Protesters are calling on the Canadian government to declare a moratorium on deportations to Haiti as civil unrest sweeps the country.
About two dozen protesters held a rally in front of Citizenship and Immigration Canada’s Montreal offices today.
“The Canadian government issued a travel warning – saying it’s unsafe for Canadians to go, to travel to Haiti. So if it’s unsafe to travel to Haiti – then it’s unsafe for them to deport people there,” said activist Jennie-Laure Sully.
Organizer Frantz Andre says federal officials shouldn’t be deporting people to Haiti at the same time they’re warning Canadians to avoid all non-essential travel to the Caribbean nation due to political unrest and the risk of violence.
“Don’t forget that Mr. Trudeau invited them to come here by saying ‘welcome to Canada’ – if you’re being persecuted, if the U.S is sending you out,” said Andre. “The first group that is hurt is the Haitian community.”
One asylum seeker, who would not give his name for fear of reprisal, says he came to Canada after criminals ransacked his home and threatened his wife and children.
WATCH: Violent protests erupt in Haiti
He says he’s scared to be sent back to Haiti where he believes his possessions will be gone and he won’t be able to protect his family.
Canada previously had a moratorium on deportations to Haiti that lasted between 2004 and 2014.
A spokesperson for Citizenship and Immigration Canada did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
— With files from Global’s Felicia Parrillo