SAINT-BERNARD-DE-LACOLLE, Quebec (Reuters) – Dozens of army tents dotted the Canadian border on Thursday to house hundreds of asylum seekers, many from Haiti, streaming into the country from upstate New York to file refugee claims.
More than two hundred people a day are illegally walking across the border into Quebec to seek asylum,declared the government officials. Over 4,300 asylum seekers have crossed illegally into Canada in the first half of this year, with some citing U.S. President Donald Trump’s tougher stance on immigration.
Canada’s military has set up heated tents to house up to 500 asylum seekers as they go through the security screenings near the border. Officers from the Canada Border Services Agency and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police have also been redeployed to the area to provide additional assistance and security as authorities grapple with the influx.
Claimants, once they have crossed the border illegally, are brought by buses to the makeshift camp where their belongings are kept in shipping containers.
About 25 asylum seekers, predominantly men, occupied some of the tents on the temporary encampment on Thursday afternoon. They lay on cots, charging their phones and sat at wooden benches in a light drizzle.
Almost all the recent arrivals have been Haitians,who fear they will be deported from the U.S. as their “temporary protected status,” which granted more than 50,000 Haitians residency in the U.S. after the 2010 earthquake, is set to expire in January. Spurred by false accounts of guaranteed residency in Canada, they made it through the borders!
Wilfrid Guillaume, 36, left Haiti three months ago and applied for asylum in the United States. Guillaume, who occupied one of the tents, said he abandoned his claim because he felt like there was no future back in Haiti.He walked to Canada, he said, “Hope we’ll be welcomed.”