The American government announced Monday that they would be ending the program that granted Haitians displaced by the 2010 earthquake temporary residency in the United States as of July 2019. There are currently 58,000 Haitian citizens living and working in the U.S. with Temporary Protected Status and they have 18 months to leave the country or be considered illegal.
One ray of hope for these refugees is Canada where almost 6,000 sought asylum in August alone, crossing the border in Quebec, Manitoba and B.C. This summer, asylum-seekers crossing the Canadian border increased by 82 percent as Haitians in the U.S. worried about the impending expiration of their legal status. Border-crossing has slowed since the summer, but with the new deadline looming , it may pick up again and Canada might have to take a hard stance.
As much as it would be nice to welcome everyone, Canada just doesn’t have the infrastructure to take in all the people the Trump administration wants to deport. The Canadian Immigration Minister said through a spokesman Monday that while Canada is an “open and welcoming country to people seeking refuge,” anyone entering must go “through the proper channels.” Another spokesman added that Canada will not be handing out “free tickets.”
“There are rigorous rules to be followed and the same robust assessment process applies. Those who are determined to be genuinely at risk, are welcomed. Those who are determined not to be in need of Canada’s protection, are removed.”
There also appears to be some misinformation surrounding how much Canada can do for those fleeing from the U.S. Liberal MP Emmanuel Dubourg said that after the government announced Canada will accept close to one million refugees over the next three years, a story was published in Haiti claiming that Canada would be accepting one million immigrants in 2017. Dubourg cleared up the issue, but said he found it concerning that Canada seemed like a “default option” for asylum.
So while we may have an influx of potential asylum-seekers in the coming year, the Canadian government will be drawing a hard line and sticking to policy when it comes to who is permitted to stay in the country.