Published: Thu, August 10, 2017
Global | By Maureen Mccoy

Canada sends soldiers to United States border where refugees cross

Canada sends soldiers to United States border where refugees cross

They are preparing a place for tents that can hold nearly 500 people.

With the Trump administration's immigration crackdown this has led thousands of asylum seekers to cross the border through unofficial crossings such as the Roxham Road in St-Bernard-de-Lacolle. They will also install lighting and heating equipment.

The military would have no role in security matters, Le Bouthillier said in emailed statement.

Officials said once the site was completed, only a few will soldiers will stay behind.

Earlier in the day, in nearby Hemmingford, some 40 asylum seekers sat under white tents at an impromptu reception centre that has sprung up on the Canadian side of a popular illegal border crossing.

"I'll be your tour guide", one RCMP officer inside the bus could be heard joking.

Like the United States, Canada had a deportation ban on Haitians after a 2010 natural disaster.

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Since late July, more than 2,500 Haitians have fled the United States seeking asylum in Canada, crossing the border into the Francophone province of Quebec.

In the United States, the Trump administration is considering ending a program that granted Haitians so-called "temporary protected status" following the massive natural disaster that struck their homeland in 2010.

Officials at Immigration Canada said the number of asylum seekers illegally crossing into Quebec is averaging 200 per day, up from 50 daily two weeks ago.

The federal government is deploying about 100 Canadian soldiers to build a temporary camp to house up to 500 asylum seekers near the Canada-United States border in Quebec.

On Wednesday, the Quebec government announced the opening of another facility, this one at the Royal Victoria Hospital with a capacity of between 300 and 320 places.

Last week, Montreal's Olympic Stadium was set up to handle asylum seekers after the YWCA became too crowded, but the stadium is booked for other uses beginning next month, said officials at a news conference, so the tent city is being constructed.

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