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Haiti - FLASH : Waves of Haitian refugees unprecedented in Quebec
04/08/2017 11:29:35

Haiti - FLASH : Waves of Haitian refugees unprecedented in Quebec
Thursday in a press conference in Montreal, Kathleen Weil, Quebec's Minister of Immigration, confirmed that the number of asylum seekers in Quebec had tripled in the past two weeks. She said that between July 1 and 19, some 50 applicants arrived in Quebec every day, "now it's an average of 150..."

She indicated that since January 1 of this year until the end of June, Québec had already received more than 6,500 asylum seekers, exceeding in 6 months the total number of asylum applications in each of the two previous years (2,920 in 2015, and 5,505 in 2016), pointing out that "if the trend continues, this number could reach 12,000 by the end of the year."

The entry of these waves of refugees at the border, mostly Haitians, forced the authorities to find a solution on the accommodation side. So far housed in university residences, reception centers (army of salvation, YMCA, etc.) or hotels, asylum seekers are now so numerous that part of the Olympic Stadium is transformed into a refuge for asylum seekers. Approximately 150 beds were installed in the West Hall of the stadium (capacity 300), where the Fast Food concessions are usually used during events. Stéphane Handfield, a lawyer specializing in immigration says "In 25 years of practice, I have never seen this. It is clearly not ideal for families, but it is better that to leave these people under the bridge." Asylum seekers could stay for about a month until they receive their first social insurance checks.

According to Jean-Pierre Fortin, the President of the Customs and Immigration Union, nearly 500 asylum seekers illegally crossed the border on Monday alone near the Lacolle customs post, 90% of whom were Haitians, which feared as nearly 60,000 of their compatriots in the United States to lose their TPS Temporary Protection Status in the United States https://www.haitilibre.com/en/news-21037-haiti-flash-extension-of-tps-procedures-to-follow.html and to be expelled to Haiti, their country of origin "This is an unprecedented situation. It happens by wave of 200, 250, 300 and Monday I think this is the first time we crossed the 500 mark of refugees. So imagine if this trend is maintained and all the logistics that this represents to feed, shelter and accompany these people [...]"

At the Federal Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness denied the figure of 500 put forward by the chairman of the Customs Union, evoking 200 instead. However, he was still unable to give exact figures on arrivals during the month of July.

For its part, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) confirmed that it intercepted in Quebec, from January to June, 3,350 refugees...

According to Denis Coderre, the Mayor of Montreal, 2,500 Haitian refugees crossed the land border in July. He said that Montreal would help those newcomers who were afraid of being deported from the United States and refused to return to Haiti, saying "The City of Montreal welcomes the Haitian refugees. You can count on our full cooperation."

La Maison d'Haiti in Montreal that helps immigrants settle, is overwhelmed for two weeks at the number of requests for assistance it receives. Every day at least twenty families who flee the United States come to its premises, in addition to the many phone calls...

The Consulate General of Haiti in Montreal informs the Haitian Community that the Haitian Ambassador to Canada, Frantz Liautaud and the acting Head of Post of the Consulate, Mrs. Laury Lamothe, met on Thursday August 3 at the Consulate, the staff of the Mission concerning our compatriots who arrive every day in Montreal.

The purpose of the meeting was to analyze the situation of the newcomers and to consider the extent to which the two Missions can collaborate with the local authorities to help them.

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