Prime Minister Justin Trudeau should probably stop telling refugees that “everybody is welcome in Canada,” after his vow to protect asylum seekers inspired thousands of migrants to journey north across the US-Canada border, fearing deportation should they remain in the states following the election of President Donald Trump.
The influx of migrants has overwhelmed the ability of local and federal agencies to process and provide for the newcomers, leaving many in an uncomfortable legal limbo as they wait for their hearing dates. In recent months, thousands of Haitian asylum seekers have crossed into Quebec following Trump’s threat to remove the temporary protected status granted to nearly 60,000 Haitians living in the US following Haiti’s 2010 earthquake. Of the 4,345 people who either sought asylum at the Canadian border or were intercepted by police in the first six months of 2017, 3,350 were recorded in Quebec.
With the pace of new arrivals increasing, the federal government is being forced to take action.
According to the Associated Press, the Canadian government has dispatched soldiers to a remote back road connecting Quebec with upstate New York. The site has become a popular route for migrants, with more than 400 crossing on Sunday alone.
The military will assist the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Canadian Border Service agency in constructing a registration center complete with tents that can house close to 500 people at the site.
The site will function as a point of entry where asylum seekers are processed and turned over to the government. Soldiers will not play a security role, according to the AP.
Once the settlement is finished, only a few will stay behind. The rest will go back to their home base.
The decision to construct the makeshift shelter comes as Quebec is running out of space to house the migrants.
Local officials recently opened a temporary shelter in Montreal’s Olympic Stadium as they scramble to meet the demand for beds, with some local aid workers telling the Montreal Gazette that government-funded aid programs are “close to their limits.”
It appears that, with local agencies straining under the workload, Trudeau has come through with some federal aid. But when will the progressive iconic and frequent Trump antagonist realize that Canada has simply taken in too many migrants?