Now that roughly 250 people are streaming across our northern border on a daily basis, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is walking back the warm welcome he promised migrants back in February.
Soon after President Donald Trump announced that the U.S. would crack down on illegal immigration, Trudeau took to Twitter to announce that Canada would still be a haven for them.
“To those fleeing persecution, terror & war, Canadians will welcome you, regardless of your faith. Diversity is our strength #WelcomeToCanada,” he tweeted. But now, he’s not so sure.
With many fearing President Trump’s immigration policies, thousands of people have crossed into Canada by foot. At last count, more than 11,300 people have surged over the U.S. border, breaking the country’s record for processing the most refugee claims in a decade.
Canadian officials say that approximately 85 percent of the incoming migrants are from Haiti. The Haitian surge started in May, just after Trump mulled over the notion of rescinding a long-standing agreement to allow them to remain in the country. This would have approximately 58,000 Haitians facing possible deportation in 2018.
In his efforts to make migrants who are seeking better economic conditions reconsider moving to Canada, Trudeau stated, “For someone to successfully seek asylum, it’s not about economic migration. It’s about vulnerability, exposure to torture or death, or being stateless people. If they are seeking asylum, we’ll evaluate them on the basis of what it is to be a refugee or asylum seeker.”
More than 6,000 people have sneaked past border checkpoints to enter Canada since early July.
Overwhelmed by these numbers, the Canadian government has increased patrols along the border and added immigration staff to process claims. They’ve even had to turn Montreal’s Olympic stadium into a temporary welcome center, and the military has been deployed to set up a 500-person camp on the border.
“You will not be at an advantage if you choose to enter Canada irregularly,” said Trudeau, stating ominously, “You must follow the rules, and there are many.”
This policy turnaround is needed because Trudeau apparently did not think through the consequences of putting out the welcome mat to his country.
According to Michelle Rempel, a politician from Canada’s Conservative Party, it was “completely ridiculous that the Prime Minister of Canada would tout a tent city” to deal with the influx as winter approached.