Canadian Army sets up tents at Lacolle border to welcome asylum seekers


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The Canadian Army is setting up camp at the Lacolle Canada-U.S. border in Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle, Que. to welcome asylum seekers.

READ MORE: With spike in asylum seekers, Montreal’s Olympic Stadium to be used as shelter

As of Wednesday, dozens of tents are being assembled to accommodate about 500 people and at least 100 soldiers have been called in.

“These [tents] will be used as additional shelters for asylum claimants who are waiting to be processed by the CBSA,” said Judith Gadbois-St-Cyr, a spokesperson with the Canada Border Services Agency.

READ MORE: Haitian government officials come to Montreal to show solidarity with asylum seekers

According to the Forces, most military people will return to their home base once the site is complete.

“The Canadian Armed Forces will have no role in security matters,” said Evan Koronewski, a spokesperson with the Canadian Army.

“Its staff will not participate in law enforcement tasks and will not assist civil authorities in the conduct of their law enforcement duties.”

Last week, the RCMP boosted its presence at the border, setting up a tent and several porta potties; agents now monitor the crossing at all times.

“We stop them, we arrest them, we check them and then we pass them to our colleague at the CBSA,” explained Erique Grasse, a spokesperson with the RCMP.

READ MORE: Montreal opens another temporary shelter for asylum seekers

Since the Trump administration said it was considering ending a program that granted Haitians so-called “temporary protected status” following the massive earthquake in 2010, about 300 people have been are arriving at the border every day.

WATCH BELOW: Asylum seekers are heading to Quebec

That’s up from 50 a day in the first half of July.

READ MORE: Quebec housing asylum seekers in Olympic Stadium, dealing with 150 requests a day

Hundreds of asylum seekers, many from Haiti, are already being housed in several buildings, including Montreal’s Olympic Stadium.

READ MORE: ‘Illegal entry is illegal entry’: Quebec premier responds to U.S. asylum seekers

Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre said the city will continue its efforts to find other temporary housing solutions.

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