Montreal non-profits gearing up to help Haitian asylum seekers
With the influx of asylum seekers in the city, non-profits are preparing to deal with the crisis.
Singing and poetry are a part of Maison d’Haiti’s Friday night show where Haitian Montrealers are unwinding from the work week.
But upstairs in the offices, the work week is far from over.
“In April, we used to receive, I would say five to six families a week. Now, we receive 20 families every day,” the group’s director Marjorie Villefranche told Global News.
Villefranche is working nonstop helping newcomers settle in. Most of them are of Haitian origin.
“It’s our turn now to take care of them, to explain to them how to make the installation in the country, where to put the children to school,” Villefranche explained.
She says many people are calling offering to help. They are currently trying to co-ordinate those efforts.
Federal Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen is on the way to Quebec’s Lacolle border crossing to make sure they have all the resources they need.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is urging would-be migrants to respect Canada’s border with the U.S.
“Obviously, we want migration to Canada to be done in an orderly fashion,” Trudeau said.
“There are border controls that we need to make sure are respected. This is a situation that we are dealing with but certainly, we would encourage people to go through proper processes.”
Villefranche says many of the Haitian newcomers she’s talked to are misinformed.
“The information they have in the United States is that by the moment they cross the border, they will get the visa. We have to explain that to them, that they’re going through a long process.”
“This is a surprise for them,” Villefranche said.
SunYouth is another Montreal organization willing to help.
The emergency services supervisor, Mary Botero, says they could help up to 500 newcomers.
“At this moment, they’re not needing anything at the place they are, as far as we know,” Botero said.
“If they come for our help, we’re gonna be here to help them.”
So they’re asking for your help.
“We’re gonna need food, non-perishable food, hygienic products. If they want to do money donations, we’ll also accept it towards buying what they’re going to need, school supplies too for the children,” Botero explained.
The big questions remain: How long the asylum seekers are here for, and if Canada is just a stop on their way back to their home countries.
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