with the United States, which deems both countries safe havens for refugees and limits who can claim asylum at official border crossings between the two countries.
Canada has been trying to reduce the numbers of migrants seeking asylum outside of official border checkpoints. While the act of crossing the unmanned border is illegal, Boulerice points out that the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees entitles those already inside the country to a refugee hearing.
"Just like any agreement that is 14 years old, it's always wise and prudent to refresh [it]", Mr. Hussen said.
He said the government is still in the process of developing its promised triage plan to help asylum seekers travel to Ontario, where many of them hope to go.