Pro-migrant groups say they expect a surge of migrants to illegally enter the western Canadian province of British Columbia as temporary residency permits for asylum seekers in the United States expire.
Pro-migrant groups like the Inland Refugee Society say they are preparing for a wave of migrants to enter British Columbia in coming months as the residency permits for some 195,000 Salvadorans and 60,000 Hondurans expire in the U.S.
The Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) has also sounded the alarm saying they expect the number of illegal migrants across Canada to rise sharply, the Ottawa Citizen reports.
Special projects coordinator for the Inland Refugee Society Julia St. Pierre said that the society has seen a large increase in Central American migrants recently. “We’ve had a number of clients from Honduras and El Salvador,” St. Pierre said.
She said that most of the migrants have crossed the border into Canada illegally on foot after reading online and hearing through the word of mouth that Canada would support them.
“People think it is going to be a lot easier, that they’ll get housing, they’ll get support, that they will be welcomed when they come,” she said adding: “They have no idea that there’s really no support for them.”
Harsha Walia of the pro-migrant group “No One is Illegal” put some of the blame on Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau who tweeted that all migrants were welcome to Canada earlier this year.
To those fleeing persecution, terror & war, Canadians will welcome you, regardless of your faith. Diversity is our strength #WelcomeToCanada
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) January 28, 2017
“Trudeau tweets about it. … That doesn’t change the material realities for people,” she said.
Trudeau has since scaled back his rhetoric insisting that he was not talking about economic migrants.
Since the start of the year, the Canadian border has been stormed by thousands of migrants, primarily in the French-speaking province of Quebec.
The numbers have become so large that the Canadian military has been forced to set up a reception centre on the border and part of the Olympic Stadium in Montreal has been converted into an asylum accommodation.
Some of the migrants entering illegally have also caused further controversy after being found possessing child pornography.