(This column originally appeared in the Toronto Sun)
By: Candice Malcolm
A deliberate misinformation campaign over social media is being blamed for the recent flood of Haitians illegally crossing into Canada.
Messages sent throughout the Haitian community in the U.S. reportedly told recipients that Canada was automatically accepting all Haitians. This supposed “WhatsApp hoax” even told them that Canada was paying the bill for all costs.
No wonder so many aspiring refugees have arrived on our doorstep in recent days.
But that’s not the only false information being spread when it comes to the migrant crisis on our southern border.
Another theme being perpetuated through the media in Canada is that Donald Trump is to blame for this crisis.
Trump mused about suspending the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Haitians in the United States, thus prompting the sudden mad-dash to Canada.
But what many don’t realize is that Canada had its own temporary program for displaced Haitians – except we wound ours down two years ago.
Far from being obtuse and provocative, Trump is merely following Canada’s lead.
Following the devastating earthquake that struck the Caribbean nation in 2010, wealthy countries like Canada and the U.S. created special humanitarian programs to help.
Alongside hundreds of millions in aid and disaster relief funding, both countries created unique immigration rules for displaced Haitians.
The U.S.’s Temporary Protected Status program has allowed approximately 60,000 Haitians to remain in the U.S., as the title would suggest, temporarily – until Haiti was able rebuild enough for them to return home.
Likewise, Canada introduced a “temporary suspension of removals” program and a special visa for those who qualify on “humanitarian and compassionate grounds.”
Under Canada’s program, any Haitian that met our health and national security standards could apply for permanent residency through this visa.
Canada halted deportations back to Haiti – even for serious and dangerous criminals – and told Haitians they could come “without risk of being removed from Canada.”
Similar to the U.S. program, this was a temporary program.
On Dec. 1, 2014, the Government of Canada released a public notice stating it was winding down this program.
“In acknowledgement of the improved conditions in Haiti,” the notice read, “the Government of Canada (has) lifted the temporary suspension of removals.”
The government eventually gave Haitians an extra year-and-a-half to apply for residency in Canada, but the program was fully rolled back in August 2016 – under the watch of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
After a thorough review of country conditions, the government decided that Haiti was stable and safe enough to suspend the program.
At the time, news reports stated that approximately 3,200 Haitian nationals could be deported from Canada as the result of the program ending.
Immigration experts say that many of them have since been sent back.
And yet, when it comes to Haitians now coming into Canada, the Trudeau government is rolling out the red carpet and allowing misleading information to spread.
Instead of telling all asylum seekers from Haiti that they will very likely be deported, the Trudeau government is setting up impromptu welcome stations along the border and shuttling asylum claimants to Montreal – a self-styled sanctuary city.
But Canada routinely rejects most...(READ MORE)