But Canadian officials are warning that even liberal Canada has its limits amid concerns, fairly or not, that illegal migration is stretching the immigration system to a breaking point and risks stoking a potential backlash.
Canada’s minister of immigration, Ahmed Hussen, himself a former refugee who moved to the country from Somalia when he was 16, said Canada was proud to be a welcoming country but could not welcome everyone. Only about 8 percent of Haitian migrants had received asylum here since the summer, he said, while there is a backlog of about 40,700 cases, according to Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Board.
“We don’t want people to illegally enter our border, and doing so is not a free ticket to Canada,” Mr. Hussen said in an interview. “We are saying, ‘You will be apprehended, screened, detained, fingerprinted, and if you can’t establish a genuine claim, you will be denied refugee protection and removed.’ ”
Canadian immigration officials are once again bracing for a possible influx of migrants heading north. On Monday, the Trump administration announced that it would not be renewing temporary protected status for nearly 200,000 Salvadorans, a humanitarian measure that had allowed them to live and work legally in the United States.
On Thursday at a White House meeting, President Trump demanded to know why he should accept immigrants from Haiti and some countries in Africa, which he described in vulgar and disparaging terms. His remarks possibly further unsettled others in the United States already anxious about their precarious status.
In what appeared to be an effort to dispel false hope among would-be immigrants and help stem an influx, Pablo Rodriguez, a Liberal member of Parliament who was born in Argentina, will be traveling to Los Angeles next week to meet with members of the Hispanic community there to explain the limits of Canadian asylum policy.
On an earlier trip there, he sought to counter false media reports in the Latin American press that he said were suggesting that migrants could travel to Canada, “walk in and stay forever.”
Earlier this summer, the government also sent Emmanuel Dubourg, a Liberal Haitian-Canadian member of Parliament from Montreal, to Miami’s “Little Haiti” to spread the word that getting asylum in Canada was difficult. “People come here and realize that this is not the Promised Land and that they could be deported back to Haiti,” he…