>> Even in January, the dead of winter, nearly 1,500 people crossed the border from the US into Canada to file refugee claims. Canada rarely had to deal with asylum seekers, but since President Trump's crackdown on immigration and the travel ban, that situation has changed dramatically. More than 20,000 people have crossed the border into Canada illegally over the past year.
And this unprecedented northward migration is putting a strain on Canada's refugee system, which is supposed to process all refugee claims within 60 days. Reuters' Anna Mehler Paperny is in Toronto.>> Delays in Canada's Immigration and Refugee Board are the worst they have been in years. As of February 1st, it would take an average of 20 months wait for somebody who’s in the queue right now to have their claim heard.
That means people can spend years in limbo in Canada, awaiting word on their future, trying to build lives for themselves but not knowing whether they’ll be able to stay for a few months down the road.>> Experts say long term planning is needed to integrate the refugees because the influx is not an aberration or a blip, it's the new normal.
And it's now hurting Canada's largest city.>> In Toronto, 31% of the people sleeping in city run homeless shelters are refugee claimers. That's up from 18.5% a year ago. As a result, the city and agencies that are partners with have been booking thousands of hotel rooms for refugee claimants to sleep in.
And they say that isn't unsustainable, they need a longer term solution. And what city councillors say, is that they need funding from the federal government to help them make that happen.>> Prime minister Justin Trudeau's government has discussed the situation with the Trump administration but has been careful not to publicly blame the US President's policies for triggering the migration wave.