Resouces are stretched for the provincial government as it continues to process a recent surge of asylum seekers arriving from the US.
Yesterday, Montreal’s Olympic Stadium opened as a temporary welcome centre to house the asylum seekers, the majority of them being Haitian.
Many of the asylum seekers fear they would be deported from the US after President Donald Trump threatened to remove their protective status granted to them by Barack Obama following the 2010 earthquake in Haiti.
Hundreds of cots were set up at the stadium and the asylum seekers will be able to stay there until their claims are processed further.
Today, Quebec’s Immigration Minister Kathleen Weil and Public Health Minister Lucie Charlebois addressed the next steps for the wave of asylum seekers at a news conference.
“Some 50 claims are being made every day and the pace has gone up to 150 in the recent weeks,” said Weil. “That pace is stretching our resources on our border.”
Despite the increase in demand, Weil said that the provincial government is working closely with the federal government to make sure the asylum seekers’ claims are being processed in an orderly and timely manner.
“We have a public and community system that is very strong competent and experienced,” said Weil.
Minister Charlebois announced that 10 additional temporary housing facilities have been mobilized in order to house the asylum seekers.
“Ten temporary housing facilities have been mobilized to provide services to the people coming in now,” said Charlebois.
“That is normally done in partnership with the Montreal YMCA but under the current circumstances, the needs are greater than usual.
Charlebois added that additional health services are also being made available.
“We have to support them with psycho-social services,” she said. “Health care is also available when necessary. We want to stabilize the situations of these persons.”
Between January 1 and June 30, nearly 6,500 asylum seekers have crossed into Quebec.