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Canadian Army Sets Up Camp for Irregular Migrants

12 August, 2017, 00:16 | Author: Paula Vaughn
  • Back Road to Hope Migrants Flood Canada at Remote Outpost

The camp, not far from the border processing centre in Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle, about 60 kilometres south of Montreal, will be able to house about 500 people.

Many Haitians fear their fate if they remain in the United States, because of the anti-immigrant rhetoric and actions by the Trump administration.

To accommodate the new arrivals, "nearly 100 soldiers will be in Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle, across the border from Champlain, New York, on Wednesday to set up the tents and add to temporary facilities already organized by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and Canadian Border Services Agency", Reuters reported.

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. 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.

A large number of these migrants who enter irregularly in Canada are Haitians who fear that the government Trump revokes the temporary residence permit that had been granted to the aftermath of the 2010 quake.

Around 250 asylum seekers are arriving each day in Montreal, the largest city in Canada's mainly French-speaking Quebec province.

"We're going to set up lighting as well, and heating and we're going to have flooring installed".

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By doing so, they aim to skirt a 2004 agreement between Canada and the U.S. that forces most migrants to apply for asylum in the first country in which they arrive. The stadium is now being used as a temporary shelter for some of the hundreds of asylum claimants pouring across the New York-Quebec border every day.

The military says that once the site is completed, only a few will soldiers will stay behind. In May, the Trump administration threatened to pull the plug on a longstanding humanitarian program, potentially exposing as many as 58,000 Haitians to deportation.

It follows an announcement by Donald Trump in May that the United States would end its programme for protection to Haitian citizens after the devastating 2010 quake.

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.

Worried Haitians in the USA - many of them spurred by misinformation regarding the ease of obtaining residency in Canada - began crossing the border in increased numbers this month, hoping to obtain refugee status in Canada. The migrants hope is to gain legal status through the relatively forgiving Canadian asylum laws.

Canadian authorities accepted 50.5 percent of the 410 refugee claims by Haitians heard in 2016, government data showed.

Canada's own program granting Haitian nationals temporary refuge here after the quake has already ended, after it was extended twice by the Trudeau government.

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