Canada Makes Stadium a Home for Asylum Seekers From US

New arrivals feared Trump would return them to Haiti
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 3, 2017 12:40 AM CDT
Updated Aug 3, 2017 6:40 AM CDT

(Newser) – So many asylum seekers are crossing into Canada from the United States that Montreal's Olympic Stadium has been opened to house them. The first groups were bused to the stadium Wednesday. Cots are set up in the windowless, domed facility. The mainly Haitian migrants will stay until they get government financial assistance. Francine Dupuis, head of a Quebec government-funded program that helps asylum seekers, says a maximum of 450 people will be housed temporarily. She says her organization helped 448 people in June and 1,174 in July, far more than previously, the AP reports. "We are really stretched, really stretched," Dupuis says. "It's much more than we have ever seen."

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Volunteers from the Quebec Red Cross helped set up the cavernous, concrete stadium for a temporary stay with cots and food in the rotunda. Around 90% of the asylum seekers are Haitians. The US is weighing ending a program that granted Haitians "temporary protected status" after Haiti's 2010 devastating earthquake. If the program isn't extended, as many as 60,000 Haitians in the US could be sent back to their homeland. "They think the Trump administration will fly them back to Haiti and they don't want to take a chance," Dupuis says. She says the YMCA and shelters are already full. The stadium has agreed to house up to 450 people for a few months but can't take more because of other activities. (Read more Canada stories.)

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