Canada eyes potential wave of Salvadoran migrants from US

January 9, 2018 8:18 am
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Immigrants and activists protest near the White House to demand the Department of Homeland Security extend Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for more than 195,000 Salvadorans © AFP / Andrew CABALLERO-REYNOLDS

, MONTREAL, Jan 9 – Canada said Monday it would be prepared for a possible wave of Salvadoran asylum seekers crossing its borders after the United States announced it would drop special protections affecting some 200,000 people.

The US government announced Monday the end of a special protected status for the Salvadorans, who were given 18 months to find a way to make their US status legal, or face deportation.

They were granted the protections after a 2001 earthquake.

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said Ottawa had been planning for contingencies for months and would hold more meetings Tuesday.

Part of a broader crackdown on illegal immigration by US President Donald Trump, the move comes after 59,000 longtime resident Haitians and 5,300 Nicaraguans were stripped of similar protections late last year.

Many of those leaving the United States after losing protections, along with migrants from other countries, are crossing land borders into Canada in remote areas in the woods of Quebec and frozen plains of Manitoba.

That gives them a chance to seek refugee status in Canada. If they land at US or Canadian airports, they are processed more quickly, and likely with worse odds.

Some from Haiti and west African nations have died of exposure in frigid temperatures during these crossings.

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