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Canadian military builds camp to house refugees from US

Canadian military builds camp to house refugees from US

"Assistance from the Canadian Armed Forces was requested to support the civilian authorities of the Government of Canada to temporarily accommodate asylum seekers at the border.With roughly 250 asylum seekers arriving in Montreal from the United States every day, more facilities are being opened to house them".

The Canadian Armed Forces said in a statement the camp will hold up to 500 people and will consist of "modular tent shelters with floors, lighting and heating".

Francine Dupuis, who oversees a Quebec government-funded program that helps asylum seekers, said 2,620 people are now being housed in temporary accommodation in Montreal.

"These will be used as additional shelters for asylum claimants who are waiting to be processed by the CBSA [Canadian Border Services Agency]", said CBSA spokesperson Judith Gadbois-St-Cyr.

It will take about two or three days for Canada Border Services to process the 700 asylum applications.

In May, Donald Trump announced that the United States would end the programme that extended temporary protection to Haitian citizens after the devastating 2010 natural disaster.

In addition, on Wednesday, public health officials announced the site of the Royal Victoria Hospital will be transformed into a shelter with 300 to 320 beds.

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More than 4,300 asylum seekers crossed the US border into Canada in the first six months of this year.

It was granted after the 2010 quake, but now the Department of Homeland Security considers Haiti to be a safe country.

Foreign Affairs Minister Antonio Rodrigue and Stéphanie Auguste, minister for nationals living overseas, arrived in Montreal Tuesday afternoon to meet with Mayor Denis Coderre.

At a Tuesday press conference, the Haitian ministers expressed their thanks "to the Canadian government, the provincial government of Quebec and the mayor of Montreal".

While the military is setting up the tents at the Canada-U.S. border at Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle, soldiers will have no role in policing, officials said, noting those duties are handled by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

School-aged refugees will be enrolled at Montreal's French-language school board beginning next month.


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