By Joe Crowe | Friday, 18 Aug 2017 01:13 PM
People are seeking asylum in Canada in “unprecedented” numbers, officials said in a CNN report Friday.
“We’ve never seen these numbers. Even though our officers are patrolling 24 hours a day, all year long, we’ve never seen such numbers coming in,” said Claude Castonguay, Royal Canadian Mounted Police spokesman, in the CNN report.
The RCMP intercepted almost 7,000 in Quebec in the last six weeks — 2,996 in July and 3,800 as of August 15, according to CNN. About 80 to 85 percent of them were of Haitian descent, the RCMP reported.
In Quebec in January, 245 people were intercepted.
Officials said in CNN’s report that security in the country has not been compromised and that Canada can deal with the numbers, but crossing the border is not a sure way to gain permanent residence.
“Coming to Canada, asking for asylum in Canada is not a guarantee for permanent residence in Canada,” said Louis Dumas, immigration ministry spokesman, according to CNN.
Officials said that Canada is not offering an open invitation for people to gain asylum.
“Strict processes are in place for all people claiming asylum, regardless of how they enter into Canada,” Dumas said, noting that 50 percent of the Haitians who asked for asylum in 2016 were turned down.
Haitians are leaving the U.S. because they are concerned that they will lose their temporary protected status that was granted by former President Barack Obama’s administration. Obama granted that protection to Haitian immigrants who were already in the U.S. after a disastrous 2010 Haiti earthquake, CNN reported.
Department of Homeland Security officials warned the Haitian recipients that the program could expire in January 2018, which sent some to Canada—however, Canada ended its temporary status program in 2016, so Haitians could be deported from Canada, according to the CBC.
“It’s not a crisis. It’s a situation that is extraordinary. But it’s well-managed,” Transport Minister Marc Garneau said Thursday, according to Reuters.
In April, residents along the border between the United States and Canada reported that they were organizing ways to help those seeking asylum get into Canada.