Randy Boissonnault, a liberal member of Parliament and an advisor to Canadian Minister Justin Trudeau, visited South Florida this week to provide information to immigrants about Canada's immigration system.
During the past year, Canada has seen an influx of immigrants crossing illegally from the US into Canada. In August, over 5,500 were caught by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police attempting to illegally cross into Canada from the US. The majority of those were Haitian immigrants.
In November, the Trump administration announced that it would no longer offer Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for those 59,000 Haitians living in the US after the 2010 earthquake devastated the country. Trump appointees established deadlines for Haitian TPS beneficiaries to leave the country by July 22, 2019, or face deportation and detention.
"People seem to think that if they cross the border there's this land of milk and honey on the other side," Boissonnault said, speaking at the Canadian consulate in Miami on Thursday.
"What we want is for people to have the right information. We want them to do the right thing for their families."
"Other than indigenous peoples…our country has been built on, and will continue to be built on, immigration. But if you cross the border illegally, you will be breaking the law. You will be apprehended. And after that, you will be in detention," Boissonnault stated.
According to Olga Radchenko, director of parliamentary affairs for Canada's Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, "Canadians are broadly supportive of immigration. But Canadians truly believe in order and well-managed immigration," cited by USA Today.
Canada has been noted as welcoming immigrants during the current global refugee crisis. Ottawa is planning on accepting some 310,000 permanent residents this year and has stated its intention to increase that number to 340,000 by 2020.
In April, the Trump White House announced its ‘zero-tolerance' policy, promising to pursue criminal charges against those who cross the US-Mexico border illegally.
"Attorney General Jeff Sessions today notified all US Attorney's Offices along the southwest border of a new ‘zero-tolerance policy' for offenses under 8 USC § 1325(a), which prohibits both attempted illegal entry and illegal entry into the United States by an alien," the US Department of Justice said in a press release last month.
Recent anti-immigration moves by the Trump White House include the separation of children from parents, a policy of human rights abuse consistently decried by activists and policy makers around the world.