2018-01-11 06:48:30 UTC
By Alan Freeman, The Washington Post
"Before leaving your job, pulling your child from school and selling your
house to come to Canada, make sure you understand the rules and the laws.
Because if you don't fill these criteria, chances are you'll be returned,
not to the U.S. but to your native country."
January 10, 2018 07:38 AM
UPDATED January 10, 2018 01:14 PM
OTTAWA - When the Trump administration issued an immigration ban on
citizens of seven majority Muslim countries a year ago, Canadian Prime
Minister Justin Trudeau sent out an unambiguous tweet about Canada's
stance on refugees and asylum seekers.
"To those fleeing persecution, terror and war, Canadians will welcome you,
regardless of your faith. Diversity is our strength," Trudeau wrote on
But when U.S. Homeland Security announced this week that it was
withdrawing Temporary Protected Status, or TPS, for 200,000 Salvadorans,
giving them 18 months to sort out their immigration status permanently or
face deportation, the reaction from the Canadian government was more
Fearing an influx of newcomers crossing "irregularly" into Canada from the
United States, the Canadian government has embarked on an information
campaign to discourage Salvadorans from trekking north, as thousands of
Haitians did when threatened with a loss of protected status last summer.
Protesters rallied near the White House Monday after the Trump
administration announced plans to end special protections for Salvadoran
immigrants, an action that could force nearly 200,000 to leave the U.S. by
September 2019 or face deportation. El Salvador is the fourth country
whose citizens have lost Temporary Protected Status under President Donald
The government announced that it was planning to send Pablo Rodriguez, a
Spanish-speaking member of Parliament, to California in the coming days to
speak to community groups, lawyers and Spanish-language media. His message
is simple: If you don't qualify for refugee or asylum status, don't try to
cross into Canada.
"Canada has a robust and structured immigration system that must be
respected," Argentina-born Rodriguez told La Presse newspaper in a French-
language interview. "Before leaving your job, pulling your child from
school and selling your house to come to Canada, make sure you understand
the rules and the laws. Because if you don't fill these criteria, chances
are you'll be returned, not to the U.S. but to your native country."
The government also says there are plans for a "targeted digital
campaign" aimed at TPS-affected communities.
Last summer, when rumors swirled through the Haitian community that they
were going to lose the TPS designation in place since the 2010 Haiti
earthquake (the designation was lifted in November), a wave of Haitians
headed to the Canadian border. As many as 250 people a day crossed
"irregularly" along a rural road in upstate New York into neighboring
Quebec, prompting a crisis of sorts, with authorities forced to put a
temporary tent encampment at the border and house migrants at Montreal's
Following an outreach program to the Haitian community in places like
Miami, the influx of migrants has slowed. Only 60 or so migrants now cross
into the country in Quebec per day and most of those crossing are from
Nigeria, not Haiti, according to Scott Bardsley, spokesman for Canadian
Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale.
Hursh Jaswal, an aide to Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen, said that
while those migrants needing protection will be allowed to stay, the
others will be removed. He noted that only 8 percent of completed asylum
claims made by Haitians who entered Canada over the past year were
accepted. The vast majority of claimants are still awaiting a hearing.
In a news conference Tuesday, Hussen said the government was not expecting
a surge of Salvadorans but has plans in place just in case.
"We are not being complacent," he said. We are making sure we are prepared
for any eventuality, including a future influx of asylum seekers crossing
our border irregularly and, in that regard, we are using the lessons that
we learned in the summer to do so."
Under the terms of the Canada-U. S. Safe Third Country Agreement, most
migrants are required to request refugee protection in the first safe
country they arrive in. For many migrants crossing into Canada from the
United States, that means they are legally blocked from entering Canada at
a regular border point. But if they cross "irregularly" through the
undefended frontier, they are arrested but can immediately make a refugee
claim. After undergoing a security check, they can stay in the country
until they get a hearing.
Refugee claimants can work and receive health care while waiting for their
hearings. According to the Canadian Broadcasting Corp., 14,467 people
crossed into Canada outside legal border points in the first nine months
of 2017, with half coming from Haiti.
Angela Ventura, spokeswoman for the El Salvador Association of Windsor,
Ontario, said she has already been getting calls from Salvadorans living
in the United States, anxious to know whether they should come to Canada
if they're forced to leave the United States.
"I advise them to do it legally, not illegally," said Ventura, a paralegal
by training who has been in Canada for 28 years.
She said she has pleaded with the Canadian government to consider allowing
these Salvadorans to come to Canada not simply as refugees.
"They have been in the U.S. for 17 or 18 years. They are reliable workers
with mortgages," she said. "If somebody has a small business in
California, why not allow them to establish a small business in Canada?"
Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-