Why So Many Refugees Are Risking Their Lives To Cross The Border Into Canada

    It's only partly because of Trump.

    Hundreds of people have made dangerous journeys across the border into Canada to claim asylum in the last few months. The influx has led to an outpouring of support for refugees, as well as calls for the authorities to do more to curb the crossings. Here's what you need to know.

    Why is everyone talking about this now?

    Isn't this illegal?

    Sign at Canadian border asking people to please not sneak in.

    Well...yes and no.

    According to the 1951 United Nations Refugee Convention, refugees are allowed to come to a country outside of the official channels. Canada is a signatory to that treaty.

    So while crossing the border outside of a designated port of entry is illegal, refugees are protected from punishment on the grounds that they are fleeing persecution.

    "If it turns out later on that they're bogus or their claim is denied, they can be pursued for that," said Chantal Desloges, an immigration lawyer in Toronto. "But as long as they're an asylum claimant, that law cannot be enforced on them. It's almost not even correct to say they're illegally crossing the border."

    For that reason, some refugee advocates prefer to call them "irregular border crossings" instead of "illegal."

    Why aren't people just claiming asylum at official border crossings?

    How much of an increase has there been in refugee claims?

    What happens to asylum-seekers after they get to Canada?

    Is this happening because of Trump?