Canada has deployed soldiers to erect tents near the USA border to temporarily house hundreds of asylum seekers crossing from NY state, officials said on Wednesday, an influx of mostly Haitians prompted by fear of deportation by the US government. They will also install lighting and heating equipment. "The Canadian Armed Forces will have no role in security matters", Mr. Le Bouthillier said in an email.
Last week, Montreal's Olympic Stadium was set up to handle asylum seekers after the YWCA became too crowded, but the stadium is booked for other uses beginning next month, said officials at a news conference, so the tent city is being constructed. "When the site is completed, the military will return to their home base".
Like the United States, Canada had a deportation ban on Haitians after a 2010 natural disaster.
It will take about two or three days for Canada Border Services to process the 700 asylum applications.
About 100 Canadian soldiers were near the American border Wednesday, setting up a camp to house some 500 of the asylum-seekers who continue to stream into Quebec from New York State.
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In addition, on Wednesday, public health officials announced the site of the Royal Victoria Hospital will be transformed into a shelter with 300 to 320 beds.
Quebec Immigration Minister Kathleen Weil said in a news release on Monday that 2,388 asylum seekers are now being housed temporarily in Montreal.
"As soon as people arrive (in Montreal), not only do we find them a place to stay but we make sure it's safe, that they have the meals they need and that it's hygienic", Dupuis said.
More than 50,000 people affected by Haiti's natural disaster have been allowed to remain in the United States under "temporary protected status" according to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.