As near panic grows in Haitian communities, as many as 150 refugees per day have turned up at the U.S.-Canadian border in recent weeks, an increase over the already steady flow stemming from the May announcement that the Department of Homeland Security is likely to end the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) program for Haitians.
During the first four months of the Donald Trump presidency, more than 4,000 immigrants living in the United States have crossed the border into Canada seeking asylum.
In an effort to cope with the emerging humanitarian crisis at its southern border, the Canadian government announced this week that it is deploying 100 soldiers to its American frontier to assist those entering the country.
The troops, the government said, are there to assist with the orderly processing of refugees, and not to try to stop people from entering. The troops will also rescue refugees who find themselves in danger.
More than 50,000 Haitians face the loss of legal status and possible deportation as early as January 2018. Across New York City and Long Island, there are 2,000 at risk. Next summer, an additional quarter of a million Salvadorans, Hondurans, and Nicaraguans face loss of status as well, with a cut to their TPS programs looming, as well.
Until 2016, the Canadian government maintained a moratorium on the deportation of Haitians, but that has since been lifted. The country allows Haitians to enter Canada for asylum processing, but if the applicant’s request for asylum is denied, then he or she can be sent back to Haiti.
Haitian TPS was granted by President Barack Obama seven years ago following the earthquake that killed tens of thousands of people. The country has yet to fully recover from the catastrophe.
And, the border crisis may be exacerbated this fall when up to 800,000 young people with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) may also begin to lose their status.
Together, this swirl of calamity could set in motion an exodus of tens of thousands of refugees from the United States.