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Montreal Sets Up Temporary Shelters To Handle Influx Of Asylum Seekers

10 August 2017

Canadian police have set up a reception center on their side of the border.

Nearly 100 troops will be used to set up the camp site, which will consist of "modular tent shelters with lighting and heating and may temporarily accomodate close to 500 people", Department of National Defence spokesperson Evan Koronewski told CTV Montreal in an email.

The CBC reports that approximately 1,174 asylum seekers crossed into Quebec in July 2017 - that's up from the 180 people who crossed seeking asylum in July 2016.

The military would have no role in security matters, Le Bouthillier said in emailed statement.

In the first half of 2017, more than 4,300 asylum seekers walked across the US border into Canada.

The announcement comes as authorities struggle to handle a surge in people crossing from New York State to Quebec at unofficial crossings to take advantage of a legal loophole that allows them to claim asylum in Canada.

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

On Wednesday, the Quebec government announced the opening of another facility, this one at the Royal Victoria Hospital with a capacity of between 300 and 320 places.

According to statistics provided by the federal government, from January 1 to June 30 the RCMP, the federal agency responsible for border security between legal crossings, has intercepted 4,345 asylum seekers.

Refugee claimants, many of whom are of Haitian origin, have been crossing the Canadian border in significant numbers in recent weeks. The majority of them, 3,350, crossed into Quebec, while 646 crossed into Manitoba, and 332 people crossed into British Columbia.

In May, Donald Trump announced that the United States would end the programme that extended temporary protection to Haitian citizens after the devastating 2010 quake.

Montreal Sets Up Temporary Shelters To Handle Influx Of Asylum Seekers