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Canadian military builds camp for refugees crossing USA border

12 August 2017
Canadian military builds camp for refugees crossing USA border

The site has become a popular crossing spot in recent months, with hundreds of people a day making the easy trip over a shallow ditch that connects both countries.

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

Since the announcement, many Haitians staying in the USA have chose to apply for refugee status in Canada.

Montreal's Mayor Denis Coderre tweeted last week that during July, as many as 2,500 asylum seekers fled the United States for Quebec.

At a news conference Wednesday, federal, provincial and municipal government representatives outlined the efforts being made on different fronts to house the newcomers, most of whom are Haitians who had been living in the US but who fear being deported back to Haiti.

Authorities have responded by opening additional welcome centres. 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. "They're all in a bad situation".

At Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police have set up temporary facilities where migrants are screened and processed.

According to the agency it may take up to three days for Canada Border Services to process the 700 applications for asylum.

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

Mr. Le Bouthillier said most of the soldiers will return to base once the camp is set up.

The military says that once the site is completed, only a few will soldiers will stay behind.

More than 50,000 people affected by Haiti's natural disaster have been allowed to remain in the United States under "temporary protected status" according to the US Department of Homeland Security. But Kelly warned those granted TPS not to assume it would be renewed again.

Jean said numerous Haitians he has spoken to either had TPS in the United States or were undocumented.

But the government of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau claims that, under the 1951 U.N. Refugee Convention, it is compelled to hear asylum claims made by people who cross the border illegally, through unofficial crossings, and make their refugee claims inland. The migrants hope is to gain legal status through the relatively forgiving Canadian asylum laws. In 2016, refugee status was granted to roughly 50% of Haitians whose claims were considered, up slightly from the 40% success rate of applicants in 2015, according to Canada's Immigration and Refugee Board.

Canada's own program granting Haitian nationals temporary refuge here after the natural disaster has already ended, after it was extended twice by the Trudeau government. Many have since applied for permanent residency but advocacy groups have warned that some have been deported to Haiti.