Canada to set up border camp as number of asylum seekers swells

A back road to hope US immigrants stream over into Canada

Since the announcement, many Haitians staying in the U.S. have made a decision to apply for refugee status in Canada.

Patrick Lefort, a spokesperson for the CBSA, said there are now 700 people waiting to be processed who have crossed at Roxham Road.

The military-built camp would house hundreds of asylum seekers in heated tents fitted with flooring and electricity while they waited for their refugee applications to be processed, a statement from the military said.

On Wednesday, almost 100 soldiers were sent to Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle - just across the border from Champlain, New York - to erect heated tents to temporarily house as many as 500 people, the armed forces said in a statement.

The Canadians arrest the migrants as soon as they step across the border.

"They think the Trump administration will fly them back to Haiti and they don't want to take a chance", said Francine Dupuis, who runs PRAIDA, a government-funded program that helps asylum claimants adjust to life in Canada. Wednesday, August 9, 2017.

The Canadian Armed Forces were aware of the hard situation that requires significant resources, said Daniel Le Bouthillier, a spokesman for the Department of National Defence. Military personnel will not participate in security matters, the armed forces said, and most of the soldiers will return to their home bases once the camp is built.




He said the wait is two to three days and there are now no beds, just benches and chairs.

Officials are also planning to use a decommissioned hospital as a shelter.

From January 1 to June 30, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police - the federal agency responsible for border security between legal crossings - has intercepted 4,345 asylum seekers, according to statistics provided by the federal government.

Numerous asylum seekers appear to be Haitians who have been living in the US for years and now face deportation, after Trump's administration decided in May to extend by only six months the temporary protected status granted after Haiti's deadly natural disaster in 2010. The majority of them, 3,350, crossed into Quebec, while 646 crossed into Manitoba, and 332 people crossed into British Columbia.

Canadian immigration officials said the number of asylum seekers crossing illegally near the Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle has quadrupled in the past two weeks, from about 50 a day to 200 a day.

The measure was adopted by former President Barack Obama (2009-2017) administration after the 2010 quake, but now the Department of National Security considers Haiti as a safe country.

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