Canadian solders builds a 500-person at a remote location at the border for growing number of asylum seekers crossing into Canada by foot from the United States.
The camp will be able accommodate up to 500 people in Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle, and consist of “modular tent shelters with floors, lighting and heating,” the Armed Forces said in a statement Wednesday.
The site has become a popular crossing spot in recent months, with hundreds of people a day making the easy trip over a shallow ditch that connects both countries.
Since the start of the year, the numbers of asylum seekers entering Canada from the US has risen sharply. More than 4,000 of them driven by fears of Donald Trump’s crackdown on immigrants have entered Canada at remote, unguarded locations along the border.
By doing so, they aim to skirt a 2004 agreement between Canada and the US that forces most migrants to apply for asylum in the first country in which they arrive.
Authorities have responded by opening additional welcome centres. After hundreds of beds were set up last week in the city’s Olympic Stadium, officials opened similar sites in a former convent, as well as a decommissioned hospital.
Most of those crossing into Canada in recent days are Haitians who have been living in the US for years. According to Canadian officials, More than 50,000 people who were affected by Haiti’s 2010 earthquake have been living in the United States under “temporary protected status” for seven years.
This year, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security extended their status through next January, but officials said in May that people covered under that status should begin acquiring travel documents to return to Haiti.
Daniel Le Bouthillier, a spokesman at the Department of National Defence, said the Canadian Armed Forces were aware of the difficult situation that requires significant resources.