Heated trailers coming to border in anticipation of winter asylum seekers
Though the number of asylum seekers crossing the border from the United States into Canada has dropped in recent weeks, federal officials are preparing for a continued stream during the winter.
A tender has been put out for heated trailers that would be installed near the Lacolle border crossing. The trailers would replace the Canadian Armed Forces tents that were installed in July to house the migrants and would be able to accommodate 200 people on six weeks notice.
Over 6,000 asylum seekers, mostly of Haitian origin, have crossed the Quebec border since July.
According to the Canada Border Services Agency, the number of crossings has decreased to roughly 100 per day, down from a peak of 250 per day.
CBSA officials said the backlog of claims that necessitated the tents has been mostly cleared, but the trailers are a precaution in case the number rises again.
Federal Transport Minister Marc Garneau said the government is working to help refugee claimants get temporary work permits faster and is opening another processing facility in Montreal. Still, he stressed that many of the asylum seekers will not be able to stay in Canada.
“If you are applying to come to Canada to be considered a refugee, there are clear requirements you have to satisfy,” he said. “You have to be able to demonstrate that you are in fear of returning to your country of origin or that you are fleeing persecution, war and terror.”
Garneau added that the government will expand outreach efforts in the U.S. to combat false information about Canada’s asylum policies.