Canada column for Sunday, Aug. 13/17
THE CANADIAN REPORT
(c) By Jim Fox
The sudden influx of refugee-seekers at Canada’s doorstep on the Quebec-New York border has prompted the opening of more shelters in Montreal.
Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Board has established 25 processing tents at the border and arranged to house migrants inside Montreal’s Olympic Stadium, a former convent and the old Royal Victoria Hospital.
The recent surge of asylum-seekers, many of whom are from Haiti and are fleeing from the U.S. over fears of deportation, led to “more aggressive action” to deal with the situation, said Shereen Benzvy Miller, head of the refugee protection division.
Hundreds of people rallied outside the stadium and shouted “refugees welcome” in Creole.
“This is a vast, rich country that can welcome many, many people who are in bad situations and can’t stay in their own countries,” organizer Serge Bouchereau said.
The agency has also dedicated 20 of its members for speedier handling of the arrivals of which there were 1,798 people in the first week of this month at Hemmingford, Quebec.
Canada Border Services is trying to process the arrivals within a few days to await their claims to be heard by the immigration board as they settle across the country.