[WSMDiscuss] Canada in movement…, The US in movement….; People in movement… : Surging numbers of asylum seekers enter Quebec, Canada / Fearing Trump, asylum seekers travel across U.S.-Canada border, regardless of risks / Canadians divided on granting entry to asylum seekers from U.S., poll finds

JS CACIM jai.sen at cacim.net
Fri Sep 15 22:57:57 CEST 2017

Friday, September 15, 2017

Canada in movement…, The US in movement….; People in movement…

[Just like people all over the world today voting with their feet – and have done, right through history -, so too on Turtle Island (‘North America’) today.  As the violence spirals, as the pressures build, those who feel they vulnerable are moving, now and from the US into Canada – and / but where, polls seem to suggest, resident Canadians are evenly split about being hosts….  And notwithstanding their sunny Prime Minister once famously claiming the high moral ground and saying to the UN in relation to the Syrian exodus two years ago, “We are Canadians.  We are here to help”.   What are likely to be the outcomes ?

[Here, two articles on what is happening on this border, one from early this last August, and the other from yesterday :

Surging numbers of asylum seekers enter Quebec, Canada

Fearing Trump, asylum seekers travel across U.S.-Canada border, regardless of risks

Canadians divided on granting entry to asylum seekers from U.S., poll finds

Quebec's resources wear thin as wave of asylum seekers swells


Canadians divided on granting entry to asylum seekers from U.S., poll finds

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Most of those coming to Quebec have crossed at Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle, which is along the border with New York State, according to Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale’s office.


Michelle Zilio <https://beta.theglobeandmail.com/authors/michelle-zilio>
8 hours ago - September 14, 2017
https://beta.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/canadians-divided-on-granting-entry-to-asylum-seekers-from-us-poll-finds/article36275454/?ref=http://www.theglobeandmail.com& <https://beta.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/canadians-divided-on-granting-entry-to-asylum-seekers-from-us-poll-finds/article36275454/?ref=http://www.theglobeandmail.com&>
More than 12,000 asylum seekers have crossed into Canada at a single unofficial crossing point along the Quebec-United States border this year, surpassing the province's expectations for all of 2017.

The numbers come as a new survey shows that Canadians are equally divided over whether the country should welcome asylum seekers from the United States or close its borders to them. A Nanos poll found that more than one-third of Canadians – 37 per cent – say Canada should welcome asylum seekers from the United States, while the same percentage of respondents think Canada should close its borders; 26 per cent were unsure.

"There's very few times that Canadians are so evenly divided on an issue," pollster Nik Nanos said.

Read more: How Canada has been secretly giving asylum to gay people in Chechnya fleeing persecution <https://beta.theglobeandmail.com/news/canada-chechnya-gay-asylum/article36145997/?ref=http://www.theglobeandmail.com&>
"This is a recipe for a continued and prolonged debate about what to do when people show up at the Canadian border and ask for asylum."

The influx in unauthorized crossings at unmonitored parts of the border began last winter in Manitoba and Quebec, when hundreds of asylum seekers braved bitterly cold temperatures to seek refuge. By July, 7,500 had entered this way across Canada; 6,500 of those crossed in Quebec. That number for the province nearly doubled to 12,000 over the past month, surpassing the total number of asylum seekers Quebec Immigration Minister Kathleen Weil was expecting for the whole year. August figures for other parts of Canada were not available as of Thursday.

Most of those coming to Quebec have crossed at Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle, which is along the border with New York State, according to Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale's office. Another 1,100 people crossed outside of Quebec by July.

Between 80 per cent and 85 per cent of those who crossed at Lacolle are Haitians who fear being expelled under the Trump administration's decision to end a program in January, 2018, that granted them temporary protected status (TPS) after the massive 2010 earthquake in the impoverished Caribbean country. Thousands of panicked Haitians headed north to Quebec  after misinformation on social media suggested Canada would accept them as refugees.

Last month, the government dispatched Haitian-Canadian MP Emmanuel Dubourg to Miami in a bid to correct that impression. Mr. Dubourg met with local elected officials, community leaders and Canadian, Haitian and U.S. media.

Protected status in the United States is set to expire over the next year for citizens from nine other countries: El Salvador, Honduras, Nepal, Nicaragua, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Syria and Yemen. There is concern that Central Americans will be the next group of asylum seekers to flood the Canadian border as a result. The Congressional Research Service estimates that 195,000 Salvadorans, 57,000 Hondurans and 2,550 Nicaraguans live in the United States under TPS.

In an effort to deter them from heading north, Liberal MP Pablo Rodriguez travelled to Los Angeles last week to make the rounds with media and local officials, members of the Latino community and the Honduran, Salvadoran and Nicaraguan consul-generals. Mr. Rodriguez, born in Argentina, conducted most of his meetings in Spanish. He said he was able to correct some of the myths circulating in Spanish-language media.

"The story we heard most often from these individuals was that they had heard that Canada had a special program for those who might lose their TPS status," Mr. Rodriguez said. "We went to great lengths to ensure that these individuals understood that no such program existed and that, in order to immigrate to Canada, the proper rules and processes had to be followed."

Angela Ventura of the El Salvador Association of Windsor said she has seen a significant increase in the number of recent calls and e-mails from Salvadorans in the United States inquiring about asylum in Canada.

"If somebody asks for an inquiry about Canada, I will say that it's not wise just to cross the border the way [Haitians] are crossing right now, because it's risky. Maybe their [asylum] cases aren't strong enough."

In response to the recent surge in asylum seekers, Ottawa provided additional processing resources in Quebec and established a new federal-provincial task force, chaired by Transport Minister Marc Garneau, on the matter. The government is also using its social-media channels, including those of its consulates in the United States, to set the record straight about Canada's immigration policies.

The Nanos poll, conducted from Aug. 30 to Sept. 1, surveyed 1,000 Canadians by phone and online, with a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

With a report from the Canadian Press

Video: Liberal MP heads to L.A. to clear up immigration misinformation (The Canadian Press)

asylum seekers
Quebec's resources wear thin as wave of asylum seekers swells

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Three families that claimed to be from Burundi walk down Roxham Road to cross into Quebec at the U.S.-Canada border in Champlain, N.Y., on Thursday.


Les Perreaux <https://beta.theglobeandmail.com/authors/les-perreaux>
August 3, 2017 August 3, 2017
https://beta.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/quebec-dealing-with-150-asylum-requests-a-day-immigration-minister/article35871581/?ref=http://www.theglobeandmail.com& <https://beta.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/quebec-dealing-with-150-asylum-requests-a-day-immigration-minister/article35871581/?ref=http://www.theglobeandmail.com&>
The asylum seekers arrive about a dozen by the hour at the end of a quiet country road in upstate New York, hopping out of taxis, extended passenger vans and private vehicles. They appear to range in age from seven months to 70 years, but they count more very young people than old.

Many drag along heavy suitcases and are well dressed – right down to some parkas and tuques in the 30-degree heat, anticipating a life ahead. Twenty-eight of the 57 people who arrive between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Thursday come from Burundi, Syria and the Palestinian territories and said they used the United States as a mere transit point to Canada. The other 29 are originally from Haiti and, in several cases, have been in the United States so long the younger ones speak only English with an American accent.

The migrants have diverse backgrounds but are united in one way: They have found their way from Boston, New York and Florida to this rural area on the Quebec border, fearing the latest or next immigration crackdown of U.S. President Donald Trump.

In photos: Surging numbers of asylum seekers enter Quebec <https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/in-photos-a-day-in-photos-for-asylum-seekers-entering-quebec/article35875479/>
Read more: Fearing Trump, asylum seekers travel across U.S.-Canada border, regardless of risks <https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/fearing-trump-asylum-seekers-travel-across-us-canada-border/article34092236/>

Video: Feds increasing processing capacity for Quebec asylum seekers (The Canadian Press)
The number of asylum claims in Quebec tripled in recent weeks from an average of 50 a day to 150, according to the province's Immigration Minister Kathleen Weil. She said about 70 per cent of the recent arrivals are Haitian nationals.

The recent spike in claims has clogged short-term housing for new arrivals in Montreal, leading the province to open up to 600 beds in the Olympic Stadium, the cavernous, provincially owned, underutilized sports facility in the city's east end.

Some 6,500 people have sought asylum in Quebec in the first six months of the year, a nine-year high, but Ms. Weil noted the six-month trend is still well short of the record level in 2008, when a recession and shifting immigration rules in the United States pushed 12,000 people to seek refuge through the province's borders in the same time frame.

Ms. Weil asked the federal government to beef up processing to reduce pressure on local resources and to quickly allow migrants heading for other parts of Canada to move on. Marc Miller, a Liberal MP in Montreal, said the government is sending additional resources to Quebec and will expedite settlement.

The federal opposition parties blasted the Liberal government for lack of preparedness. The Conservatives issued a statement saying the surge is an "unsustainable trend" that will add to a backlog in the overtaxed immigration and refugee system.

The NDP repeated a demand that the government suspend the Safe Third Country Agreement with the United States, which requires asylum seekers to make their claim in whichever of the two countries they first arrive in. The agreement means refugee claimants are usually turned away at regular crossings, pushing many to hop the border instead.

The NDP also demanded better housing. "When people are warehoused in a stadium like that, it's not exactly a reflection of the Prime Minister's message that Canada welcomes you," NDP immigration critic Jenny Kwan said.

In the winter, with the first wave of migrants seeking refuge in Canada since the inauguration of Mr. Trump, they arrived in a trickle. In Manitoba, they would trek across frozen fields, occasionally suffering frostbite, and they added up to 170 in a month at the peak. (The traffic in Manitoba has since dropped off to 60 cases a month.)

In Quebec, an average of about 560 have come in monthly since January. Many make a short hike across a ditch to Roxham Road on the Quebec side of the border, near Hemmingford, about 60 kilometres south of Montreal. Initially, the small groups arrived sporadically to an informal checkpoint that usually consisted of one or two RCMP officers waiting in their vehicle. An observer could spend much of a day at the crossing and see only a handful of asylum seekers, or none at all.

Now, there's no missing them.

The first family on Thursday arrived shortly after 9 a.m. in a taxi minivan. A family of seven people of Haitian origin, the mother and father spoke French and Creole, while the younger of their five children spoke English. "You've lost your language!" said an RCMP officer who greeted one of the teenagers.

In a hurry to get across the border, the adults in the family offered just a few details. They had been living in the New York area but saw no future in the United States.

"We were facing a lot of problems in the United States. You are well aware of what they are," said the father, who did not want to give his name.

The family made their way over the border along a small gravel path that has been built in recent months to prevent the ditch scramble that took place in the winter. Instead of sitting in their vehicles, the RCMP officers now have tents with tables, waiting areas and generators for electricity. Barricades have gone up to keep the public and media away.

A few hours after the first family crossed, Odelaire Baptiste, also of Haitian origin, arrived with his wife and young daughter. "It's just getting nasty in the United States," he said. "I want what's best for my family and there's nothing left for us there."

Some 58,000 families of Haitian origin have been living in the United States under a temporary special status granted by the Obama administration following the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. The order, similar to one put in place in Canada, was a humanitarian measure to prevent deportations even if Haitians had arrived in the United States without legal status.

Faced with a surge of thousands of Haitian migrants last summer, the Obama administration started a crackdown authorizing immigration officials to immediately deport undocumented new arrivals.

In May, Mr. Trump's administration announced the earthquake amnesty would end in January, 2018, when deportations would resume. (Canada's special exemption ended last year.)

Marjorie Villefranche, director of the Maison d'Haïti support centre in Montreal, said there appears to be a "wind of panic" sowed by the Trump administration's recent announcement. She said Creole social media has been very active with instructions for making the crossing.

"There's no end to the badmouthing of immigrants in the United States, it's become untenable," said Voltaire Timoche, a young man who had travelled from Boston with a dozen other Haitians. "I had to do something."

Amid the recent surge of Haitian arrivals, people from other countries continue to stream in along Roxham Road. A group of 13 Burundians from three families left a van and a small car nearly a kilometre from the border and walked with their luggage along pastures where horses grazed. While others were hesitant and shed a tear at the border, the Burundians dashed across with little hesitation before the RCMP officers were even ready to greet them.

Raed Alakhras, his wife and four very young children, hopped out of a taxi and put one of their smaller children in a stroller and strapped a baby carrier onto Mr. Alakhras's chest for the youngest. The Syrian family travelled from Saudi Arabia to the United States last week, but their final destination was always Canada. Mr. Alakhras, an accountant, was working in Saudi Arabia on a contract that expired. He wasn't going to be allowed to stay and he was not going back to Syria, he said.

"Because of the war in Syria, we needed to escape. It was really tough. It was very tough. My contract was finished and we had to leave. This was the only way," he said.

With a report from Michelle Zilio


Jai Sen

jai.sen at cacim.net <mailto:jai.sen at cacim.net>
www.cacim.net <http://www.cacim.net/> / http://www.openword.net.in

Now based in New Delhi, India (+91-98189 11325) and in Ottawa, Canada, on unceded Anishinaabe territory (+1-613-282 2900) 

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Jai Sen, ed, 2016a  – The Movements of Movements, Part 1 : What Makes Us Move ?  and  Jai Sen, ed, 2016b – The Movements of Movements, Part 2 : Rethinking Our Dance (both forthcoming in 2017 from New Delhi : OpenWord and Oakland, CA : PM Press), ADVANCE PREFINAL ONLINE MOVEMENT EDITIONS @ www.cacim.net <http://www.cacim.net/>

Jai Sen, ed, 2017a – The Movements of Movements, Part 1 : What Makes Us Move ?.  Volume 4 in the Challenging Empires series (New Delhi : OpenWord and Oakland, CA : PM Press).  Available for pre-order at PM Press <http://www.pmpress.org/>

Jai Sen, ed, 2017b – The Movements of Movements, Part 2 : Rethinking Our Dance.  Volume 5 in the Challenging Empires series (New Delhi : OpenWord and Oakland, CA : PM Press)

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