Military to build camp to house asylum seekers at Quebec border
Aug 12 2017
"The Canadian Armed Forces are aware of the hard situation that is requiring significant resources of Canada Border Services Agency, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and other partners in the area of St-Bernard-de-Lacolle", the military said in a statement.
Francine Dupuis, who oversees a Quebec government-funded program that helps asylum seekers, said 2,620 people are now being housed in temporary accommodation in Montreal.
To qualify for political asylum in Canada, refugee claimants must prove they are "not able to return because of a well-founded fear of persecution" or that they face "risk to their life, or risk of cruel and unusual treatment or punishment", according to Immigration and Citizenship Canada.
In the first half of 2017, more than 4,300 asylum seekers walked across the USA border into Canada.
The majority of those asylum seekers, or 3,350 people, crossed into Quebec, while 646 crossed into Manitoba and 332 people crossed into British Columbia.
Most asylum-seekers arriving in Quebec are Haitians who have been living in the United States for years, but now they are facing deportation threats.
Authorities have responded by opening additional welcome centres.
Last week, Montreal's Olympic Stadium became the temporary home to hundreds of refugees. "They're all in a bad situation".
Canadian officials told the AP they estimated 400 illegals crossed the border at the Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle this Sunday alone.
The temporary facility is being built in anticipation of a large influx of asylum seekers from the USA, said Stephane Malepart, a spokesperson for the Canada Border Services Agency. The delays mean migrants have been forced to wait in an area with no beds, just benches and chairs. Those who remain on site will be tasked with maintaining Canadian forces equipment.
Officials at Immigration Canada said the number of asylum seekers illegally crossing into Quebec is averaging 200 per day, up from 50 daily two weeks ago.
More than 50,000 people who were affected by Haiti's 2010 natural disaster have been living in the United States under "temporary protected status" for seven years.
In May, then-DHS Secretary John Kelly announced TPS for Haitians would be extended one more time, until January 2018, with a strong indication that this will be the final extension.
Members of the Canadian armed forces erect tents to house asylum seekers at the Canada-United States border in Lacolle, Que., Wednesday, August 9, 2017. The migrants hope is to gain legal status through the relatively forgiving Canadian asylum laws.