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More Than 7,000 Asylum Seekers Have Crossed Into Canada Since June 1

AP Photo/Craig Ruttle

More than 7,000 asylum seekers have crossed into Canada through Quebec since June 1, the RCMP said on Thursday in St-Bernard-de-Lacolle, Que.

The RCMP is calling this an “unprecedented" surge, as more than 3,800 people have illegally crossed the Quebec border from Aug. 1 to Aug. 15 alone.

Both federal and provincial governments are working to accommodate an influx of asylum seekers that have crossed into Quebec in recent months.

Montreal’s Olympic Stadium was transformed into temporary housing for some, and Canada’s military sent up a tent village for others.

Federal Transport Minister Marc Garneau announced on Thursday that the government will open a new shelter for asylum seekers in Cornwall, Ont., which will have 300 rooms available. He also said that tents could be put up outside the building if needed.

Read More: Crowds Welcome New Refugees Outside Montreal’s Olympic Stadium

A former seniors’ residence will also work as another temporary shelter; it will open next week in Laval, Que. It can house up to 200 people.

To help process applications, Garneau said that the Immigration Department will gain about 20 more immigration officers in Montreal. A ministerial task force will also help manage the boom of applicants, which will be led by Garneau, with Kathleen Weil, Quebec’s immigration minister, Ahmed Hussen, minister of immigration, refugees and citizenship, and Ralph Goodale, public safety minister.

“There’s no crisis, but it’s a situation that is extraordinary but is very well managed,” Garneau said. “We actually responded very quickly under the circumstances… One cannot anticipate this kind of event, but one must respond.”

Read More: Canadian Military Sets Up Camp for New Refugees from the US in Quebec

Across Canada, there have been 7,500 RCMP interceptions in the first seven months of 2017 and 6,366 were in Quebec, according to the immigration department.

Louis Dumas, the immigration spokesperson, said that there is no guarantee that asylum seekers’ claims will be accepted. He reminded that half of the Haitians who requested asylum in 2016 were rejected.

"Coming to Canada, asking for asylum in Canada is not a guarantee for permanent residence in Canada," Dumas said.

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