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Canadian military builds camp to house refugees from US

Canadian military builds camp to house refugees from US

Faced with a growing influx of asylum seekers from the United States, Ottawa dispatched about 100 Canadian soldiers Wednesday to build a temporary camp near the Canada-U.S. border in Quebec.

The modular tents are being erected in the town of Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle, 60 kilometers south of Montreal.

Now, they will be able to sleep a few hours waiting for the customs officers to do security checks.

Since the announcement, many Haitians staying in the United States have made a decision to apply for refugee status in Canada.

"It is summer, but the nights are cool sometimes, so we want to give these people comfort", he said.

Around 250 asylum seekers are arriving each day in Montreal, the largest city in Canada's mainly French-speaking Quebec province.

Almost 100 soldiers will be in Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle, across the border from Champlain, New York, on Wednesday to set up the tents and add to temporary facilities already organised by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and Canadian Border Services Agency.

The Canadian Armed Forces were aware of the hard situation that requires significant resources, said Daniel Le Bouthillier, a spokesman for the Department of National Defence.

The shelters have lighting and heating and are being set up in Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle, the Quebec border crossing where the bulk of recent asylum seekers have been processed.

The Canadian military said in a statement Wednesday that the soldiers will help the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Canada Border Services Agency at the site.

Many Haitians fear their fate if they remain in the United States, because of the anti-immigrant rhetoric and actions by the Trump administration. "Its staff will not participate in law enforcement tasks and will not assist civil authorities in the conduct of their law enforcement duties".

Some 2,581 newcomers are being housed in temporary shelters like the Olympic Stadium, while 700 have found more permanent housing. The delays mean migrants have been forced to wait in an area with no beds, just benches and chairs.

Last week, Montreal's Olympic Stadium became the temporary home to hundreds of refugees. The flow continues at a steady pace, according to Canadian officials.

Earlier this year, US President Donald Trump announced the end of a program that gave Haitian citizens temporary protection after the quake in 2010. The majority of them, 3,350, crossed into Quebec, while 646 crossed into Manitoba, and 332 people crossed into British Columbia.

The Trudeau government ended its own TPS designation for Haitians a year ago, inviting its 3,200 holders to apply for residency on humanitarian and compassionate grounds.

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