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Central Americans who travel with a caravan of migrants embrace in Tijuana, Mexico, before crossing the border and request asylum in the United States, April 29, 2018. A group of Central Americans who journeyed in a caravan to the U.S. border resolved to turn themselves in and ask for asylum in a direct challenge to the Trump administration - only to have U.S. immigration officials announce that the San Diego crossing was already at capacity.
Hans-Maximo Musielik/AP
Citizenship

Canadian Immigration Organizations Prepare for Migrant Influx From US

A coalition of Toronto organizations is calling on the federal government to ease Canada’s immigration policies, as they soon expect a surge of Central American immigrants to arrive from the United States.

The group of 10 organizations formed in January and created a proposal for the federal government that included recommendations such as relaxing language requirements and implementing a sponsorship program.

"The idea was to open more possibilities for people that are in a very difficult situation," Francisco Rico-Martinez, co-director at FCJ Refugee Centre, told CBC.

Take Action: Tell Congress to Ensure the Reunification of Families and Urge Governments to Support Safe Migration

They sent the proposal to the government in February, but have not yet heard back.

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Trump announced in May 2017 that he would not extend the protection status of Haitians in the US under the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) program, which resulted in an unpresented surge of asylum seekers crossing into Canada through Quebec. In January 2018, the Trump administration announced that it was putting an end to TPS for Salvadorans in the US and in May, the administration put an end to TPS for Hondurans, leaving hundreds of thousands of people at risk of deportation.

Read More: Canada Is Putting $50 Million Toward Temporary Housing for Asylum Seekers

Some, like Eusebio Garcia of the Salvadorean Association of Canada, are concerned that people will start trying to get to Canada illegally if the federal government doesn’t step in.

Garcia thinks many will enter the country assuming they are eligible for immigration status when they are not, according to CBC.

This happened last summer when thousands of Haitians came to Canada, thinking they would be granted status. The federal government had to remind asylum seekers that simply crossing into Canada would not guarantee them status.

Read More: How You Can Still Help Migrant Families Being Separated at the Border

"You will not be at an advantage if you choose to enter Canada irregularly. You must follow the rules, and there are many," the prime minister said.

Still, the RCMP intercepted 20,593 asylum seekers in 2017 — compared to 2,464 in 2016.

Trump signed an executive order last week ending his administration’s policy of separating immigrant children from their parents at the US-Mexico border, which left more than 2,300 children stranded and sparked international outrage.

Read More: #WelcomeToCanada Tweets Blamed By Some For Surge of Asylum Seekers

Just over 500 children have been reunited with their parents, but 2,053 children are still waiting, CNN reported.

While Trump signed the order to stop the separation of children and parents, he has continued to say that a zero-tolerance policy will remain.

Time will tell if a rush of people is to be anticipated in Canada amid Trump’s migrant policies.

Global Citizen campaigns to help migrants and refugees, and you can take action on this issue here.