More temporary shelters for asylum seekers added at Lacolle border crossing
Published Thursday, August 10, 2017 2:37PM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, August 10, 2017 6:36PM EDT
A temporary camp erected by Canadian troops near the Lacolle border crossing is being expanded due to the continuing influx of asylum seekers.
On Wednesday, nearly 100 troops were deployed to set up the tent village. Between 22 and 25 tents with flooring, heat and electricity were erected, a number that has since been increased to 32.
In total, officials said the camp should be able to hold 500 people.
CAF Cmdr. Alexandre Horton said the migrants have already begun moving into the camp.
“During nighttime, starting late evening yesterday, we had 38 people who moved into the camp,” he said. “At the moment, I know they are better here than they probably have been for the past hours and days, which is good.”
Another army official said some of those who have arrived are suffering from a gastrointestinal bug, making logistics of housing more difficult due to the necessity of quarantining those suffering from the illness.
While CAF troops are not aiding in any security or law enforcement operations at the camp, a military official said Canada Border Services Agents are ensuring those who have crossed the border are contained and remaining on site until they’re processed.
Meanwhile the asylum seekers are quite pleased with the accommodations.
"It's an emergency situation and we have no complaints," said Elise Charles.
Originally from Haiti, he has come Canada after spending years in Delaware, but said he has become intimidated and afraid of U.S. President Trump's statements about immigration policy.
"After his last meeting with his team, last Wednesday, he's even more acidic towards immigrants, and his whole administration, and Congress, and the House of Representatives, is the same," said Charles.
He is hoping that Canada, which he described as always be a true friend to Haiti, would be more welcoming.
Charles does not know how long he will be staying the tents, but CBSA officials said it would be anywhere from half a day to three days before claims are processed at the border and asylum seekers were transferred elsewhere.
Meanwhile Parti Quebecois leader Jean-Francois Lisée criticized the provincial and federal liberals on their handling of the asylum seekers, saying that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Premier Philippe Couillard were both trying to seduce asylum seekers, while knowing that half would likely be rejected as refugees.
He said normalizing the acceptance of illegal crossings at the border was not the answer.
Lisée also criticized the leader of the CAQ, Francois Legault, for saying Quebec should not become a sieve and saying Liberals were sending a very bad signal to illegal migrants that Quebec could welcome "all the misery of the world."
Lisée said Canada should cancel the Safe Third Country Agreement it has with the U.S., which only applies to people making refugee claims at a border crossing.