Haitian Asylum Seekers Stream into Canada

Approximately 7,000 asylum seekers, a majority of them from Haiti, have streamed across the United States-Canadian border of New York-Quebec, from the middle of July. That was the time when the US administration, under President Donald J. Trump, announced the possibility of ending the “Temporary Protected Status”, a status granted after a massive earthquake shook Haiti in 2010. These people are one of the few hundreds the Canadian Government has relocated so far to the processing center in East Ontario. Immigration into Canada increased after the Justin Trudeau-led Canadian Government tweeted the controversial January message welcoming immigrants facing persecution. The Canadian conservative opposition fiercely opposed this tweet.

Trump anti-immigration effect

Many Haitians who came to Canada say that they left their US lives behind due to their fear of anti-immigration policies being brought to fruition by President Trump. Justin Remy Napoeon, a Haitian of 39 years of age, admitted that he came to Canada when he saw the Trump administration shutting doors on legal immigration. Fearing deportation, he left his San Diego home and boarded a number of buses to go to the northern border.

Similar tales were also told by other Haitians too. Jean Pierre Kidmage, a 43-year-old man, took a bus from his adopted home in Miami to the city of New York. He crossed the border by taking a taxi to Canada. He left the US as he was afraid of being deported by the Trump administration. He felt instantly at home in Canada and feels much more at home in the country.

Migrant unease

A lingering sense of unease hangs in the air inside the Nav Center in Cornwall, the place where such people are being temporarily housed. Young people of both sexes, a few with children, walk the grounds, clutching mobile phones. Most of them are wary of reporters. Taxis wait outside the center to take them into town for shopping. All arrivals can depart after completing their registration. According to officials, a majority of them go to Montreal.

One of the Haitian migrants to Canada is Frank Francois, a person who has been on the run all his life. He started his run in 1997. The first part comprised migrating to the Bahamas from Haiti, and then to the United States. He ultimately ended up in Canada. His US home was at Fort Lauderdale, only a little far from Miami. He and his family lived legally under proper visas. They came to Canada fearing deportation under Trump.

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