Thousands of migrants, mostly Haitians, have been crossing the U.S.-Canada border with relative impunity since the start of this year. Perhaps not surprisingly, the spike in asylum seekers has coincided with the election of President Donald Trump, who has made no secret of his intention to enforce and expand immigration laws in the United States.
His administration has suggested they will not renew a program which halted deportations of Haitians as a result of a catastrophic earthquake in Haiti in 2010. The program is due to expire in early 2018.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau publicly admonished Trump in January of this year for his controversial travel ban for citizens from a number of Muslim-majority countries by saying that refugees that are rejected in the U.S. are welcome in Canada.
“To those fleeing persecution, terror & war, Canadians will welcome you, regardless of your faith. Diversity is our strength #WelcomeToCanada,” he tweeted in January.
Faced with a spike in migrants crossing the border into Canada, Trudeau has since dialed back, saying that while Canada is an open and welcome society, it remains a country of laws and strict immigration rules.
The Canadian government has also sent government officials to the U.S. in order to speak directly to migrant communities in order to discourage them from attempting to seek refuge in Canada. Many of the refugees are armed only with false information gleaned from Facebook and YouTube saying Canada will grant them automatic asylum.
But it is not only Haitian refugees streaming into Canada by the hundreds every day. Other asylum seekers are also in the mix, but the overwhelmed system is incapable of processing them in a timely manner. As a result, a vetting process which should take 72 hours is taking one to two months.
Now, some in Canada are predicting a second wave of migrants fleeing the U.S., this time those who are under Temporary Protected Status from Latin American countries. Immigration officials at border crossings in Quebec want winterized shelters in preparation for what they anticipate will only be greater numbers of migrants the rest of this year.
Featured image courtesy of Wikipedia.
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