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…”
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, who feared as nearly 60,000 of their compatriots in the United States stand to lose their Temporary Protection Status in the United States
In the first six months of 2017, Québec had already received more than 6,500 asylum seekers.
The entry of these waves of refugees at the border forced Canadian authorities to find a solution on the accommodation side. So far housed in university residences, reception centers (Salvation Army, YMCA, etc.) or hotels, asylum seekers are now so numerous that part of the Olympic Stadium is being transformed into a refuge for asylum seekers.
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.”
Denis Coderre, the Mayor of Montreal, said that Montreal would help those newcomers who were afraid of being deported from the United States and refused to return to Haiti, saying “You can count on our full cooperation.”