Canadian military builds camp to house asylum seekers near U.S. border

Matthew Turner has lived on Roxham Road for almost a year

"The Canadian Armed Forces are aware of the hard situation that is requiring significant resources of Canada Border Services Agency, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and other partners in the area of St-Bernard-de-Lacolle", the military said in a statement.

They are preparing a place for tents that can hold nearly 500 people.

The number of Haitians fearing expulsion from the United States has surged in recent weeks on Canada's southern border, with requests for asylum tripling since mid-July, officials say. "The Canadian Armed Forces will have no role in security matters", Mr. Le Bouthillier said in an email.

The site, located on a flat stretch of grass behind the building where asylum claimants are bused in from the border, was expected to accommodate up to 500 people. In Canada, they become asylum seekers as their parents.

Mr. Le Bouthillier said most of the soldiers will return to base once the camp is set up.


Canadian authorities accepted 50.5 percent of the 410 refugee claims by Haitians heard in 2016, government data showed.

Montreal's Olympic Stadium is being used to as a shelter in August, and the city also plans to use the decommissioned Royal Victoria Hospital into a 320-bed facility.

The situation started in May when U.S. President Donald Trump threatened to remove the temporary protected status granted to almost 60,000 Haitians living in the country, given in the aftermath of Haiti's 2010 natural disaster.

Earlier in the day, in nearby Hemmingford, some 40 asylum seekers sat under white tents at an impromptu reception centre that has sprung up on the Canadian side of a popular illegal border crossing.

The construction begins about a week after Montreal turned its Olympic Stadium into a shelter for refugees arriving from the US.

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