Feds expanding would-be asylum seekers outreach beyond Haitian community
A Haitian boy holds onto his father as they approach an illegally crossing point, staffed by Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers, from Champlain, N.Y., to Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle, Quebec, Monday, Aug. 7, 2017. (AP / Charles Krupa)
The Canadian Press
Published Friday, September 1, 2017 1:10PM EDT
OTTAWA -- The Liberal government is expanding its outreach efforts in the U.S. beyond the Haitian community to drive home the message that seeking asylum in Canada is not a sure bet.
Transport Minister Marc Garneau, head of the federal-provincial task force charged with managing an unprecedented flow of asylum seekers, says those thinking about crossing the border into Canada need to know that they must meet specific criteria to qualify.
Liberal MP Emmanuel Dubourg recently went to Miami to spread this message through the Haitian diaspora there, and Garneau says they will extend that effort into other communities in the U.S.
More than 6,000 people have crossed illegally into Quebec from New York since July, the vast majority of them being Haitians.
Garneau says the Liberal government is also hoping to speed up the process by opening an additional facility in Montreal and is still looking for ways to accelerate claimants getting temporary work permits.
He also says they are looking at using trailers to replace the tents that are currently housing asylum seekers at the border, in case things do not slow down in time for the cold Canadian winter.