Should Canada Welcome Refugees?
“When a foreigner resides among you in your land, do not mistreat them. The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the Lord your God.” ~ Lev. 19:33-34 ~
“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.” ~ Matt. 25:35-36 ~
Yet another tide of asylum-seekers flows into Canada – this time at the Quebec border where its estimated about, “1,100 to 2,500 Haitians have arrived in Quebec in the month of July alone.”
Media reports say the Haitians crossing the border are arriving by taxi cab and on foot. Refugee advocates say the asylum seekers have been given false information – and hope – that Canada is allowing any and all immigrants at its borders. They say social media is spreading false rumours that Canada is not only welcoming immigrants, but that they will be granted temporary protected status (TPS), which they received in the U.S. in 2010 after the devastating earthquake in Haiti; but in May, when President Donald Trump’s administration announced that the status of their TPS would end in January, many Haitians are now looking to Canada.
The Olympic Stadium in Montreal is currently housing the Haitian asylum seekers who are being processed by the government.
Context spoke with Rita Maisonneuve, Administrator for the Office for English Pastoral Services (OEPS) in Quebec who says, “When a family is processed, they may need a little help, and we’re always here for them and any others who need our help, but I have called around and no one has heard any word as yet from the government on processing.” Maisonneuve adds the influx of Haitian people into Quebec began back in the cold days of January. Maisonneuve says that “there are many organizations in Montreal willing and ready to assist these people. But again once the government processes the families or individuals, and asks for our assistance.”
Haitian immigrants seeking a home in Quebec is not new. Francophone people from the Caribbean island nation began immigrating to Canada in the 1960s. In fact, a “Canada 2011 Census showed a total population of 137,995 Haitian-Canadians reside in Canada.”
Context will continue to monitor this story as it develops.