Canada ‘prepared’ for migrant influx from the States
Minister plays down idea that a surge is even coming
OTTAWA— Canada is ready for another surge of migrants, Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen says, but the U.S. order to lift residency protections for nearly 200,000 people from El Salvador doesn’t mean a new wave will inevitably come. Hussen made the comments Tuesday after he met with a panel of federal and provincial ministers assembled last year to deal with a spike of thousands of asylum seekers who crossed into Canada from the U.S., including thousands of Haitians who walked across the border last May after Washington announced it would lift their temporary residency status.
Hussen played down the prospect of a similar surge of Salvadorans in the coming months, crediting government moves that include an ongoing push to inform U.S. communities that Canada isn’t automatically welcoming, as well as efforts to speed up the process of determining whether people crossing irregularly are eligible to make asylum claims.
“We’re prepared,” Hussen said. “We continue to be prepared domestically to engage and make sure that we respond even better the next time there’s an influx — if there’s an influx.”
The Trump administration announced Monday that it would end a 17-year special government program that allowed tens of thousands of Salvadorans to temporarily live and work in the U.S. Washington said the program will remain in place until September 2019 to allow people to “arrange for their departure” or to find a legal way to stay in the country.
Hussen said this 18-month grace period will give people time to apply for different types of residency status instead of coming to Canada.
“We expect that a lot of them will do that,” he said. “These are people with deep roots in communities in the United States.
“This is a population that we’re already engaging as part of our outreach efforts and we’ll continue to engage.”