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When we talk about refugees, we’re usually discussing people from Syria or other war-torn countries but this week, Canada is trying to find places to house thousands of asylum seekers from the United States. President Trump announced his new immigration legislation this week and one of the things he’s scrapping is the protected status of thousands of refugees from the devastating 2010 earthquake in Haiti.

This year already, about 3,000 Haitian refugees have crossed the border into Quebec illegally where they can claim they are seeking asylum and have the opportunity to apply for refugee status here. In the past week and a half the numbers of people attempting to cross into Canada have increased significantly, with 500 entering Quebec in that time period. To meet demand, Montreal has opened the Olympic Stadium from the 1976 games–which seats 56,000 spectators–to house the asylum seekers.

‘These are all people who have worked here, paid taxes, have families here,’ Marliene Bastien of Haitian Women in Miami told CTV. Approximately 58,000 Haitians will lose their protected status in the United States and have to face immigration hearings in January. Under the Trump administration’s new immigration act, it will be a lot more difficult for non-skilled workers to immigrate to the U.S.

The Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment Act (RAISE) will use a points system based on the Canadian and Australian systems for granting immigration status. The act will favour wealthier people in high-skilled jobs who speak English over other applicants. If that seems harsh, it gets worse when you break it down further.

The system privileges applicants with STEM educations and PhDs from American universities above even those with an education from Oxford. You also have a significant advantage if you have a job waiting for you that pays 300 percent more than the country’s average income (That’s almost $170,000). You’re also in a good position if you’ve won a Nobel Prize or an Olympic medal (yes, they say that specifically). The refugee program will be capped at 50,000 people a year and RAISE does away with the green card lottery system which aims to diversify the immigrants admitted into the States.

The new act (which still needs to go through congressional channels to become law) has not been received very well. Critics are saying that it undercuts the entire concept on which America was built and discriminates against thousands of people who are already working, living and contributing to the country. At least Canada seems to be doing what it can to make things easier for some of the people effected. Unfortunately, the Canadian immigration system and refugee program has its limits too, so we won’t be able to offer asylum to everyone who applies. Trudeau has been very vocal about his delight in receiving refugees and immigrants though, so we’re sure that Canada will do it’s very best to welcome as many people as we can.

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