Migrants fleeing to Canada learn even a welcoming country has its limits

Canadian officials are warning that even liberal Canada has its limits amid concerns that illegal migration is stretching the immigration system to a breaking point and risks stoking a potential backlash.

MONTREAL — After fleeing to Montreal from Long Island, New York, Marlise Beauville felt, she said, as if she had reached the Promised Land.

She entered Canada last summer without papers, yet received a work permit, a monthly stipend of 600 Canadian dollars, or $480, free health care and free French lessons. The weather has become bone-cold chilly, but her Canadian neighbors are warm.

Though it is not clear that she will be able to stay, she is hunkering down, adamant that limbo in Canada is better than returning to Haiti, where she fears that the family of her dead husband will kill her. “I won’t — I can’t — go back to Haiti,” said Beauville, a caregiver from Anse-à-Veau, Haiti, who was visiting a Haitian community center in Montreal.

Beauville was one of a surge of thousands of Haitian migrants who crossed the border from the United States to Quebec last summer, spurred by a May announcement by the Trump administration that Haitians could lose their temporary protected status in the United States, granted after the 2010 earthquake that devastated their country.

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The migrants were hoping to benefit from a loophole in a U.S.-Canada treaty that allowed them to make refugee claims in Canada if they did not arrive at legal ports of entry, but crossed the border illegally.

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…

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