Canada PM says ‘strong system’ can handle migrant influx

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks to business leaders on the free trade agreement between Canada and Europe in Montreal, Quebec, October 13, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / Alice Chiche

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Friday promised that his government would redouble its efforts to handle the influx of migrants illegally entering the country from the United States to seek asylum.

“I want to reassure Canadians that we are ensuring that the capacity to deal with these refugees is in place and our immigration system remains strong and robust,” Trudeau told a press conference.

“We are an open and compassionate country but we have a strong system that we follow.”

Canada’s Quebec province, which borders several US states, has seen a large influx of migrants, mainly Haitians, but the system is working, and security of ordinary Canadians has not been compromised, the prime minister said.

“We remain an open and compassionate country, but part of remaining that way is reassuring Canadians that we are processing properly all of these new arrivals,” he said.

He urged migrants arriving in Canada to go through the “proper processes” rather than entering illegally, saying that eventually, they would “still have to go through” all of the red tape if they want to remain in the country.

In July alone, nearly 1,700 people took advantage of services provided by a Montreal body tasked with welcoming new asylum seekers, as compared with 800 in each previous month since the end of winter.

The United States granted Temporary Protection Status (TPS) to an estimated 60,000 Haitian nationals after the January 2010 earthquake in the impoverished Caribbean country, which killed more than 200,000 people.

With many of those visas set to expire in January, increasing numbers of migrants have been arriving in Canada, fearful the administration of US President Donald Trump could send them packing.

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