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Canada is Setting Up Border Camps to Shelter an Influx of Haitian Asylum Seekers

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The Canadian government has deployed soldiers to set up encampments providing temporary shelter for hundreds of asylum seekers attempting to walk across the border between New York and Quebec.

Reuters reports that some 250 Haitians have been arriving each day in Montreal, the mostly French-speaking province’s largest city, prompted by fears that they may be deported from the U.S.

Almost 100 troops have been deployed to begin setting up heated tents in Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolleto, about 40 miles south of Montreal, and directly across the border from Chaplain, New York. They will accommodate 500 asylum seekers while they wait for border officials to process their cases, according to Reuters. The province has already opened up its Olympic stadium and several other facilities to provide temporary shelter.

The U.S. and Canada both implemented a deportation ban on Haitians after the 2010 earthquake, and according to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) more than 50,000 people affected have been permitted to remain under the “temporary protected status.” DHS has reportedly extended their status until January, though officials said in May that those covered by the policy should begin taking steps to return to Haiti.

Read More: Haiti Earthquake: Five Years After

False accounts of asylum seekers being automatically allowed to remain in Canada have exacerbated the northern migration; hundreds have made the crossing in recent weeks, while more than 4,300 asylum seekers have crossed into Canada by foot in the first half of 2017.

“There is an enormous amount of fake information circulating saying that it is easy to come to Canada,” Marjorie Villefranche, general manager of Maison d’Haiti, a Montreal community center that assists Haitian immigrants, told Reuters. “They are hearing that Canada doesn’t deport people.”


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Write to Joseph Hincks at joseph.hincks@time.com