MONTREAL, Quebec, CA (sentinel.ht) – The visit of two Haitian ministers to Montreal, which has become a place of desired refuge for nearly 2,580 asylum seekers from Haiti, is causing serious concern among lawyers specializing in immigration law. The welcome given to this delegation contradicts, in their view, the protection of refugees, since they would be in contact with representatives of the country they will have to claim they are trying to flee.
The thousands of Haitians who crossed the border in the last few days will have to claim that they feared “persecution” or “danger” if they were to return to their country of origin. But with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Antonio Rodrigue, and the Minister of Haitians Living Abroad, Stéphanie Auguste, arriving on Tuesday afternoon and being received by Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre, this could hurt their case.
The arrival of a Haitian delegation in the metropolis could, according to these lawyers, change the process of these thousands of asylum seekers, since Canada has an obligation to protect their identity and especially not to put them in contact with the authorities of their country.
“It is contradictory and disturbing to tolerate the presence of members of the government of Haiti. An asylum seeker file is confidential. These people, in order to obtain their status, declare that they are afraid in their country, and there they are placed in a delicate situation. The Syrian government would never have been asked to come to Canada when its refugees were received,” said Marie-Andrée Fogg, a Montreal legal aid lawyer and specialist in immigration law.