MONTREAL, Canada (AFP) — Haiti’s foreign minister is set to meet Quebec’s top immigration official on Wednesday to discuss the flow of refugees from his country arriving in Canada from the United States.
The number of Haitians fearing expulsion from the United States has surged in recent weeks on Canada’s southern border, with requests for asylum tripling since mid-July, officials say.
The wave of Haitians stems from their loss of “temporary protected status” in the United States, which was granted to 60,000 Haitians after the Caribbean nation was devastated by a 2010 earthquake.
The US special status has been extended for six months, but is due to expire at the end of the year.
Haitian Foreign Minister Antonio Rodrigue, on a visit to Montreal along with the minister for Haitians living abroad Stephanie Auguste, said that he came to “learn the needs… of the thousands of our compatriots here in Canada.”
Since late July, more than 2,500 Haitians have fled the United States seeking asylum in Canada, crossing the border into the Francophone province of Quebec. The flow continues at a steady pace, according to Canadian officials.
At a Tuesday press conference, the Haitian ministers expressed their thanks “to the Canadian government, the provincial government of Quebec and the mayor of Montreal.”
The Haitian officials are scheduled to meet with Quebec immigration minister Kathleen Weil on Wednesday.
Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre told the ministers that “the heart of the Haitian diaspora is in Montreal,” and said that he wanted to “work hand-in-hand” with all concerned parties to properly manage the flow of refugees.